As we already discussed with shortening telomeres, aging occurs at a cellular level. We are largely unaware of it until the visible signs become apparent. When it comes to the skin, this is things like hyper-pigmentation or lines and wrinkles. Other signs could be aches and pains in the joints or being more susceptible to illness and diseases. Maybe you don’t feel as sharp mentally as you used to. Whatever the signs are, it’s probably because the cells have been fighting the good fight but losing the aging battle. One of the battles that goes on in the cells is in the mitochondria.
The Mitowhat ?
The mighty mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell. If the nucleus runs the show, the mitochondria provides the energy that makes the cell tick. It creates a substance known as adenosine triphosphate (ATP) during the metabolic process which passes energy to the cell.
However, this process of converting food to energy that your cells use also creates plenty of free radicals.
As we all know by now, free radicals are bad. They harm healthy cells by stealing an electron causing the cell to become unbalanced or unstable – read unhealthy. And an unhealthy cell can lead to more unhealthy cells and larger problems.
What’s more, the free radicals that are created by the mitochondria have an affect on the mitochondria itself.
This means that it can’t create as much energy as it used to. With less energy than the cells needs, it will start to deteriorate (or age) until it gets to the stage where it will voluntarily die (apoptosis). This has a knock on affect for the various organs that make up the body and the body as a whole as cell healthy steadily deteriorates
So the challenge, in terms of anti-aging is to keep the mitochondria in optimal health.
How to Keep Your Mitochondria Mighty
A substance known as pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ) is thought to optimize mitochondrial function.
What does that mean ?
Well, it is thought to aid in the growth of new mitochondria. Much like cells themselves, mitochondria duplicate (known as mitochondrial biogenesis). New, more efficient mitochondria replace old, less efficient ones.
PQQ is also thought to be a powerful anti-oxidant meaning that it could reduce the damage caused to existing mitochondria from free radicals.
On a side note, in terms of skin care, PQQ is also thought to aid in the development of fibroblasts. Fibroblasts can help to create collagen. Loss of collagen is one of the main reasons why people develop lines and wrinkles on the skin.
PQQ can be found in foodstuffs, namely, green tea, parsley and green peppers. The highest amount is found in a product called Natto (fermented soya beans). Tofu also has the substance. So by consuming these products you could be helping out your mitochondria.
You can also get supplements of PQQ if these foods are not to your liking.
Some anti-aging specialists swear by this supplement whilst others acknowledge that it is a powerful anti-oxidant and does aid mitochondria function but isn’t an elixir of youth.