Monday, May 17, 2021
Mitochondrial Health

How to Grow New Mitochondria – HIIT Even for the Elderly

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Mitochondria are the powerhouses of the cell. They are critical to health and longevity. As we age, DNA processes begin to fail. These failures can come from damage to DNA or from decreased transcription of genes. These genes make proteins (enzymes) that are critical to cellular respiration, or the process of getting energy out of food. Some of these enzyme names are becoming familiar – AMPK, SIRT1 and the SIRTUINS, p53 and ATM.

Dr. Sreekumaran Nair at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, New York, did a unique study and published his results in March 2017. He had two groups involved; 1 group age 18-30, and another group 65-80. Both groups did HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) for 3 months. Cardiovascular and lung function improved 28% in the younger group and 17% in the older group.

Here’s the unusual part. Muscle biopsies were done, showing actual metabolic, cellular changes in mitochondrial function. The older group had a 69% improvement in mitochondrial function. The younger group had a 49% improvement.

One review of this study stated that HIIT doesn’t really make you younger. It went on to say that eating too many doughnuts could overweigh the positive impacts of the HIIT. That seems obvious to me. I think we want to have mitochondria that perform on a healthy level. That is, if we want to be healthy.

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Dr. Brewer started as an Emergency Doctor. After seeing too many preventable heart attacks, he went to Johns Hopkins to learn Preventive Medicine. While there, he went on the run the post-graduate training program (residency) in Preventive Medicine. From there, he made a career of practicing and managing preventive medicine and primary care clinics. His later role in this area was Chief Medical Officer for Premise, which has close to 1,000 primary care/prevention clinics. He was also the Chief Medical Officer for MDLIVE, the second largest telemedicine company. More recently, he founded PrevMed, a heart attack, and stroke prevention clinic.

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46 thoughts on “How to Grow New Mitochondria – HIIT Even for the Elderly
  1. I think that Mitochondrial improvement with exercise has been studied, and confirmed substantial improvement in mitochondrial function, but there is some evidence that supports the function of the proofreader gene (which checks the procreation of mitochondria for errors). All of my friends at the gym agree that diet is about 70 – 90% of good health. We all know that we don't lose weight by burning 500 calories with an hour of aerobics and then reward ourselves with a box of donuts (well, some people do – and we can tell…. the floor moves).

    However, the regeneration of mitochondria only takes place at the gym, and this is where aging is suppressed the most, and mitochondrial quality and function are improved.

    All of which begs the question, "Where do Mitochondria come from?" Other organisms (bacteria) don't seem to need them, and the "evolutionary explanation" appears to be that, at some point in time, they might have been an invasive bacteria, but the cell decided that this was a "friendly" and helpful bacteria, and allowed them to remain inside the cell. So goes the theory.

    But are they replicated in cell division? Or do they have their own process? It's a rhetorical question, of course, and I'll look up the answer, but it's pretty interesting stuff. They really appear to be invasive. Honestly, if I saw them in my kitchen, I'd get out some bug spray.

  2. Dear Dr. Brewer, your videos are very informative and very educational esp. with the data and visuals you provide in each video. I am your newest fan! Thanks for posting these videos.

    And as a visual person, I am hoping you could improve a bit more with the video graphics, so people like me could see clearly the visuals you are showing. I like to pause and 'read' the info you are showing, but sometimes it comes out a bit blurred.

    Thanks and more success to your endeavours!

  3. Dr. Brewer—Your presentations give us such detailed and helpful knowledge and are very motivating! I appreciate all the time that you put into these awesome presentations! ✨⭐️✨⭐️✨⭐️✨⭐️

  4. Dr. Brewer, I've been doing the HIIT on a treadmill/incline or intermittent running ever since you told us this. I love it! It gives me a good focused work-out and seems to be the best use of time. I am also doing weight machines with a break of one day recovery rate. I was wondering if we also need a break in between days of working out to high intensity levels to benefit the heart? Is it okay to do the high intensity 3-4 consecutive days or should the in between days be a slightly lower intensity to possibly recover the heart?!? This just occurred to me this morning during my work out. It seems when I go back to the club on Monday after not working out on the weekend, I feel it's my strongest day. Thank you for your knowledge and your time!

  5. Accidentally I found your videos…I'm so glad! Anyway, what about a person with triple bypass and valve replacement? How and when can he start? Thank you so very much and greatly appreciated!

