How mitochondria work and what oxidative stress means for your brain
Mitochondria are tiny threadlike organelles in cells that convert carbohydrates and fats into energy your body can use, by combusting oxygen in a process known as oxidative metabolism. This process naturally produces reactive oxygen species (ROS), also known as free radicals. Under normal or healthy circumstances, antioxidants maintain a balance between the rate at which free radicals are produced and the rate at which they are eliminated. Some ROS production is actually necessary as free radicals play a pivotal part in regulating apoptosis, the process through which old or damaged cells initiate self-destruction to make room for new, healthier cells.
However, like an old car that burns oil and releases clouds of black smoke, when metabolism isn’t efficient it produces excessive amounts of free radicals. The total burden placed on the body by free radical activity is called oxidative stress, which is further increased by environmental factors such as exposure to air pollution, pesticides and smoking. High oxidative stress causes inflammation and damages mitochondria, which then produce large amounts of free radicals in a vicious cycle that accelerates aging and ultimately leads to disease. Eliminating ailing mitochondria and supporting the growth of healthy mitochondria is crucial for brain function and repair, as mitochondrial dysfunction is a key contributor to cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease.
The relationship between cognitive impairment and free radicals was well described in a 2007 report by William Markesbery, a neurologist at the University of Kentucky, which demonstrated that cognitive function actually begins to decline well before the Alzheimer’s stage and that the greater the oxidative damage to fat, protein and nuclear DNA, the greater the degree of mental impairment. Like many others, Markesbery clearly identified oxidative stress as a “therapeutic target to slow the progression or onset of the disease,” noting that “better antioxidants and agents used in combination to upregulate defense mechanisms against oxidation will be required to neutralize the oxidative component of the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s.”
Eating a fruit and vegetable-based diet switches on the antioxidant machinery inside cells that repairs mitochondria. Several of the polyphenols in Spectra™, including curcumin, green tea catechins and quercetin are known to help activate cellular housekeeping processes, preventing defective mitochondria from accumulating inside cells. This nutrient-dense blend of plant compounds also protects the brain and body by lowering free radical concentrations – a 2014 clinical study found that Spectra™ resulted in significant long-term inhibition of mitochondrial free radical generation and a reduction in inflammation.
Note: Spectra™ is a blend of Coffee arabica bean extract, Green tea leaf extract, Broccoli sprout concentrate, Onion extract, Apple extract, Quercetin, Tomato concentrate, Broccoli concentrate, Camu Camu concentrate, Acerola extract, Acai concentrate (Euterpe oleracea), Turmeric root concentrate, Garlic concentrate, Basil concentrate, Oregano concentrate, Cinnamon concentrate, Carrot concentrate, Elderberry concentrate, Mangosteen concentrate, Blackcurrant extract, Blueberry extract, Sweet Cherry concentrate, Raspberry concentrate, Spinach concentrate, Chokeberry concentrate, Kale concentrate, Blackberry concentrate, Bilberry extract, and Brussels Sprout concentrate.