Lee Know, ND

Mitochondria: The Key to Longevity

Date Aired: April 27, 2018

Episode Description

Mitochondria are essential for health and longevity. They are the place where energy is generated and they control the elimination of damaged cells in a process called apoptosis. When energy is not produced, function of organs and body systems slows until they break down. IF damaged cells are not eliminated, then the remnant damaged cells get in the way of body functions and cause inflammation and oxidative stress which in turn contribute to most chronic diseases. Learn how to protect these vital organisms.


  • Powerhouse to make ATP energy
    • Makes 90 % of energy our cells need
      • Other 10 % energy comes from glycolysis
        • Takes place in cytosol of cell
        • Breaks down sugar and goes into Krebs cycle making some energy which then into the electron transport chain
      • Everything that happens in the cell requires energy (mitochondria)
      • Number of mtochondria per cell varies
        • Is higher in brain and heart which require a lot of energy
          • A couple of thousand mitocndria per cll
        • In red blood cells , there are only a few mitochondira
      • Connected to health, longevity and mental health disorder
      • Animal studies on fertility
        • Subset females not fertile due to energy deficit
          • This cleared when rats fed Co Q 10
        • Linked to all degenerative diseases

IF Mitochondria dysfunction

  • Results depend on that cell and where threshold lies between health and disease
  • We have a cushion so that we are OK if some mitochondria fail
  • If a lot of mitochondria malfunction, the cell goes into goes into an energy deficit and cell dies
    • Cell decides if cell if viable and survives or if cell dies (apoptosis)
  • Mitochondria orchestrates whether cells die and give the signal for cell death
  • With an energy deficit, if enough cells die, the organ stops functioning
  • Poorly functioning mitochondria don’t have the energy to make energy and don’t have the energy to remove non-functioning debris.
  • If the body is low on energy, it triages diverts energy to organs requiring a lot of energy such as the brain and the heart
  • Within cell, cell decides where the limited energy should go for survival


  • Cellular suicide or programmed cell death
  • Mitochondria orchestrates / initiate cellular suicide (apoptosis)
  • Cells with low energy are thus eliminated
  • If debris from cell death not cleared, the debris cause inflammation and oxidative stress
  • If defective cell survives, then it can divide and lead to cancer
    • Hence cancer is a metabolic disease not a genetic disorder
    • Warburg came up with theory that cancer is a metabolic disorder
      • Cancer cells like sugar and has trouble if there is not enough available sugar
    • Parts of mitochondrial function are targeted in therapies cancer
    • Mitochondrial dysfunction can be used as biomarker for cancer and its progression
  • Many of the steps involved in apoptosis, required energy
    • If there is not enough energy for apoptosis, those cells survive and can lead to cancer

How Mitochondria create energy

  • Most of energy produced in the electron transport chain
    • This is like a hydroelectric dam where water is pumped into reservoir and water is allowed to flow through channels which turns tubines to make electricity
    • As electrons are passed down this chain, the energy is used to pump protons/ hydrogen ions into a reservoir that builds up pressure and has to flow back through a specialized channel called ATPase which takes ADP, adds another phosphate ion to make ATP, the energy source
      • Are 10,000 electron transport chains per cell
      • Electron transport chain generates a lot of oxidative stress
      • Generates most of the oxidative stress in the body and damaging free water
        • This occurs at the entry to complex I. the entry point to the electron transport chain
        • Both Complex I and Complex II pass electrons to Co Enzyme Q 10 which pass the electrons to Complex 3 to cytochrome C and then to Complex 4
          • At Complex 4, this is the only place, an electron can react with oxygen to create water
          • If electrons fall out of the electron transport chain prematurely, the electron prematurely reacts with oxygen to create a superoxide free radical
          • A complex can only hold one electron
          • Electrons spill out to create free radicals
        • Mitochondria need Co Q 10


  • Block the body’s ability to make Co Q 10
  • Co Q 10 is produced in the same biochemical pathway that produces cholesterol
  • When we block enzyme to make cholesterol, we block body’s ability to produce Co Q 10
    • This potentially brings about cardiovascular disease
    • This explains links to muscle weakness, possibly leads to diabetes and Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Statins can damage mitochondrial dysfunction
  • Side effects of statins decrease when given co Q 10 or Vitamin D
  • Cholesterol
    • Is precursor to vitamin D and sex hormones
    • Blocks pathway to cholesterol can lead to other medical conditions
    • Cholesterol is needed in cell walls. When statins cross the blood-brain barrier they can do damage possibly explaining the association between statins and cognitive decline
  • Statins is the number one prescribed drug in the world
    • In Dr. Know’s opinion, he believes that statins don’t need to be prescribed
  • He believes that statins don’t address the small LDL particles which are associated with cardiac disease.

Health Conditions linked to Mitochondrial Dysfunction

  • Mechanism is that there is not enough energy for cells and to get rid of dysfunctional cells.
    • What initiates this energy deficit can vary among persons
  • Cardiovascular health: heart failure, type II diabetes
    • We can now cure diabetes
  • Sarcopenia (muscle wasting)
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Cancer
  • Hearing Loss
  • ADHD
  • Some form of depression

Each Mitochondria has its own DNA

  • Two billion years ago, an engulfed bacteria gets digested.
  • Yet in one case an ingested bacteria did not get digested but over time formed a symbiotic relationship with its host and provided energy to the host
  • So mitochondria has its own DNA
    • It codes for 13 proteins that are critical for the electron transport chain
    • Without these proteins, the electron transport chain can not function
  • Antibiotics adversely affects and damages the mitochondria

What can damage the mitochondria

  • Statins
  • Antibiotics
  • Environmental pollutants in air, water, food
    • Pesticides / herbicides are toxic to mitochondria
      • Glyphosates
      • Eat organic, and drink purified filtered water
    • Air pollution (can be les than ten nanometers)
  • EMF (electro magnetic fields)
  • Food additives
    • Artificial food colouring
    • Blue colour in candy and shaving gels stay on skin and get absorbed into the body
  • Imbalance between energy supply and demand
    • Too much energy excessive caloric consumption
    • There are too many electrons in the electron transport chain leading to oxidative stress and free radicals
  • Gulf War Syndrome
    • Chemical exposure in Gulf War led to dysfunctional mitochondria

Reclaiming Mitochondrial Health

  • We can’t get away from these toxins but we can minimize exposure
  • All speakers are saying to eat organic foods for different reasons
  • Avoid processed foods
  • Avoid EMFs
  • Some exercise, but not too much as an excess exercise can cause oxidative stress
  • Caloric restriction
    • Reducing calories 30 – 40 %
    • Only proven method across all species to extend life span
    • Delays the onset of degenerative diseases
  • Intermittent Fasting
  • Ketogenic diet
    • Gives mitochondria an alternative source of foods

Brown Fat

  • Specialized tissue in body that uses calories and electrons to generate heat not energy
  • Is greater in Northern cold regions where body heat is desirable
  • Is a way to dissipate proton gradient in electron transport chain
  • Fewer electrons are spilled out decreasing free radicals and oxidative stress
  • Could explain why folks from Northern regions have less cardiovascular disease and diabetes
  • To increase brown fat, increase exposure to cold

CBD (cannabinoid

  • Endo
    • Regulates balance and homeostasis in body
    • Are endocannabinoid receptors on mitochondria
    • Perhaps mitochondria are regulated by endocannabinoids
    • CBD can increase mitochondrial biogenesis increasing the number of mitochondria