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About our guest:
Christopher Meletis, ND
Dr. Chris Meletis
Mitochondria lie at the center of life. At conception, we inherit our mother's mitochondrial DNA and our electricity for life is turned on. The mitochondrial journey is much like our life's journey. In fact, as we age the mitochondrial volume and output may start to decline and we then experience effects of aging. In this episode, my guest Dr. Chris Meletis , author of the book , MitoLongevity, speaks with us deeply about the role of mitochondria in health. We discuss the mitochondrial role in the immune system, inflammation, hormonal health, and mental health. We discuss evaluation for mitochondrial decline, nutrition and lifestyle factors, and so much more. enjoy
About our guest
Dr. Chris D. Meletis is an educator, international author and lecturer. His personal mission is “Changing World’s Health One Person at a Time.” He believes that when people become educated about their body, that is the moment when change begins. He has authored over a dozen books and in excess of 200 national scientific articles in such journals and magazines as Natural Health, Alternative and Complementary Therapies, Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients, Life Extension, Natural Pharmacy and the Journal of Restorative Medicine.
Dr. Meletis served as Dean of Naturopathic Medicine and Chief Medical Officer for 7 years at NUNM, the oldest naturopathic medical school in North America. He has received numerous awards including, Physician of the Year by the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians; Excellence Award for his work in treating and advocating for the medically underserved; and most recently a NUNM Hall of Fall award at the State Association’s annual banquet. His passion for helping the underprivileged drove him to spearhead the creation of 16 free natural medicine healthcare clinics in the Portland metropolitan area of Oregon
Adam Rinde, ND: Dr. Melitis, thank you for joining me today to speak about mitochondria.
Christopher Melitis, ND: Hey, well, thanks for having me. It’s a topic I just love and love to share about it.
Adam Rinde, ND: Great. Well, how did you get interested in mitochondria? I know you’ve lectured and written on many topics in your long career. What brought you into thinking about mitochondria
Philosophy about Mitochondria (1:30)
Christopher Melitis, ND: Great question. I’m thinking for both of us you know as naturopathic physicians, we’re thought to really just think of the bigger picture and not just a disease, but the processes that cause aging, and poor aging, good aging. And I like to always ponder the magnificent way the human body is made. So, often we forget to look at the things which of course we can’t see with our eyes like the mitochondria, like liver eyes, you know heart. But after all, what do they all have in common? Well, they have what I call the energizer bunny battery that is the mitochondria. Because without the mitochondria, there’s no ATP production. And adenosine triphosphate is the currency which allows us to have every single cell in our body where all of our genetic potential be what it can be.
And if we’re under-filled much like an off-brand battery, or an under-filled battery will not going to work. And I give the example of a cell phone. And if you think you know now what we call them smartphones. But a cellphone of course is just a glorified paperweight if it doesn’t have a charge. You know it’s a $1,000 paperweight. Well, likewise, the trillions of cells in our body, if they don’t have an adequate charge that is ATP energy, they’re not going to be able to serve their DNA production or capacity. So, a cell phone has an app considered that the software, the DNA, and our cells have DNA. So, I make a direct comparison for my patients of an app, DNA-cell phone battery, human- cellular energy in mitochondria.
Overview of Mitochondria, Mitochondrial DNA, Mitochondrial potential (3:04)
Adam Rinde, ND: Great. That is a perfect place to start. So, if we’re kind of like back out and think about the mitochondria from a big picture standpoint, and for some people who maybe have not thought about mitochondria since high school biology. Let’s just give a basic description if you would about the mitochondria, where they live, what they do, how they came to be?
Christopher Melitis, ND: Oh, wonderful. So, the mitochondria live within each of our cells, and our cells of course have the regular DNA which is half mom, half dad. And then there’s the mitochondrial DNA. And the mitochondrial DNA is actually 99++% only from the mother’s lineage, and it actually goes ahead, and goes from mom to grandma. So, when I do an intake for a patient, of course I ask, “How’s your mother’s history? How’s your father’s history?” I really want to know how energetic is your mother’s lineage?
So, the women in the family, your grandmother, your great-grandmother, or they happy, zip-a-Dee-doo-dahs, or whether they’re kind of sluggish, and sloth-like because that will tell you how your mitochondrial potential is. And then of course what you and I, and all of us do male and female will determine of course how well we nourish those mitochondria. So, we have what we call our nuclear DNA, that’s half mom, half dad, then we have our mitochondrial DNA which they actually have done the research and they have tracked what they call “mitochondrial Eve”. I think they’ve tracked about five or seven original women. Of course, it had to be of course the original women somewhere along the way. And so, it’s like they can actually track the DNA all the way back, and of course that’s a wonderful beauty of this is the commonality of humanity, and we have so much in common than we have different.
