FX Medicine

Home of integrative and complementary medicine

Optimising mitochondrial function

melissalee's picture

Loss of function in mitochondria, the key organelle responsible for cellular energy production, can result in excess fatigue and other symptoms that are common complaints in almost every chronic disease. At the molecular level, a reduction in mitochondrial function occurs as a result of the following changes:

  1. A loss of maintenance of the electrical and chemical transmembrane potential of the inner mitochondrial membrane;
  2. Alterations in the function of the electron transport chain;
  3. A reduction in the transport of critical metabolites into mitochondria. In turn, these changes result in a reduced efficiency of oxidative phosphorylation and a reduction in production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP).  

In its initial stages, mitochondrial dysfunction is reversible, enabling the life and health of cells to be prolonged at the molecular level. The key lies in early interventions to ensure optimal mitochondrial function before irreversible DNA damage occurs. 

Clinical trials have shown the utility of using oral replacement supplements, such as L-carnitine, alpha-lipoic acid, coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), magnesium and other supplements. Combinations of these supplements can reduce significantly the fatigue and other symptoms associated with chronic disease and can naturally restore mitochondrial function, even in long-term patients with intractable fatigue. 

In this infographic explore an integrative nutritional approach to improving energy production and healthy ageing through the optimisation of mitochondrial function.


  1. Gray MW, Burger G, Lang F. The origin and early evolution of mitochondria. Genome Biol 2001;2(6):1018.1-1018.5. [Full text]
  2. Törnroth-Horsefield S, Neutze R. Opening and closing the metabolite gate. Proc Natl Acad Sci 2008;105(50):19565-19566. [Ful text]
  3. Wilson J, Morgan S, Magin PJ, et al. Fatigue - a rational approach to investigation. Aust Fam Physician 2014;43(7):457-461. [Full text]
  4. About mitochondrial disease - Mito FAQ. Mito Action. Viewed 2 June 2015, http://www.mitoaction.org/mito-faq 
  5. Conley KE, Marcinek DJ, Villarin J. Mitochondrial dysfunction and age. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care 2007;10(6):688-692. [Abstract]
  6. Sohal RS, Forster MJ. Coenzyme Q, oxidative stress and aging. Mitochondrion 2007;7 Suppl:S103-111. [Full text]
  7. Kidd PM. Neurodegeneration from mitochondrial insufficiency: nutrients, stem cells, growth factors, and prospects for brain rebuilding using integrative management. Altern Med Rev 2005;10(4):268-293. [Full text]
  8. Bashuk RG, Krendel DA. Myasthenia gravis presenting as weakness after magnesium administration. Muscle Nerve 1990;13(8):708-712. [Abstract]
  9. Trancota SL, Mirica SN, Duicu OM, et al. Acute administration of magnesium orotate at reperfusion improves mitochondrial respiration in isolated rat hearts. Heart 2011;97:e8. [Abstract]
  10. Marcovina SM, Sirtori C, Peracino A, et al. Translating the basic knowledge of mitochondrial functions to metabolic therapy: role of L-carnitine. Transl Res 2013;161(2):73-84. [Full text]
  11. Hagen TM, Liu J, Lykkesfeldt J, et al. Feeding acetyl-L-carnitine and lipoic acid to old rats significantly improves metabolic function while decreasing oxidative stress. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2002;99(4):1870-1875. [Full text]
  12. Liu J. The effects and mechanisms of mitochondrial nutrient alpha-lipoic acid on improving age-associated mitochondrial and cognitive dysfunction: an overview. Neurochem Res 2008;33(1):194-203. [Abstract]
  13. Wang Y, Li X, Guo Y, et al. Alpha-lipoic acid increases energy expenditure by enhancing adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase-peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma coactivator-1alpha signaling in the skeletal muscle of aged mice. Metabolism 2010;59(7):967-976. [Full text]
  14. Braun L, Cohen M. Herbs abd natural supplements: an evidence-based guide, 4th ed. Sydney: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier, 2015.

Creative Commons License

This image by FX Medicine is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

More information about how to share/use the infographics for personal use.

If you interested in using any FX Medicine content for commercial use please contact us.


The information provided on FX Medicine is for educational and informational purposes only. The information provided on this site is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional advice or care. Please seek the advice of a qualified health care professional in the event something you have read here raises questions or concerns regarding your health.

Share Infographic: 
melissalee's picture
Melissa Lee
Melissa is a designer turned nutritionist, who has combined the two modalities to create purposeful designs for various health publications and websites. Having initially studied Multimedia Systems Design, she then went on to complete a BHSc in Nutritional Medicine which led to her involvement in the integrative medicine industry and eventually to FX Medicine.