What is it about?

Most of the energy we get to spend is furnished by mitochondria, minuscule living structures sitting inside our cells or dispatched back and forth within them to where they are needed. Mitochondria produce energy by burning down what remains of our meal after we have digested it, but at the cost of constantly corroding themselves and us. Here we review how our mitochondria evolved from invading bacteria and have retained a small amount of independence from us; how we inherit them only from our mother; and how they are heavily implicated in learning, memory, cognition, and virtually every mental or neurological affliction. We discuss why counteracting mitochondrial corrosion with antioxidant supplements is often unwise, and why our mitochondria, and therefore we ourselves, benefit instead from exercise, meditation, sleep, sunshine, and particular eating habits. Finally, we describe how malfunctioning mitochondria force rats to become socially subordinate to others, how such disparity can be evened off by a vitamin, and why these findings are relevant to us.

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Why is it important?

Whether as victims or as perpetrators, mitochondria are right in the middle of virtually all human afflictions. So, to help get the best out of us as humans, we may actually want to do what is best for our bacteria-like components: exercise, sleep, spend time in the sun, eat well, and meditate.

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Our (Mother’s) Mitochondria and Our Mind, Perspectives on Psychological Science, September 2017, SAGE Publications,
DOI: 10.1177/1745691617718356.
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