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Mitochondrial diseases result from failures of the mitochondria, specialized compartments present in every cell of the body except red blood cells. Mitochondria are responsible for creating more than 90% of the energy needed by the body to sustain life and support growth. When they fail, less and less energy is generated within the cell. Cell injury and even cell death follow. If this process is repeated throughout the body, whole systems begin to fail, and the life of the person in whom this is happening is severely compromised. The disease primarily affects children, but adult onset is becoming more and more common.
Diseases of the mitochondria appear to cause the most damage to cells of the brain, heart, liver, skeletal muscles, kidney and the endocrine and respiratory systems.
Depending on which cells are affected, symptoms may include loss of motor control, muscle weakness and pain, gastro-intestinal disorders and swallowing difficulties, poor growth, cardiac disease, liver disease, diabetes, respiratory complications, seizures, visual/hearing problems, lactic acidosis, developmental delays and susceptibility to infection. It can look like any number of better known diseases: Autism, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, Lou Gehrig’s disease, muscular dystrophy and, chronic fatigue.
Vitamins and Cofactors
Vitamins and cofactors are compounds that are required in order for the chemical reactions, which make energy, to run efficiently. By definition, a cofactor can be made by the body, whereas a vitamin cannot, and therefore must be eaten. For most people, a regular diet contains all the vitamins one could possibly need and their bodies can make as much of any specific cofactor that it needs. For those with mitochondrial disorders, added vitamins and cofactors may be useful. We work with prescribers specializing in the treatment of Mitochondrial disease by compounding pure vitamin forms into the proper dose and dosage form (liquid suspensions and G Tube additives. Our Certified Nutritionist works with adult patients that rely on pharmaceutical grade vitamins and supplements. Purity is key for Mito patients.
We have heard many people express their desire to meet other Mito families in their communities. Our Mito Patient & Family Socials can help you make those connections. These low-key, relaxed gatherings allow Mito families to meet each other, share stories, give and get support, and realize they're not alone on this difficult journey. We want to help you get support closer to home, and are hopeful that a Mito Social will offer just that. Check our events tab for dates and look for special speakers to attend.
We are happy to answer questions for our current & future patients and prescribers. If your question is urgent, please call us!