Adam Rinde, ND: And so they're basically an organelle. Correct?
Christopher Melitis, ND: Yes. An organelle which of course just these, and of course ribosomes, and other aspects of an organelle. But the concept here is there’s what we call oxidation phosphorylation, and many big “alphabet-soup” words which the biochemist, and biologist, and microbiologist have come up with. But I like to keep it in a broader, bigger sense have an innate ability to generate energy which is interesting, diminishes with time. So, when we were 30 years old and I’m 54, I was making about 143 pounds. That’s 65 kilos for a European and Canadian people north of the border, and south of the border, and of course around the world. So, 65 kilos, 143 pounds at the age of 30. But for every decade, after 30, we lose 10% of our mitochondrial function, and that is our inner energy dynamo “blast-furnace”;whatever we want to call it ….which actually allows our body to function and you know thrive and not just survive.
Mitotricity, Inflammaging. immunology , Senescence, Mitochondropathy (6:09)
Adam Rinde, ND: Okay. So, obviously, this is very important in understanding aging and disease. And I want to also frame this step…we’re not today talking about genetic mitochondrial disorders that people are born with. This is a whole different topic. And what we’re talking about is functional mitochondrial issues that come with living overtime. And with that in mind, let’s talk about how mitochondria are involved with inflammation and aging specifically. You speak about in your book this concept of mitotricity which you’ve alluded to earlier in our talk today, and we can go to these different interwoven concepts of inflammation, aging, and mitotricity.
Christopher Melitis, ND: Oh, beautiful. I actually coined the term mitotricity because it is our currency that allows ourselves to function. And to think of a human body, we have a hundred billion neurons in our brain, and of course we have what we call neuroplasticity, the ability to heal our brain because we lose about 86,400 brain cells a day. Then we have a heart which if you are and our audience had an average pulse of 72 beats per minute that means our heart has beat by the end of 24 hours. 103,680 times through 60,000 miles of blood vessels. All of which have to have the mitotricity in order to function.
And I give the example for my patients of, if I take a pen with a click, click, click, click you know open, close, open, close, I can guarantee after 103,680 times my thumb will quit and not show up tomorrow for the job. Our heart, our cardiomyocytes (heart muscles) keep on coming every day, hopefully with no interruption for you know... seven decades, eight decades hopefully longer. But the reality is the mitochondria are critical for immune function. In fact, there are some beautiful articles and actually, I gave a lecture for usbiotek.com where I’m an educational consultant about how the mitochondria is involved in the immune function and inflammation. I used to and as we started the conversation today, the mitochondria energy. Well, of course, our natural killer cells which I called the green, grey, army rangers, navy seals of our immune system. Well, they of course have to have mitochondrial energy as well. But beyond that, the research now shows that the mitochondria are so much more than just energy.
It also controls inflammation and even our viral competence, our ability to deal with the viruses and illnesses and whatnot in a very direct way. And then for those you know the audience which will like to kick out on technology and terminology. There is something called PARPs (enzyme poly ADP ribose polymerase ) and sirtuins. And sirtuins are a chemical system and enzymatically chemical system within our body which are critical for now a healthy aging, and some people that are into intermittent fasting know the word sirtuins because it’s actually the sirtuins which are augmented and improved when we do intermittent fasting which for those that aren’t familiar in the audience. Imagine, going fasting for 18 hours and then only eating six hours a day in one single block.
Some go as far as 20 hours fasting, four hours of eating of course which is an extreme version and then that helps sirtuins and slows down “the aging process” all things being equal and susceptible people that have that ability to take in the sirtuins. Then the PARPs, for example the research now in COVID shows that PARPs 9, 10, 11, and 12 are actually kicked in to help fight off the immune capacity of the virus. So, we have mitochondria for energy. We have mitochondria for inflammation control, and we have also for a viral immune competence. And my expectation over the last 28 years and that’s just going to be the tip of the iceberg as we learn more and more as human beings we realize, “Oh my goodness, we didn’t know I did that as well.” And so, it’s very compelling to look at whenever we’re looking at a body system.
