Improve Depression, Cognition, and Sleep by Improving Mitochondrial Function!

Mitochondria health is vital for any developmental program to work, and for any child to get well that struggles with depression, mood disorders, or cognitive delays. Your mitochondria are the powerhouse of the cell and are what produce energy for the cell.  

Mitochondria have something in them called the kreb cycle that takes the carbs, proteins, and fats that your child eats and converts them into ATP. ATP or Adenosine triphosphate is what cells use for energy and development. In many kids you see a dysfunction in how they are producing energy. We find nutritional deficits that don’t allow this system to run efficiently enough to produce energy.

When kids don’t produce energy or ATP well, it can result in developmental delays, cognitive delays, fatigue issues, depression, behavior difficulties and more.

To support this system it requires giving supplements to support their mitochondrial function. This is done by making sure they are getting all the essential amino acids- this can be accomplished by giving them a plant based protein powder ( I am a fan of this one because it has tryptophan in it, which is essential and not included in many other proteins.  It can be found here ).

Additional supplementation of tryptophan is vital to load the system, because tryptophan is the rate limiting amino acid when building mitochondria. For further support of this system you need to include coenzyme Q 10 also known as CoQ10, Magnesium, and B vitamins. For B vitamins make sure they are getting B1, B3, B5, B6. These vitamins and nutrients are all needed for your kreb cycle to run appropriately, and if one is lacking you can not produce energy. I also like to make sure they are getting enough Vitamin C and Vitamin D, these are very important for helping detox the cell from damage that it has occurred. Cleaning out the cell allows it to function more efficiently and produce energy.

Of all of the above mentioned ways to improve mitochondria function tryptophan is the most important aspect to active mTOR and actually produce more mitochondria. When doing further research I came across this study talking about the current research on tryptophan-

In this article they talk about tryptophan loading and the cognitive, behavioral, and mood boosts that can occur from it. An important topic they talk about his how amino acids compete to bind to albumin and how they compete to cross the blood brain barrier. The part that I found interesting are that meals that are higher in protein actually decrease the uptake of tryptophan into the brain, and meals high in carbohydrates improved tryptophan uptake. The reason for this is because the when you consume meat or other high protein containing foods you bring in a large amount of multiple different sources of amino acids, those amino acids then have to compete to cross the blood brain barrier.

The more the competition, the less tryptophan gets to your brain. When consumed with a high carbohydrate meal, like for example oats in oatmeal, there is less competition and more can cross the blood brain barrier. When compared to meat, oats have about half the amount of tryptophan, but much less in other amino acids, this allows for less competition and more uptake to the brain. When you have increased levels of tryptophan it result in increased levels of serotonin, melatonin, and production of neurotransmitters.  Loading of tryptophan improves cognitive performance, mood (depressive symptoms) and aggressive behaviors. Tryptophan loading has been effective for treating mild to moderate depression but not severe depressive symptoms. According to this article tryptophan can also be used to treat seasonal affective disorder and may be as effective as light therapy. It has also been shown to improve sleep latency and deep sleep.

I hope this helps you in your search to improve how your child develops! If anyone else has found ways to improve mitochondrial function please share links to research articles I can read below! Thank you and God Bless!

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