Mitochondria also proliferate during weight training and aerobic exercise. The number of mitochondria is controlled by T3, which is a thyroid hormone. There are two thyroid hormones – three actually – but two we want to look at: T4 and T3. T3 is the one that actually does stuff. T4 doesn’t do anything. It’s interesting that the number of mitochondria is 100 percent controlled by T3. Not only the number, but how well the mitochondria function.
This little element right down in here, called the “UCP mitochondrial uncoupler”, has to do with the making of ATP, which is 100 percent controlled by T3. Not only is T3 the one that induces mitochondrial division, it makes more mitochondria and it also makes them work. If you don’t have enough T3, they will destruct. They will go away.
One of the biggest problems that we have in our medical system is that there are about 300 doctors in the United States that know this. Doctors live and die by blood tests for thyroid. They have no clue as to how many people are deficient in thyroid. You’ll get your thyroid blood test done and it will be normal, and your doctor will say that you’re okay. Probably not. If you’re over 50, the odds of you not needing thyroid are about 3 out of 100. One of the real important things is to find a doctor who knows about thyroid, who knows it’s not about thyroid blood tests; it’s about other things.
You get your mitochondria from your mom. Pop doesn’t participate in that. All the mitochondria are in the ovum. So, if your mom was a world champion speed skater, you’re looking pretty good. You got those mitochondria. If your pop was a world champion speed skater, maybe not. You get your mitochondria entirely from your mother. If you want to have an idea of what kind of mitochondria you got, look at two things. One is what’s the history is on the maternal side in terms of longevity, and in terms of their ability to function as they got older. If they’re 85 years old and still driving and getting around – doing all those things like they were young people – that’s a good sign.
Another thing is to look at when you were young, when you were in high school, before your mitochondria got all screwed up. How were you? Were you the last guy running around the track, or one of the first guys running around the track? If you were one of the last guys in the back about ready to die and throw up, you probably didn’t get great mitochondria. The point is, no matter what you were given, we can make it better. It all gets worse as we age. So, no matter where you started, it’s just getting worse anyway, unless you’re doing something about it.