Environmental influences on mitochondria from birth and beyond.(12;02)
And as you said, there’s something called Mitochondriopathy and people are born with these mitochondriopathies or genetic susceptibilities where there’s of course inherent potential weakness, and we want to of course support them as well. And I have a couple of those patients in my practice. And then we have what I would term earn mitochondriopathies, certain medications that can induce mitochondriopathies, or mitochondrial dysfunction, and so we can chat about that today as well. So, it’s all about attending all the way to the heart, so we do things nutritionally and exercise, and sleep, and whatnot, and take care of our heart.
Likewise, we take an herb for our liver. And remember, the common denominator between all of these is once again the mitochondria, and whether it’d be something like MitoQ, or NAD from Tru-Niagen. These are nutrients for example that I use in my clinical practice to support the mitochondria. Because when we were not even a glimmer in mother’s and father’s eye of course, we were an oocyte, an unfertilized egg within mom and within grandma. And so, knowing grandma's history, and knowing mom’s history, and so what they all had exposed to. Imagine, grandma was from rural Kansas or Nebraska, or Iowa, and in the 1930s, she actually would go out when the crop duster is spraying DDT. Because as the story goes as I’ve heard from my patients, it’s a cruel mist on a hot summer day. They weren’t even thinking about DDT which is of course banned in 1972.
But grandma had it and she was pregnant with mom. Mom was getting exposed to this, and likewise we are past through they know there’s some 200+ known cancer-causing chemicals in cord blood for the environmental working group. So, we don’t live in Little House On The Prairie anymore, or one of my other books called The Disciples Diet. How did people eat 2,000 years ago? They’re Mediterranean, but the water was pure unless there’s cattle upstream, but there was no industrial exposure. There weren’t phthalates, parabens, and styrene’s. They want all these man-made, human-made chemicals. And the air was fresher. Food by nature or organic.
We didn’t have better living through chemistry. So, we have no to now fend and tend to our gardens, our traits and cells that make up our bodies more than ever before in human history. So, it’s a scary time, and the time in which we just have to be very aware that it’s going to be proactiveness that actually helps us prevent what I call “reactiveness”. And reactiveness is when we haven’t been able to care for our bodies or something comes along, and we end up in a gurney in a hospital saying “. Am I next?” Whereas proactive is trying to avoid that with all our vim and vigor
Mitochondrial dysfunction symptoms (13:30)
Adam Rinde, ND: So, what would be some of the conditions or symptoms of someone who’s seeing decline mitochondria that you know sort of beyond the obvious?
Christopher Melitis, ND: Yeah. So, of course, we have the aging process. And so, the aging process itself of course which caused diminished mitochondria. So, often people will say, “Well, I’m just getting old. That’s just how it is once you hit 40, 50, 60, 70.” I think we all have examples of people in our lives that, well, if we only have the zip-a-Dee-doo-dah that they have, and they’re decades older than us, then we see people longer than us, and they’re tired. They’re worn out. They just maybe have exercise intolerance. Maybe they have chronic fatigue, and of course there’s many reasons to be chronically fatigued, so it’s not just mitochondria. But the mitochondria if not fully nourished will of course be one of the variables and you and I in our practice of course, know we’re under a variable control.
We try to control as many variables as possible for our patients. Hydration, eating, bowel habits, probiotics. And so the goal , is the mitochondria, since it’s a common denominator amongst all the cells in our body is the thing which we have to always look as a foundational thing as much as we have water, and food, and breathing adequately, making sure we’re oxygenated including at night to avoid sleep apnea. We want to make sure that our mitochondria are dialed in. When I work with a patient with let’s say GI issues. Let’s say they have leaky gut syndrome. Well, we know that the tight junctions of the colonocytes and enterocytes little cells like in our GI tract have to be properly fueled. And a lecture I gave about five or six years ago at the big international conference called A4M.
And the aging conference was called the M&M lecture, and had nothing to do with the candy, or the wrapper. It had to do with the microbiome and mitochondria. And you and I of course work with this with our patients all the time that when we fuel the GI tract properly, then the short-chain fatty acids including butyrate will actually then in turn cross over enterocytes, colonocytes, and actually fuel them at the mitochondrial level. Whereas, if you ever have low butyrate level once again, all things being equal, lots of different genetic susceptibilities and lifestyle susceptibilities. Low butyric acid, or butyrate made hopefully by your GI tract will actually help confer degree of production incidents like colon cancer, colitis, and so forth. So, it’s really looking at any body system, and even very odd genetic conditions like Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, or Retinitis pigmentosa. Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy as it sounds is a muscular dystrophy which will potentially impact a person as like very early on, and then upon steroids, and drugs, and so forth. But if you look at the mechanisms there is nitric oxide, there’s mitochondrial issues; there’s NAD issues. Likewise, with Retinitis pigmentosa, it’s a condition which of course happens as one ages (and) genetic predestination, once again, all things in equal because you always have the ability to intervene, and that leads to blindness. And it’s just like a ticking time bomb like so many genetic conditions. But if you look at the common denominator, once again, often the mitochondria is part of that picture. Not that we are seeing we can cure these things, but if we can slow it down, or minimize the outcome. And the difference being when we fuel our bodies, and you and I’m sure chat the same with our patients. If we fed our bodies fast food our whole life versus pristine organic foods. Once again, “input equals output”… you and I are born 6, 8, 10, 12 pounds however heavy we were. Now we weigh more than that, but what are we made of?...our food. So, I like to always show my patients a cartoon of the picture of a person made of hotdogs, and burgers, and soda pops, and literally making up the cells.
