Mitochondria burn out brings fire to the feet

signboard brain to big toeDiabetics, HIV/AIDS patients, as well as those suffering from circulatory disorders, are among the people who can find themselves suffering from unexplained, unpleasant sensations in their hands and feet.

The official name for the nerve whining and whinging is a neuropathy.

Neuropathies often begin in the feet

Neuropathies more often than not, begin in the feet and from there, they inch up, little by little, eventually reaching the knees.

The untoward sensations often then move into the hands.

Vascular disease is the primary risk factor – but being old or being unusually tall, ups the ante considerably.

Tall people have extra long nerves

Researchers at John Hopkins University School of Medicine, have figured out why the nerves at the end of a very long body, are more likely to run into trouble.

The nerves are suffering an energy crisis because the mitochondria are old.

Mitochondria the power factories

Mitochondria are special “power plants”, buried inside the cytoplasm of cells. They carry out the energy conversion process, taking the food we eat and turning it into the biological fuel, called ATP.

Firing up the furnaces is hard work and creates lots of nasty waste products.

Most cells, build new power plants every month or so. In a small cell, distribution is not a problem.

But in a nerve cell, manufacturing new mitochondria is only half the story, they have to be transported the full length of the nerve. Nerve cells servicing the feet, are pretty long cells – in a person of average height, they’re around 90 – 120 cm.

Moving the mitochondria down 120 cm of nerve pipe, takes some sophisticated transport technology, plus it takes time, researchers think it might take as long as two or three years to make the trip.

Mitochondria burned out mitochondriaare stuck in a time warp

Researchers have shown that the mitochondria at the end of the nerves serving the foot, are significantly older than those at the beginning of the nerve, in normal people.

In people who suffer from an HIV associated neuropathy, the mitochondria were found to be 30 times more damaged at the feet end of the nerve.

Old mitochondria taking strain

The older mitochondria are not up to the stresses and strains of the disease process, so they are the first to pack up.

The mitochondria at the ends of the feet are thus the first to dysfunction.

Go green – stop burning fossil fuels

You can’t do much about your age, nor can you modify your long nerves, if you are exceptionally tall. But you can embark on a mitochondrial health programme. Simply GO GREEN !

green mitochondria

Going green focuses on burning less fossil fuels.

GOING GREEN physiologically speaking, is about burning less fuel i.e. eat less. The more fuel burned, the more nasty waste products i.e. oxidative radicals produced. More oxidative stress translates into damage, which brings on chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer.

Mitochondrial dysfunction in distal axons contributes to human immunodeficiency virus sensory neuropathy. Annals of Neurology, 2011; 69 (1): 100. Helmar C. Lehmann, Weiran Chen, Jasenka Borzan, Joseph L. Mankowski, Ahmet Höke
 

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Further reading

red blood cell feeding a neuron

fat man in a hot house

caffeine makes your muscles go-go

Nervous breakdowns in diabetics start with dispirited blood vessels Go blue this winter to be skinny and green   Caffeine can wake up your muscles to make you go-go

 The 7 Big Spoons™…. are master switches that turn health on.

balance eicosanoids rein in insulin dial down stress sleep vitamin D microflora think
Balance Eicosanoids Rein in insulin Dial down stress Sleep ! Increase Vit D Culivate microflora Think champion

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