How to Give Yourself a Metabolic Tune-Up: 8 Tips for a Longer, More Energetic Life

Mark Hyman, M.D. by Mark Hyman, M.D. | April 5th, 2010 | 4 Comments
topic: Detox, Health & Wellness, Healthy Aging, Healthy Eating, Weight Loss

Are you tired and worn out? Do you have sore muscles, fatigue and brain fog?

If so, you might have metabolic burnout!

Imagine if you could find a way to tune up your metabolism, increase your energy levels, think clearly and feel less achy. Imagine if you could prevent diabetes, heart disease, Parkinson’s disease and dementia. Imagine if you could heal fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. Imagine if you could get to the roots of aging, slow the whole process and eliminate most age-related diseases.

These aren’t just fantasies. All these things are possible — if you give yourself a metabolic tune-up.

You might have heard of rats fed high doses of resveratrol, the plant compound found in red wine. But, did you know that those rats lived 30 percent longer than their peers — the equivalent of an additional 120 human years — even though they ate a bad diet? In fact, they became fitter and lost weight even while eating a poor-quality, standard American diet. How could they eat high amounts of bad food and not exercise, yet still become fitter AND live 30 percent longer than the average rat?

One word: MITOCHONDRIA — the source of your energy.

The resveratrol protected and improved the function of the mitochondria through its effects on special master-aging genes.

So, what are mitochondria, and what do they have to do with having more energy, losing weight and living to be 120 years old without any disease? Today you will learn the answer to that question. And, I will provide you with eight tips you can start using today to give yourself a metabolic tune-up and boost your energy metabolism.

The key to more energy lies in providing your mitochondria with the right environment to thrive. When you do, you can boost your energy metabolism. Doing this is the sixth of the seven keys to UltraWellness, and it is absolutely essential if you want to obtain optimal health.

So, let’s look at what mitochondria are and what they do.

What are mitochondria?

Mitochondria are the little factories in our cells that take the foods we eat and the oxygen we breathe and convert them into energy. That energy is called adenosine triphosphate, or ATP, and it is used to support every function in our body. Each cell holds hundreds or thousands of mitochondria; they are found in greater amounts in active organs and tissues such as the muscles, heart and brain. In fact, we have more than 100,000 trillion mitochondria in our bodies, and each one contains 17,000 little assembly lines for making ATP.

Why are these little energy factories so important to your health? The answer is simple: Mitochondria are the place where metabolism happens.

When your mitochondria aren’t working properly, your metabolism runs less efficiently, or can practically shut down. Problems occur because these powerful energy producers are VERY sensitive to damage. And, when they are damaged, you suffer all the symptoms of low energy — fatigue, memory loss, pain, rapid aging and more.

Fatigue is the most common symptom of poorly functioning mitochondria, and it is the reason we tend to poop out as we age. We add constant insult and injury to our mitochondria, and this causes them to break down and stop producing energy.

The main way your mitochondria are damaged is by uncontrolled oxidative stress. That may sound complicated but, in reality, we are all familiar with “oxidative stress,” even if some of us don’t know what the term means.

Oxidation is the rust on our cars, the brown color that appears on an apple when cut and exposed to air, the rancid vegetable oil in our cupboards, even the wrinkles that form on our skin. What most of us don’t realize is that our own tissues are rusting, our own fats are going rancid and our brains are melting as we go about our daily life.

What starts this process is some insult — too many calories, smoking, a sunburn, exposure to toxins, anti-nutrients, sugar and more — that tips the balance, starting a chain reaction of cellular and tissue damage that leads us down the long road to weight gain and chronic illness.

The ultimate outcome of oxidative stress, and the resultant loss of energy, is death! But, the good news is that we can counteract the damage by giving ourselves a metabolic tune-up.

8 tips for giving yourself a metabolic tune-up

The first step to giving yourself a metabolic tune-up is locating and eliminating the causes of damage to the mitochondria:

  • Detoxify by getting rid of environmental and internal toxins.

Once you’ve done that, you need to boost your mitochondrial function and provide the mitochondria with the correct environment to thrive:

  • Try interval training — which increases the efficiency and function of your mitochondria — and strength training, which increases the amount of muscle and the number of mitochondria.
  • Eat whole, real, colorful plant food. That’s eight to 12 servings of fresh vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts, seeds and whole grains every day. These foods are full of antioxidants and phytonutrients.
  • Take mitochondria-protective and energy-boosting nutrients such as acetyl-L-carnitine, alpha-lipoic acid, coenzyme Q10, N-acetyl-cysteine, NADH, D-ribose, resveratrol and magnesium aspartate.
  • Increase your intake of omega-3 fats to help build your mitochondrial membranes.

Taking care of your mitochondria and giving yourself a metabolic tune-up will allow you to increase your energy, lose weight and age well. It is a cornerstone of creating lifelong vibrant health.

To your good health,

Mark Hyman, M.D.

This article originally appeared on The Huffington Post.


  1. I am so glad to see this article about Mitochondria. I have had a Mitochondria Disorder for 10 years. I am in so much pain, have no appetite, but am trying to eat what I can. I know I need to quit eating sugar, it is hard but I know I have to do it so I can start to feel better. I have started to do my Yoga tapes again from a few years ago especially the Rodney Yee AM Yoga which I always loved the best for getting me up and moving in the mornings when I was still working. I can not wait to really read this article more about the nutrition. I have not been able to get a lot of information on this subject regarding my disorder. I am hoping this will be a starting place for me to learn how to eat better and learn what foods I should be eating in order to help me hopefully start to feel better.
    Thank you so much.
    Leslie Haynes

    Leslie Haynes | May 14th, 2010 | Comment Permalink
  2. If I had written an article on this, I wouldn’t change a thing. What an accurate article! Thank you for sharing and I hope everyone picks up this info and follows it.

    Bill B | October 17th, 2010 | Comment Permalink
  3. Very interesting article and right up my alley in terms of my own research for health knowledge. I started looking into the toxins in our everyday life after family melanoma history prompted me to be a little more resourceful and understand more. 3 solid years of research has not only resulted in the creation of a fabulous non-toxic sunscreen, it has provided me with a completely different view on what is required to be healthy. It is so empowering for me to be more knowledgeable about what is good or bad for my general well-being and the doors keep opening. Like this door. Thanks

    sue ingram | December 5th, 2010 | Comment Permalink
  4. This is an excellent article! I think everybody on the planet should know about mitochondria because they are incredible parts of our cells and what they do is so vital. I will definitely be book marking this page and incorporating tips from it into my lifestyle – I am always looking for ways to improve my health and physical well being – without our bodies functioning optimally nor can our minds!

    Fitness Rebounder | February 11th, 2011 | Comment Permalink

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