That’s the infrastructure. That’s the rebar or… pristine vegetables, and phytonutrients, and all these wonderful lush nutrients that actually they built their body strong. But since our bodies are always replenishing the cells, it’s never too late to take on a healthy diet, lifestyle, exercise and always rule out sleep apnea as well. So many people think they don’t have sleep apnea, but if you think about any tissue in your body, or if you’ve ever had your blood pressure taken which I think we’ve all experienced. And if they pump the calf too much, it starts hurting. Have you ever put a rubber band around your fingers and it starts hurting? Actually, that’s called hypoxia. And it means you’ll have hypoxia, and that impacts the mitochondria as well, because if you’re under breathing much like your automobile is going to cause lack of performance.
And so, you want to stay around 98% oxygen throughout the day, and night. But people are dropping much lower into the 80s, 70s, 60s, and they don’t even know it because they said, “Well, I don’t snore.” I don’t have the symptom, or that symptom. Once again, it’s a slow, but sure death of ourselves, and it ultimately causes cellular dysfunction, and once again, premature aging.
Drugs and conditions with links to mitochondrial dysfunction (18:50)
Adam Rinde, ND: Yeah. So, when I open up the literature, and I’m searching for the underlying cause of any particular common western disease, it’s undoubtedly going to pull up articles and research related to mitochondrial connections such as type II diabetes, and cancer, and dementia, Alzheimer’s. So, and you go into this in your book that you just recently released, and it’s well-documented. So, you know as a naturopathic physician, you know part of our premises to treat the cause, it seems undoubtedly that when we are going through a process with the patient trying to help them feel better that addressing the mitochondria is eventually a road that only to cross.
Christopher Melitis, ND: Yeah. And I think for sure. And of course, the older you are, or the more medications you’ve taken. One of our colleagues is Dr. Neustadt. He actually has written an article that’s published in 2008 in the peer-review literature PubMed that actually list the whole litany of drugs that actually poison mitochondria. And once again, when I say the whole list, it’s a big list. Things like Metformin. Of course, the statin drugs. Propofol which reportedly Michael Jackson, and Joan Rivers who reportedly had in their system before they passed away. You think about ultimately the mitochondria waxing, and waiting and fading. It’s basically like snuffing out a candle. It’s basically slowly, but surely taking the last little gas, and then you hit that threshold of the straw that broke the camel's back.
You’re just under-filled enough like on our cellphones because I make the comparison. Cell phone (compared to) human cell. If you’re down to 5%, certain apps won’t work, or they won’t work as well, or you’re going to have internet connectivity, you’re lagging. On a human cell, we can’t have that because that’s when disease starts setting in. So, but things like Metformin, Lidocaine which we think of (in) minor surgery, (or when you go to the) dentist where we use to call it Novocaine. There’s of course HIV drugs. Most of the NSAIDs including also beyond the NSAIDs Tylenol, but Naproxen, Ibuprofen have all been showing the impact mitochondrial dysfunction. And if you look at the list of conditions that are associated with mitochondrial dysfunction, there’s over 300 health conditions.
And once we see the fatigue, exercise intolerance, cardiac issues. It can be blood pressure. As I’m sharing with our audience, just like the lining of our GI tract has to be properly filled so we can digest. Our pancreas has enough energy to make the enzymes. Our brush borders, and our villi in our small intestine are healing because we were doing gluten and now we’re not doing gluten, and we’re trying to heal them (the villi) Of course, they need to have the energy to repair, and maintain their wellness. And so, it’s interesting because the endothelial, the lining of our blood vessels, and also something called the glycocalyx which is even beyond that in terms of protecting help producing nitric oxide. And nitric oxide, we all know that in 1998, they got nobel prize because it’s a gas our body makes nitrogen and oxygen which actually is a vasodilator’, it expands our blood vessels. So, think of a larger garden hose versus a newer garden hose providing more oxygenation and nutrients to the body.
