15 February 2018

The Most Important Body Part You’ve Never Heard Of

Life is energy! 

But where does energy come from? The quality of our cells are responsible for the quality of our health, but where specifically does the source of that energy originate?

The answer lies in an organelle (organ of a cell) called mitochondria. Our mitochondria are like microscopic power stations, pumping out a chemical called ATP (Adenosine triphosphate). ATP is the currency of energy, and there are 1 quadrillion (1,000,000,000,000,000) mitochondria in our bodies. We have on average of 37 trillion cells in our body and every single one of those cells has hundreds to thousands of mitochondria.

The primary food source for those mitochondria?… Oxygen! If we’re spending the day hunched over and breathing shallow then our mitochondria are simply not getting enough oxygen to effectively produce the energy we need or desire.

One of the most elegant ways I’ve read mitochondria being described is by David Perlmutter in Power Up Your Brain: The Neuroscience of Enlightenment. In one section he refers to mitochondria as 

The conductors of the genetic orchestra that regulate how every cell ages, divides and dies. They wave the batten which dictate which genes are switch on and off in every one of our cells.

Mitochondria also provides the fuel for establishing new neural networks. 20% of the oxygen we’re using is used by our brain. If we’re not breathing properly it’s going to affect our athletic performance. It’s the way we breath that dictates whether we’re in an aerobic or anaerobic state. As our brains are these oxygen swallowing machines, we forget that if we’re not giving it the oxygen/fuel it needs, it will also affect things like our memory, productivity and decision-making skills.

Are you breathing full or shallow? Do you look like Clark Kent or Superman when you’re taking breaths? Do you look like Wonder Woman as you’re inhaling the fuel needed for our minds and bodies to work at their optimum?  

Most of us have actually forgotten how to breathe properly. Many people, when you ask them to take a deep breath, will breathe fully into their chest/upper body. But this stops us from getting a full breath. To be able to breathe deeply we need to be breathing fully into our lower body. It should be as if we're inflating a balloon within our stomachs. You can see this perfectly in a new born baby lying down sleeping - as it's taking breaking breaths into its body you won't see its chest rise at all, merely its stomach.

Just by breathing with bad posture into our chest we can be affecting our ability to breathe by up to 30%. Think about that for a moment… can you imagine what giving 30% less fuel to your cells could be doing to them? If anything, it’s like you’re working day to day at altitude without any of the benefits. Let’s twist it round… can you imagine how much better you’d feel if your mitochondria were 30% more optimised?

So, let’s change our posture. Sit tall or stand tall as if you’ve got a book on your head. Chest up, chin down. Breathe into your diaphragm. I want you looking like Superman or Wonder Woman. Breathe and hold yourself like the most powerful version of you. I want you breathing correctly. As Doctor Arthur C Guyrm said 

All chronic pain, suffering and diseases are caused by a lack of oxygen at the cell level. We want to nourish the cells of our bodies with oxygen and optimise the function of our bodies on all levels.

If we want to treat our bodies better, the number one starting point would be by prioritising our mitochondria!

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