Mitochondrial Disease

Mitochondrial disease is a group of disorders caused by dysfunctional mitochondria – mitochondria that don’t work properly. It can affect energy intensive systems within the body including:

  • liver

  • kidneys

  • pancreas

  • brain

  • digestive tract

  • muscles

It can affect multiple systems in the body including the liver, kidneys, pancreas, brain and digestive tract. The eyes, inner ear, muscles and blood may also be affected. 

There are currently over 220 illnesses associated with mitochondrial dysfunction, and the list is growing. Every 30 minutes, a child is born with mitochondrial disease and about 1 in 4,000 people has the disease. 

Each condition is the result of a genetic mutation – a specific change in the genetic material of the mitochondria. The mutations occur in the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) or nuclear genes (nuDNA) and cause the mitochondria to fail. At least 1 in 200 individuals harbor a mitochondrial mutation.

Healthy mitochondria convert oxygen and the sugar, fat and protein from the foods we eat into energy-rich molecules called ATP (adenosine triphosphate). Energy from ATP is needed to carry out vital functions that our bodies need to survive and thrive. The mitochondrion is very susceptible to damage. When mitochondria are not functioning properly, their impacts on the body can be devastating. 

During the production of ATP, your mitochondria produce waste called free radicals. This toxic waste ca