And once again, the endothelial, those little single cells that are lining our blood vessels aren’t filled. The nitrogen in nitric oxide does their protection, and what I call remainder non-stick pan because the endothelial weren’t healthy, or much like cooking in a non-stick pan if things aren’t going to stick nearly as much, the same thing with the glycocalyx.
Assessment of Mitochondrial Function (22:42)
Adam Rinde, ND: Interesting. So, we’re thinking about this question, and this is a little bit of a Segway, but I think it’s relevant. How would we measure whether or not our mitochondria is functioning well or not? Are there any tools that you like to turn to just do a measurement, or give us some clues as to how functional overall mitochondria is?
Christopher Melitis, ND: Yeah. Well, probably the simplest tool and the broadest tool I use is a very simple organic acid test at the laboratory. = But I want to know how well our citric acid krebs cycle is working. I want to know that we’re going from pyruvate down to acetyl-CoA, to citrate, to once again cis-aconitate, to isocitrate alpha-ketoglutarate, to succinate onwards to of course fumarate, oxaloacetate. A little cycle that I have in my head. And because ultimately, going down through succinyl-CoA, we’re going to make ATP. But anywhere along the way, if you’re nutrient insufficient, you’re’ going to actually have what I call the beaver dam.
You’re going to have bio accumulation of a substrate, and you’re not going to go down that path let’s say oxygenation. You may have your nutrients. And as the same thing with the pyruvate to acetyl-CoA. It’s the same thing when we get fatty acids going through hydroxymethylglutarate, or alpha-ketoisovalerate or likewise the same thing over here with the alpha-ketoisovalerate. All from my head. I’m not looking at anything. These are all ways that if we have an obstacle. So, I like to always quantify. It’s beautiful. It’s simply a urine test.
Adam Rinde, ND: Yeah. Yes. Very accessible too, and practical, not terribly expensive. I enjoy using that in my practice as well, and there’s just so much information you can gleen from it, so I’m glad that’s your go-to.
Mechanism of mitochondrial production of sex hormones (24:35).
Christopher Melitis, ND: Yeah. It’s my go-to because it’s simple. The other thing which I like to do in a standard laboratory test is I like to measure pregnenolone. Of course, you and I know you go from cholesterol down to pregnenolone to make all steroidal hormones. And from pregnenolone, we make it to DHEA, or you can go down to 17-hydroxyprogesterone that would go down to the cortisol or cortisone. But likewise, through the DHEA pathway like making androstenedione and then down to of course testosterone and estrogen in both one just of course different ratios. Once the different amounts of X and Y chromosomes we may have. And so, what’s interesting is pregnenolone is made in the mitochondria.
So, cholesterol enters the mitochondria within the cell, and actually it goes through the cytochrome pathway, and it actually comes up pregnenolone. And if we’re talking about a testicular cell, or ovarian cell, and adrenal cell, then that pregnenolone is then taken for the DNA which of course requires the energy that mitotricity to actually then allow that DNA to have the energy to do what it needs to do, and then converts that pregnenolone into the steroidal hormones. And what’s interesting, as we get older in adrenal glands and testicular and ovarian cells start waxing and waning..., there’s a direct correlation that there’s actually diminished mitochondrial health. So, you need the hormones to support the mitochondria, and the mitochondria, they actually make the hormones.
So, it was in that catch-22. It’s so absolutely essential, and that’s what we do. You and I, and the listeners were functional medicine. We know that it all works in a beautiful harmony, or dance, and you can’t just treat one thing. You have to treat the foundation, and that’s why I’m very much intro treating the mitochondria, so there’s the energetic capacity that the blood test of pregnenolone if that is low will also kind of give us a little bit of a clue where the mitochondria is at in terms of its function.
Adam Rinde, ND: Wow. That is really interesting. Thank you for explaining that. How about CoQ10?
