Etiology of Mitochondrial Dysfunction
Among the possible causes of mitochondrial dysfunction that have been advanced, the following appear to be most important:
- Heavy metal toxicity.
- Functional deficiency of ribose (building block of ATP).
- Functional deficiency of carnitine (needed to carry fatty acids into mitochondria to be converted to energy).
- Functional deficiency of CoQ10 (essential to the operation of the electron transport chain inside mitochondria). Note that statin drugs that are used to lower cholesterol levels in the blood also suppress the body's production of CoQ10.
- Genetic deterioration of mitochondrial DNA due to reduction in evolutionary pressure [Starr2005, pg 56]. Note that mitochondrial DNA is distinct from the 23 pair of somatic chromosomes inherited from the mother and the father - since sperm cells have no mitochondria, all the child's mitochondrial DNA is derived from the mother's ovum. Studies of mitochondrial DNA across racial groups suggests that mitochondrial DNA is quite stable, which argues against significant genetic deterioration over the course of a few generations.
Diagnosis of Mitochondrial Dysfunction
Treatment of Mitochondrial Dysfunction
Hypotheses regarding Mitochondrial Dysfunction
- Tartaric acid (3-hydroxymalic acid or 2,3-hydroxy-succinic acid) - An analog of the Krebs cycle intermediate malic acid that inhibits the Krebs cycle enzyme fumarase that converts fumaric acid to malic acid.
- Citramalic (methylmalic) acid - An analog of the Krebs cycle compound malic acid; may interfere with the production of malic acid in the Krebs cycle.
- 3-Oxoglutaric acid - An analog of the Krebs cycle compound 2-oxoglutaric (alpha-ketoglutaric) acid; may interfere with the Krebs cycle.
It follows that dysbiosis may be the underlying cause of mitochondrial dysfunction, and the protocol [Starr2005] describes for treatment of what he calls type-II hypothyroidism is compensating for impaired mitochondrial function by inducing proliferation of mitochondria through the use of supraphysiologic levels of thyroid hormone. While this approach may have the benefit of boosting the immune system to help the body clear the dysbiosis, a naturopathic approach to treating the root cause must not lose sight of the underlying cause - dysbiosis.
ICD-9 Codes related to Mitochondrial Dysfunction
|780.79||Fatigue and malaise|