Ray Griffiths MBANT is a nutritional therapist and lecturer with an MSc in Personalized Nutrition. Ray lectures on a diverse range of subjects such as Parkinson’s disease, cancer, ageing and mitochondria. In his book, Mitochondria in Health and Disease, he explores the roles mitochondria play in human health, and how to optimize mitochondrial function through personalized nutrition. Here, he discusses the role mitochondria played in the process of evolution and what we understand about mitochondria today.
When we think of mitochondria, we usually limit our ideas of this microscopic organelle to their role as a producer of energy in the form of ATP (adenosine triphosphate) – and what a magnificent job they do, but they are also involved in so many more roles beyond ATP synthesis!
To fully understand the vital part mighty mitochondria play in health and disease we have to journey back millions of years to see how these mitochondrial pioneers of evolution were once bacteria in their own right. Through a symbiotic union with another organism, mitochondria were at the heart of a quantum leap in evolution – cells powered by mitochondria were able to drive genetic creativity to produce the astounding array of animal, plant and fungi species we see all around us. Without mitochondria, none of this would be remotely possible! Continue reading