Christopher Melitis, ND: Yeah. CoQ10 is definitely one of those things that we’ve been using for you know two or three decades now. I think CoQ10 is great. And if you’re using a regular CoQ10, it’s great for the extracellular component outside of the mitochondria, and that’s important because of course we have-to-what we call the respiratory change like a transport chain. But to enter the cell, you actually have to have a unique delivery for the CoQ10, and it’s called MitoQ, or mitoquinone. And what they’ve done, and one company particularly called MitoQ is they actually went ahead and attached a Triphenylphosphonium molecule. And you’re saying a Triphenylphosphonium molecule. Why would you want to attach that to a CoQ10? Well, the concept is, it brings a positive charge, much like refrigerator maintenance. You know the opposite attract where the mitochondrial membrane is negatively charged. Well, the triphenylphosphonium molecule, it actually allows for the mitoquinone known as MitoQ. And to actually cross over hundreds of times more, just over 400, 350, or 400 peer-review journal articles on its benefits, about 20 mg a day would allow the researchers. And I can actually provide you the bibliography if you want to share that with the listeners. And once again, more claim for being made here, but I educate on MitoQ. I also educate for a company called Tru-Niagen which we know that NAD levels are also diminished with aging, and they also cause once again lower and lower energy. So, NAD, MitoQ as you point out CoQ10 all about fair amount of importance and as you and I both know.
Then individualizing this even further with something like an organic acid OAT test . And I educate for US Bio Tec as well, and they even do an environmental pollutant panel with the OAT test. If you combine them for $199 is what our patients pay.
And what’s interesting is the major for styrenes, and parabens, and phthalates, and all of those different toxins which once again, were around hundred years ago, were on a thousand years ago, or thousands of years ago. Once again, we, as a human race have pretty much created a zestful of, can we survive. And my boys are 22 and 26, and as we know, boys are more likely to have autism outcomes or experiences that when they were born there’s a 1 in 500 chance that they would have the experience of autism in their life. Now, it’s what, 1 in 48? And if we are any other species of our generation, we would be on a watch, or endangered list if 1 in 48 bald eagles were non-thriving compared to 1 in 500 . 20 years ago would be like a watch list.
So, there’s a lot of news that isn’t being reported. And we know they kind of realize okay, well, how bad will bad we get, before we say, “What the heck?” And we know there's mitochondriopathy issues in part along with methylation and microbiome with individual suffering for autism, Alzheimer’s, and so forth.
Adam Rinde, ND: Okay. And just to clarify with the CoQ10, and NAD. Those can be well-measured as well in the laboratory?.
Christopher Melitis, ND: Yeah. There’s of course companies like Spectra Cell that can measure CoQ10 function. The intracellular mitochondrial CoQ10, and there’s not really a good measurement of it, you can only measure it indirectly as far as I’m aware. There was a study showing what’s called a crossover. They did six weeks of 20 mg of MitoQ, and then it crossed over, and give it to the previous placebo group. And they actually found the 20 mg increase like blood vessel dilation which once again, watering the garden with a larger hose. So, there are some correct measurements, but I’m not sure how to measure MitoQ other than from a functional clinical, how are patients doing, and of course protective layers.
How to mind you manage your mitochondria so they thrive (31.23)
Adam Rinde, ND: Right. Okay. Well, getting to some bigger picture, things people could do to help their mitochondria thrive you know today you know without even taking a pill, or a supplement. What are some things, or lifestyle choices that you’ve already outlined you know being scrupulous about medication choices, and really understanding the long-term effects of certain medications? What about just lifestyle, and nutrition, diet choices?
Christopher Melitis, ND: Yeah. Certainly. Well, obviously, living as clean of lie as you can. And we started right before the show talking about how I just moved into a newer home, and I can experience the off gassing of some of the finishes in the house. And so, what we want to just make our environment as toxic as possible, so I’m actually in the process of working on that. And as you said, “Chris, you already know what to do.” And I was like, “Yeah. Okay. I’m going to get the VOC filters out. I’m going to deal of-course immune and mitochondrial support. So, every time you smell something including driving along in your automobile like if you’re smelling the exhaust, that’s where you hit the threshold. It’s already in the cabin of your vehicle. So, always have your car and recirculate as you’re driving.
If it’s smoking, polluted, or forest fire outside, don’t breathe that because of course, that’s going to once again poison the mitochondria. Then of course the simple naturopathic things that we all increasingly ;including clean pristine water without fluoride. You know filtering the fluoride out, and making sure your fluoride/iodine levels simply because if your thyroid is slow, you’re actually going to have slower mitochondrial function let’s say on all things being equal. Interestingly, there’s thyroid receptors on the mitochondria. And the T3 hormone actually goes down to the mitochondria, and much like a metronome for like a musical instrument that shows how fast your mitochondria is going to work. And so, once again, making sure your thyroid is dialed in , and also drinking your water, detoxifying.
