By Alejandra Cooper: For Complete Post, click here…
Mitochondria play a major role in all of your organ systems. These energy powerhouses — and part of the inspiration for “the force” in “Star Wars” — help your cells produce hemoglobin, which carries oxygen through your body. They free up the building blocks your body needs to make new cells. They provide the energy your body needs to keep going.
Your mitochondrial DNA predates you by thousands of years. It was passed down to you directly from your mother and has been passed down in this way, from mother to child, since the first humans walked the planet. You have the same mitochondrial DNA as people did 200,000 years ago — in all that time, the mitochondria’s DNA sequence has gone unchanged.
It’s gone mostly unchanged, in any event. At least 1 in 5,000 people is born with a mitochondrial disease, which causes changes in how your mitochondria function. Your mitochondria play a vital role in all of your body’s systems, so when a change happens in the mitochondria’s DNA, or in proteins that interact with the mitochondria, it can have major consequences.
Because mitochondria provide 90% of your body’s energy, the organs most affected by mitochondrial disease are usually the most energy-intensive structures: the brain, muscles, heart and lungs.