Researchers have discovered that your mitochondria – those powerful energy factories within your cells – actually drive your body’s ageing.
As you grow older, three things happen to your mitochondria:
- They undergo damage and mutations that affect their function
- These damaged mitochondria accumulate in your cells
- Your cells produce fewer new mitochondria
Bottom line, the greater the number of mitochondria in your body and the healthier their functioning, the greater your odds are of living a healthy, long life. So how can you give your mitochondria the support they need to remain healthy?
Why a Cyclical Ketogenic Diet May Be Your Mitochondria’s Best Friend
Becoming an efficient fat burner through ketosis is one of the most important strategies you can implement for your mitochondria – and your health.
‘Clean burning’ ketones create far fewer reactive oxygen species and secondary free radicals to damage your cellular and mitochondrial DNA, membranes, and proteins.
Ketones also mimic the lifespan-extending properties of calorie restriction or fasting, which includes optimal glucose metabolism.
As beneficial as a ketogenic diet is for your mitochondria, Dr Mercola doesn’t recommend staying on it for an extended period.
Once you’re able to burn fat for fuel, he suggests switching over to a cyclical ketogenic diet, or feast-famine.
At that point, you begin cycling in and out of nutritional ketosis by upping your carb and protein intake once or twice a week.
Surprisingly, by periodically “pulsing” or consuming a higher carb intake – say, 100 or 150 grams of carbs opposed to 20 to 50 grams per day, your ketone levels will dramatically increase and your blood sugar will drop.
After a day or two of this feasting, you then cycle back into nutritional ketosis (the “fasting” stage) for the remainder of the week.
Dr Mercola's recent bestselling book, Fat for Fuel, explores these concepts in great detail and provides indispensable guidance for not only reaching ketosis, but moving beyond into cyclical feasting and fasting to maintain your fat burning ability.
Bottom line, if you want truly healthy mitochondria, a ketogenic diet isn’t optional. It’s a non-negotiable necessity.
Berberine Mimics the Effects of Exercise, Dieting, and Weight Loss
When AMPK is activated in your cells, an interesting cascade of events occurs. AMPK produces benefits similar to exercising, dieting, and weight loss.
While we certainly don’t recommend using berberine as a replacement for exercise or a healthy diet, research clearly shows it holds value for:
- Slowing the release of free fatty acids to help prevent harmful fat deposits
- Promoting insulin, leptin, and adiponectin function for a healthy metabolism
- Supporting healthy blood sugar levels already in the normal range
- Promoting healthy insulin sensitivity
- Promoting healthy gut microflora
- Supporting healthy lipid metabolism
- Stimulating the release of nitric oxide for healthy blood flow
Researchers have found that while berberine activates the enzyme AMPK, it inhibits what’s known as PTP1B activity. That action provides important support for healthy normal blood sugar levels.
In one study, referenced by Dr Mercola, obese adults took 500 mg of berberine three times daily for 12 weeks study subjects saw a 23 percent decrease in triglycerides and 12.2 percent drop in cholesterol levels.
Berberine also plays an important role in promoting brown fat activity and boosting fat burning in your mitochondria. Brown fat is a mitochondria-loaded, heat-generating type of fat that burns energy instead of storing it.
A study with mice showed berberine increased the expenditure of energy, and specifically enhanced brown adipose tissue (BAT) activity in mice who were obese.
If you have a couple or a few extra inches to spare, especially stubborn belly fat, increasing the burning of brown fat may be a desirable side benefit of berberine.