I’d like to do quarterly cleanses for my patients, and sweating as well, and of course showering after the sweating, and as well as two to three bowel movements a day. And my patients go like, “What? Now, you’re losing me here, doc.” And I’m saying, well, “Have you had children? “Oh, yeah. I’ve had a child.” “Well, what happens? Do they eat?” As my father in law from Oklahoma farm boy would say, “they make a room.” As always, if your bowels aren’t moving, you’re going to absorb toxic water, and you and I probably use the same Bristol Stool Chart in our practice. And the audience isn’t familiar with the Bristol Stool Chart. You’ll see that ones, and twos are much harder stools. Threes and fours are more in the middle of the road. And then fives, sixes, and then sevens get on the runnier side and mushier side. Well, what happens with the drier stool? You reabsorb that moisture just like with the looser side, the sixes and sevens. It comes out and it’s all wet and mushy and a mess. Well, then you lost that moisture, but you’re with that comes muddy water. And so, when the were poisoned, we get rid of toxins other ways with diarrhea.
But if you have harder stool, drier stool, it’s going to of course, you’re going to reabsorb that muddy water, and you’re going too…no pun intended…since it is poop water, you’re going to feel poopy. And so, I tell my patients, “Bowels got to move. Got to be drinking your three liters of water a day, or least 500 mL, half a liter just by breathing every day.” And that’s not even in a hot environment let’s say if you’re in Arizona, or Texas for example. So, very good naturopathic things and avoid the Dirty Dozen foods of which you just Google Dirty Dozen foods for those that are not familiar.
It’s a chart of Dirty Dozen, 15 clean foods. And then of course try to eat as high as you can in terms of cleanliness and quality because when we ever put 99 cent gas in our car, we’re like, well, that’s a pretty good deal. But like, okay, what’s going to be the damage to the engine. Something has been wrong with 99 cent fuel you know. But people will stop at a fast food restaurant to get the $1 meal or 99 cent meal, and not even think twice about the damage occurring to the device. So, just being really mindful. What do you like to use doc to support the mitochondria?
Mitochondria supportive foods (35:33)
Adam Rinde, ND: Well, I was thinking that you know the organ meats have been discussed a lot as a way to support mitochondrial function whether it’s the one that I most commonly just like eating liver. And I’ve heard and maybe you can validate it is that it’s related to some of the CoQ10 levels that you’re getting out of your liver.
Christopher Melitis, ND: Yeah. I definitely think liver of course. A clean liver which of course in today’s dirty world is a challenge obviously free-range organic. Of course, you know a liver is a major cleansing organ. So, people say, “Oh, I’m just going to go to a store and get a USDA-approved liver.” You’re like, “Yeah. No, probably not.” But I mean have you had eaten clean, pristine liver. Also, meat, just regular free-range meat also has a fair amount of CoQ10, and of course lots of phytonutrients because you also know things like resveratrol also protective of the mitochondria. Because the mitochondria experiences 90% of all the intra, within the cell free radical damage. So, it’s like a car with a host from the tailpipe to the engine compartment.
They’re breathing their own pollution or anti-oxidants, fresh fruits, and vegetables absolutely critical. And once again, knowing that we are always our total cells and when I give a lecture in New York about a decade ago to doctors, these are mostly 300 or 400 medical doctors at 7 a.m. Eastern standard time. I’m an Oregonian all my life. And I said.. I’m a little tired of telling you this. But you know I got 90 minutes to me. I have 90 minutes. I was a keynote speaker. And it’s just let me ask you a question, so we were going to talk about genetics. And just let’s talk about—we’re going to talk about genetics and epigenetics. We’re going to talk about research, but we’re going to ask you all a question. I’m tired. You know I don’t have very much hair; so I was making a joke. You know of course, I had to wake an hour early, so I was really upset. Three o’clock my time the East Coast, or seven o’clock East Coast time. And I’m saying, and how many cells in my body have to be tired before I think I’m tired, or perceive I’m tired. And I said, I don’t know and I really want. If any of you can tell me because I’ve looked it up.
How many cells is that? Million cells? Is it billion cells? Knowing that we’re made of that 50 trillion cells give or take, and you know what, no answer. I was just, okay, well, let’s go one step simpler. I held up my index finger. I said ‘ how many cells in my finger have to hurt before I perceive it?’
No answer because nobody knows. Its 2020 here and so that was 2010 when I was doing the talk but nobody knew and this is why I want to ask this question because when we talk about genetics, I’m going to tell you what we know from the medical literature, but realize whatever we know five years from now we’re like, oh my gosh, we didn’t know that. And so, it’s just really a perspective to always stay humble about the human body, and realizing what we call a naturopathic medicine, the VVis Medicatrix Naturae or as the Chinese medicine practitioner called the Chi, or the pre-heaven gene. Once again, that thing which we don’t know.
