Why Boosting Mitochondrial Function is Important

Being that I am now 50 years old and that I want to keep my energy levels up as much as possible, anything related to how we can boost our mitochondrial function is of interest to me. The mitochondria truly are the powerhouses of the cells. They are little organelles within the cells that produce ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate), the energy that our body needs each day in order for us to do anything. In Head Strong, Dave Asprey mentions: “From age thirty to age seventy, the average person experiences a 50 percent decline in mitochondrial efficiency.” So whatever we can do to strengthen our mitochondria, especially as we get older, is a big plus. I am devoted to red light therapy (as mentioned in 4 Easy Steps to Start the Day), grounding, and cold showers.

12 Actionable Steps to Strengthen your Mitochondria

These steps are highlighted by Dr. Frank Lipman in How to Be Well:

  • Quit eating sugar. Mitochondria don’t like using sugar as food.
  • Adopt a grain-free diet to further limit the amount of sugar in your blood.
  • Eat more vegetables to gain more nourishing phytonutrients.
  • Consume plenty of healthy fats. These are the preferred fuel of mitochondria.
  • Eat clean. Pesticides and toxins damage mitochondria.
  • Practice intermittent fasting.
  • Develop a routine of high-intensity interval training. HIIT has been shown to make more mitochondria.
  • Get strong. There is more mitochondria in lean muscle mass than in fat.
  • Practice better sleep hygiene.
  • Soak up some sun. Sunlight is a powerful mitochondrial booster.
  • Avoid electromagnetic radiation.
  • Start your day with a cold shower. Cold exposure, in short bursts, helps trigger the production of new mitochondria.

In Summary

The above steps are a great starting point in building new habits for improving mitochondrial health. Always check with your personal physician first, of course. Just focusing on one or two of these steps when starting this habit is fine. You can always progressively add a few more as time goes on. Eating primal may help in choosing the right foods for your mitochondria. Then you can later implement the other steps gradually according to what works best with your schedule. To better energy levels no matter what your age!

Until next time!


Asprey, Dave. Head Strong the Bulletproof Plan to Activate Untapped Brain Energy to Work Smarter and Think Faster – in Just Two Weeks. New York Harper Wave, 2017, p. 41.

Lipman, Frank M D. How to Be Well: The 6 Keys to a Happy and Healthy Life. Houghton Mifflin, 2019, pp. 168-69.

You can also find me on Instagram.

Today, I thought I would talk about how I have been changing my eating habits since April 2014. After reading the book I mentioned in my first blog post, Your Personal Paleo Code, by Chris Kresser, I went ahead and started implementing the Thirty-Day-Reset plan suggested in it. I had a headache for the first three days, but it eventually went away. Weaning ourselves from processed foods we have been eating for decades can trigger this type of reaction at first, but almost right away we can also feel an amount of energy that seems miraculous. I had such a sweet tooth up until that point, but I knew I needed to change that. I started putting coconut oil in my coffee instead of sugar, eating 1-2 eggs with ½ an avocado in the morning, enjoying a green smoothie as a snack, and eating simple whole foods the rest of the day.

In 2016, I discovered the Bulletproof template and started making Bulletproof coffee with grass-fed butter (or ghee) and Brain Octane oil. Drinking this coffee gave me even more energy, and now it is all I need to have in the morning, right after a cup of warm water with lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, and Celtic sea salt. I stay in mild ketosis* during the day and refeed with healthy carbs, part of a balanced meal, at the end of the day. Whenever I start to miss bread or tortilla chips too much, I go online and purchase some of the many paleo options the site Thrive Market offers. 

Removing the foods we have been eating for decades can seem overwhelming at first, especially when it comes to comfort foods. But by taking it one day at a time and finding new delights in the many different ways we can prepare simple whole foods, it actually makes eating paleo/primal a very feasible option. And not every day has to be perfect. There is the well-known 80/20 rule which gives a 20% margin of not eating 100% primal/paleo. This rule usually doesn’t affect, in most cases, the efforts we’re making to better our health. 

I do not contemplate, even for a minute, going back to eating foods that make me feel sluggish. Having enough energy each day to accomplish whatever we have to do is, in my opinion, the key to finding joy in life, whatever the challenges we have to face may be.

*Ketosis is a state in which our energy levels are fueled by mitochondria (the powerhouses of the cells) using ketones instead of glucose, as explained in Head Strong, by Dave Asprey.

You can also find me on Instagram