Mitochondria are the most important organelle in the human body. Life cannot exist without functioning mitochondria. The key function of the mitochondria is to convert the stored chemical energy of hydrocarbons into the biochemically useful energy of ATP. All carbon-based life is based upon the conversion of sunlight energy into hydrocarbon energy by combining carbon dioxide (CO2) and water (H2O) into glucose (C6H12O6), which can then be further converted into even more dense sources of potential energy such as lipids. Living organisms (and car engines) then break down these stored energy molecules and use the energy released to perform essential tasks. This is what the mitochondria do. They convert hydrocarbons back into carbon dioxide and water and capture and convert the release of energy from these bond breakages into high potential energy biological molecules such as ATP. Healthy functioning mitochondria are 100% catabolic.
To access the FREE seminars with full presentations and videos please visit Dr. Goodenowe’s resource site here. This is the article for seminar B106, Blood Tests and Biomarkers (Series B).
The hydrocarbon used by the mitochondria is an acetyl (C2H4) group attached to Coenzyme A (CoA), or acetyl-CoA. Carbohydrates are metabolized to glucose and then from glucose to pyruvate and fats are metabolized to fatty acids prior to entering the mitochondria. Fatty acids and pyruvate are the 2 main fuel supplies for the mitochondria. The overall process is as follows:
- Raw fuel enters the mitochondria (pyruvate or palmitoyl-carnitine or short-chain fatty acid-CoA from peroxisomes).
- Raw fuel is converted to acetyl-CoA, which is active fuel.
- Acetyl-CoA enters the citric acid cycle which creates two CO2 molecules and high energy protonated NADH + H + FADH2.
- These high energy protonated metabolites enter the electron transport chain where a series of four complexes (I-IV) is used to create a proton gradient (like charging a battery). The energy released when molecular oxygen (O2) combines with these protons to create water (H2O) is used to keep the battery charged.
- This biochemical battery is used to power complex V, called the ATP pump. ATP is the body’s main biochemical energy source. The energy in one acetyl-CoA is used to create 36 ATP molecules. ATP is the body’s ubiquitous source of biochemical energy that is used to power thousands of reactions.
Each of the steps described above involve numerous complicated metabolic pathways each requiring their own dietary substrates, vitamins, and co-factors.
There are 3 universal consequences of impaired mitochondrial activity, regardless of the cause. When mitochondria become stressed, they cannot process acetyl-CoA so they export acetyl-CoA into the cytosol and they stop importing pyruvate or palmitic acid. Excess acetyl-CoA pushes fatty acid elongation, excess pyruvate creates lactic acidosis, and excess palmitic acid causes excessive and imbalanced peroxisomal fatty acid oxidation and plasmalogen synthesis and reactive oxygen species (ROS) production.
ProdromeScan measures a series of PE molecules designed to evaluate compensatory fatty acid elongation resulting from mitochondrial acetyl-CoA leakage.
Dr. Goodenowe explains the relevant research and literature regarding mitochondrial stress in seminar B106 – Mitochondrial Stress and Leakage.