So, our goal as human beings knowing that we can’t trade in our bodies like we can trade in our car because we can be reckless with our car, not change your oil, and not check the radiator fluid, and or wrap it around the tree hopefully not, but we can’t do that with our bodies. So, we have to attend to our bodies for a lifetime, and ultimately make sure that we avoid as many potholes as possible because otherwise we’re going to start having some suspension issues that they release.
Role of Fat in Mitochondria (39:27)
Adam Rinde, ND: See. So, yeah. And you know kind of we got back into the nutrition question. So, it seems to me you know there’s emphasis on minding your mitochondria would be you know again the information reducing foods. And then also I’ve heard an emphasis on healthy fats to help with mitochondrial membrane. Is that something that you think of?
Christopher Melitis, ND: Oh, yeah. I mean with that question whether to be ourselves. You know it is us and them, because after all with the mitochondria in our nuclear DNA are working as a team. We’re making sure you have the choline…We’re making sure you have the essential fatty acids because of course our cells have the bilayer lipid layer …of course there’s a large amount of fat and cholesterol because we always vilify cholesterol. And of course, making sure to have antioxidants to prevent rancidity ….our cells from going through a lipid peroxidation. So, this is where our fruits and vegetables eating the rainbow and once again cleaner pristine, and I am big on essential fatty acids, the threes and nines, but also, we need a little bit of Omega-6
And also, another one which we often forget to talk about is omega-7; which also very potent anti-inflammatory and one of the big challenges when we have mitochondrial issues and modern lifestyle is something called inflamaging which I’m sure you’ve talked about before with the audience and as just tolerates the aging process tremendously. It’s actually to be more problematic than of course even cholesterol for the vast majority of people because it’s causing that ravaged and damaged throughout the body.
Adam Rinde, ND: Yeah. Well, thanks for bringing that up. You know I think the other really key cornerstone things to think about which probably be a podcast and itself is the fact of exercise helping the mitochondria and the importance of good sleep as you’ve alluded to earlier but learning how much that’s important in preserving brain function and the mitochondria that’s related to brain function. So, that’s a topic we can get into another time together. So, I wanted to honor your time commitment and I really appreciate you being on with us. If there’s one or two take-home messages you could leave us with, that would be great. And then also, if you could share some more information about you, your practice, how to follow your work, some of the things you’re out there doing.
Christopher Melitis, ND: Well, thank you. And first of, I have to thank you for doing this wonderful outreach to the public, to healthcare professionals. We all need to just pass on the word, and become smarter, and better because we are the healthcare change we want to see which is never going to be administered, or legislated. It’s us taking charge of our own health, and privy of course of the water. Myself, I’ve been a naturopathic physician for 28 years, former dean down here in Oregon at the Naturopathic University for seven years. And I just do a lot of writing. I do a lot of lecturing and I just really enjoy what you and I both know because this when the principles of naturopathic and that is “docere”….which in Latin ….means the one who teaches.
And each of the people whether healthcare providers or the general public hearing this message can pass out messages. But I think the take home is eat well, be well, and realize we only got one time around with this particular human body and we have to take care of the mitochondria and that includes regular CoQ10, MitoQ which is a substance I take daily and the way I give advice to my patients as what I do for me or mine. And so, I take Tru-Niagen product which has, it’s called nicotinic riboside, nicotinamide riboside. So, it has the clinical trials are on it. And then I take the MitoQ which has lots of clinical trials.
And I found out when I was 30 years old that I have sleep apnea. I was six foot, 180 pounds and I was going under 65% oxygen, and the other thing is know what your DNA is because your DNA, if you have a methylation defect, or other things, this will also impact your mitochondria and always know what your TSH is which is thyroid, T3, 3T3 and reverse because that also affects your mitochondria. But eating towards wellness and eating for a lifetime because I think the key in my opinion.
Adam Rinde, ND: Excellent. And what’s the best way for people to continue to follow your work?
Christopher Melitis, ND: Probably my website, drmeletis.com and if you be so kind just put a link on. So, that’s kind of the big one. Of course, I’m on social media, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram so.
Adam Rinde, ND: Yeah. We’ll put some links up for the listeners. Well, this was excellent. I learned a ton and I’m sure our listeners did as well, and so thank you for your valuable time and for sharing your expertise
Dr. Meletis on Instagram @docmeletis
Dr. Meletis website https://drmeletis.com/
Article in Townsend Journal on Mitochondria