Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Mitochondrial Health

June 7, 2013

A 2012 study associated Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) with mitochondrial decline as well as mitochondrial fatigue.

So what exactly are mitochondria? Mitochondria are like the powerhouse or engine of our cells. They exist in virtually every single cell in the body and function to generate ATP, which stands for adenosine triphosphate. ATP are molecules involved in energy storage and energy exchange within a cell. So mitochondria play an extremely important role in cellular energy production. Without them, there will be no ATP being produced and no energy storage or energy exchange within our cells.

Carnitine is an amino acid that is involved in energy production and helps to reduce mitochondrial fatigue. It helps to transport fatty acids into the mitochondria of our cells so that it can be broken down and utilised as an energy source. Not only can carnitine assist in energy production for those who feel chronically fatigued, but it also helps to maximise exercise workout sessions and can contribute to fat loss.

When a person feels lethargic and lacking in energy as seen in CFS, this is generally coupled with mental fatigue, which manifests as poor memory, lack of concentration and a foggy head. Due to carnitine’s ability to cross the blood brain barrier it can also help alleviate the ‘head wrapped in cotton wool’ effect that some people experience when they feel tired. It can also boost memory, concentration and improve focus.

Carnitine is naturally found in foods such as avocado, beef, chicken, fish, milk and liver.

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is also known as ubidecarenone or ubiquinone. Our body naturally produces this nutrient. Due to factors such as age, stress and certain medications, CoQ10 levels can decline contributing to fatigue.

An observational study conducted in 2005 showed that those who took CoQ10 for their fatigue, noticed a 69% improvement over those who did not. This is exciting news for those experiencing low energy and chronic fatigue. CoQ10 has also been shown to assist in physical recovery post training and supports cardiovascular function.

CoQ10 is rich in foods such as almonds, broccoli, chestnuts, hazelnuts, mackerel, rice bran, salmon, sardines, sesame seeds and soy beans.

Whenever a person is feeling tired, the last thing on their mind is exercise. However, research has shown that exercise helps to stimulate a gene called PGC-1 alpha. This gene not only stimulates mitochondrial growth, but it also helps make the mitochondria more efficient at producing energy. Not only can exercise help boost energy levels but it also stimulates the release of feel good hormones so that you feel great too. This is wonderful incentive to start exercising!

Other nutrients that support mitochondrial growth and function include:

Lipoic acid
Green tea
B vitamins
As mentioned in previous posts, please seek the guidance of a qualified practitioner before the commencement of a new supplement. At Saltuary we have qualified herbalists and naturopaths in store who can assist you with product queries or for any additional information.

Have a safe and joyous long weekend everyone.


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