Energy is crucial for optimal brain function. The brain weight is 2% of your total body weight but consumes more than 20% of your energy production. As you can see, the brain is hungry for energy, and any energy deficit will affect the mind right away. Mitochondria are tiny organelles inside the cells that produce the energy required for an appropriate function. Dysfunction of these organelles and low energy production have been identified in up to 80% of children with autism and many neurologic diseases like Alzheimer's, Multiple Sclerosis, and Parkinson's disease (1, 2).
The Brain is Hungry for Energy
My son was affected by mitochondria dysfunction, and better nutrition made the difference for an improved brain function. There are no medications approved by the FDA to improve mitochondria function or energy production.
Still, there are plenty of options available with nutrition and high-quality dietary supplements to enhance energy and mitochondria function. A Nutritional Strategy is required to optimize energy production and brain function.
*An anti-inflammatory diet low in refined carbohydrates like flour products, white rice, or pasta. Low levels of inflammation will be beneficial for mitochondria.
*High consumption of fruits and vegetables (organic preferred due to pesticides), nuts, high fiber, extra-virgin olive oil, probiotic foods, and grass-fed meat.
*Fats: The brain is close to 60% fat, and mitochondria require optimal dosing of high-quality fats like omega-3 fatty acids and Extra-virgin Olive Oil.
*CoQ10: Most important nutrient for mitochondrial dysfunction. Higher dosing may be required.
*Carnitine: Antioxidant and helps to transport fatty acids inside mitochondria.
*Lipoic Acid: Helps to increase energy production
*B-Complex Vitamins: Required for energy production.
*Folinic Acid: Improves mitochondria and brain folate levels.
*N-acetylcysteine: Increases glutathione, which protects mitochondria and lowers inflammation.
In summary, energy production is affected in many neurologic diseases, but nutrition and the use of high-quality dietary supplements at an optimal dose can bring hope for these communities.
There is Hope For Autism!
David Rivas, RPH, MSc, CCN
Pharmacist and Nutritionist
(1): Frye, R. E. (2020, June). Mitochondrial dysfunction in autism spectrum disorder: Unique abnormalities and targeted treatments. In Seminars in Pediatric Neurology (p. 100829). WB Saunders.
(2): Agnihotri, A., & Aruoma, O. I. (2020). Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease: a nutritional toxicology perspective of the impact of oxidative stress, mitochondrial dysfunction, nutrigenomics and environmental chemicals. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 39(1), 16-27.