  6. Good vid doc absolute gospel ! Meditation along with the hiit and liss training regimes will increase your overall health with a nice food plan to top it of 😉

  7. I'm a little frustrated with the cardiologists, PCPs, and even the brilliant biohackers of heart health, all of whom should know more than me, a tax lawyer, about EECP. I realize it's too rarely prescribed, but not for any valid reason, and professionals with your background should look at it and speak up. Please take a look and save a few more lives, Dr. Brewer. I found it because I developed exercise-induced angina and did my research. You can't do HIIT when you've got angina. This treatment greatly improves exercise tolerance, it is well beyond what exercise can do, and can help both those who help themselves and those who haven't, won't or can't. No financial interest here, btw.

  8. How is it that old people have old mitochondria, but children have young mitochondria? The mitochondria are not created new at conception, the way nuclear DNA is created new. The mitochondria are entirely inherited from the mother. Why don't children inherit old mitochondria from their mothers?

  9. Dr. Ford,Perhaps you can clear up some confusion for me. It was my understanding that intervals should be 3 to 8 minutes in length at 85-95% of MHR to benefit your heart because it takes 2 minutes for you heart to "catch up" and after that you get the benefit?   Thank you-J

  10. HIIT gives you the biggest bang for your buck in terms of allotment of time and it will definitely get you better numbers for resting heart rate, blood pressure, weight, brain-derived neurotrophic factors, healthier mitochondria and healthy aging!

  11. I like to do sprints at the gym on a treadmill. I use an Apple application which tells me when to walk and when to sprint. I feel fantastic afterwards.

  12. I've lost the reference, but someone determined that three 20 second sessions at maximum output was enough to obtain a benefit. I've incorporated this into my workout, attempting to maintain 400 watts or more on a stationary bike for 20 seconds. That's a hard workout for me. (I'm 62) It's quick, but then I'm out of breath for several minutes. I'd have to do a lot fewer watts to be able to do 45 seconds on, 30 off for multiple intervals. My intervals are spaced out a lot, with resistance exercise in between.

  13. Thank you for the awesome video Dr. Brewer. I love what you say at the end of the video – we forget about our biology! A lot of my friends and family are obsessed with better nutrition but these people all eat very well already, grass fed, organic.. etc. I really believe the answer to good health is exercise but so few are willing to do it.

  14. Punching bag, 12 rounds, 60 seconds, 20 seconds rest. Takes approx. 20 minutes. Average heart rate around 116-120, max 145-160. Age 52. Twice weekly. You need to build up to it.

  15. I think your pulse rate goals are low for someone experienced with HIIT. I think it’s good to get the heart rate into the anaerobic zone, reaching VO2 Max. With enough training you can exceed the theoretical max pulse rate of “220 – your age”. I am 65, so my max heart rate is supposed to be 155.

    I have been doing HIIT on a recumbent bike for several years. I always get my peak heart rate, at the end of the eight and final interval, to something above 160. Today I hit 165. Occasionally I hit 168 or even 170. You have to work up to this and be in fairly good shape otherwise to attempt this. But my intuition is that this push into the anaerobic zone is the most effective.

  16. I was taking Nicotinamide Riboside, or Niagen, for about 9 months, 5 years ago. It really woke part of my brain in ways my brain was working as a teenager. I will not go into what those activities were, but they had went away. They came back awhile into taking this supplement.They left shortly after stopping taking it.

  17. Great content again Doc, but considering you have over 50 k subscribers – I think it’s time to upgrade your presentation media game. I love the authentic feel of the b&w copies, but maybe call the local college and get a media intern and he or she could get you up to speed! 🔥👍🏻

  18. Coq10 supplement daily 50-100mg?
    Main function of mitochondriais to make optimal energy for all 75 trillion cells body.
    Sites say heart has 5,000 mitochondria in each heart cell!

  19. Dr Brewer, does it matter what exercise you do to determine where the mitochondria are created? Example if you do cycling are they going to be just created in the legs and heart? I think one study just did one legged cycling on one leg with HIIT and the other leg a less intense workout, and if I read it correctly the HIIT leg had more mitochondria. I'm confused on that? I was thinking that cells in the whole body would get the mitochondria.

  20. Well, as much as I have exercised in my life I NEVER could do fast and exhaustive exercise. dance aerobics -richardsimmons style, was the hardest I could manage. I never could run as a child either…!
    at 69, I barely manage a few stretches, some isometrics…maybe a slow go on the stairs now and then. If I do more I fall, if I fall I break, then i am off moving for the 6 to 10 months it takes me to heal a bone, so no HIIT for me !

  21. My dad got overweight and had a heart attack at about age 63, then he started riding my bike while I was at work.. He lost some weight and seemed to be more lively. Then one day he crashed it by accident and never rode again. He gained the weight back, started swelling his feet, and his health descended unto death a year later. To move is to live, to stop moving is to die, you MUST keep moving no matter what if you want to live.

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