What is the Function of Mitochondria Cells in our Body?

Woman running on the beach

Our bodies run on energy. Each moment, even when you’re sitting, reading this, your body generates energy equal to 100W, enough to power seven light bulbs.

But where does this energy come from?

Light bulb emitting energy

If you remember something from your biology classes, you’ll probably think of mitochondria, and you’re totally on the right way.

Nearly all of our energy is provided by mitochondria. They are tiny structures in the cell that turn macronutrients that we take from food, combine them with oxygen and converting them into energy.

Every living being is made of cells and when we look into them, we can see that they work just like our organs function.

Mitochondria can be found in multicellular organisms with specialized tissues, such as all complex organisms.

How exactly do mitochondria look

So, it’s not hard to get to the conclusion that when mitochondria are wrong, everything else is wrong.

We need their right function for everything from answering the phone, going to the shop or even for your brain to work and so to think well.

Energy is everything and if we don’t have enough of it, bad things happen. So, when your body doesn’t get enough energy it gets into energy saving mode and can’t repair some organ dysfunctions.

Woman by the sea gets energy from the sun

To produce all that energy what mitochondria need is oxygen.

What they do is decompose food and if the oxygen lacks, there is no produced energy. Well, we need food for energy and have a satisfying life throughout the years.

What do they do?

Contrary to what we all know, there is a lot more mitochondria do than just produce energy. There are other key tasks which I’ll show to you down below.

Let’s start with what most of us know.

1. Energy 

In each of your cells, you have tons of little mitochondria who make ATP.

We can find Adenosine Triphosphate in all forms of life and ATP is produced in mitochondria through a series of processes such as the Krebs cycle.

Whata re mitochondria- Your body's energy powerhouseMitochondria – the powerhouses of the cell.

2. Dead cells

Here, the mitochondria role is of great importance. As everything, when the cells get old, they start not to function right and die. What those little mitochondria do is to release cytochrome C which activates one of the main enzymes whose function is to cope with the dead cells.

3. Calcium

There are many roles of the calcium so that our body can work well. It’s the most abundant mineral in our body and represents 2% of the total body mass.

Our bodies use most of its calcium to keep our teeth and bones strong and the rest to prevent diseases, for cell signaling, nerve function etc.

Our body should regulate really strictly the calcium and here come the mitochondria again. They absorb calcium ions, store and release them when it’s needed.

Mitochondrial disease

If mitochondria do not function correctly, it can trigger many medical conditions.

DNA dysfunction causes most of the diseases. DNA in mitochondria can be damaged a lot more easily than the rest of the genome, that’s because the Free radicals are produced during ATP synthesis

the difference between healthy and damaged mitochondria


On the image above you can see how the structure has changed in a healthy and a damaged mitochondrion.

As mitochondria need a huge amount of oxygen to work right, most mitochondria diseases are damaging the cells that need most oxygen, such as those in the heart and the nervous system.

Mitochondria dysfunction can lead to:

1. Heart problems 

The heart relies mainly on mitochondria to supply it with enough oxygen so it can pump blood to oxygenate the whole body.

The increasing death rate worldwide originates mostly from cardiovascular problems.

Recent researches have proven that improving mitochondria functions will automatically make your heart healthier and avoid many cardiovascular diseases

2. Hearing loss  

Another problem mitochondrial degeneration can trigger is hearing loss

Sound waves

Two parts compose the whole ear-the external which is the visible part and the inner part.

In the inner part of the ear, there is the cochlea which is the part mitochondrial dysfunction affects mostly. In the cochlea, sound waves make tiny hair cells to move.

Where comes the problem with mitochondrial dysfunction?

If these hair cells don’t move, the sound waves have difficulties in traveling from the external to the inner ear.

To save your hearing, most importantly, you should avoid loud noises. Any noise that is too loud may destroy hair cells and even lead to permanent hearing loss.

3. Macular degeneration

Age-related macular degeneration is in a tight relationship with mitochondrial disease. A research found that retinal cells died a lot faster for people with mitochondrial disease compared to those with healthy mitochondria.

good and bad vision showed through glasses

A change in the mitochondria DNA contributes to a person’s risk of developing age-related macular degeneration. To avoid eye-related problems what you have to do is to simply practice just a few basic eye-health habits.

Some changes in your diet such as eating more leafy green and orange vegetables will save you a lot of headaches, for real.

Avoiding blue light is one of the best things you can do to save your eyesight. So, the most obvious thing is to reduce the time spent in front of the screen.

blue light emitted in the dark

Sounds simple? Not really, especially if you work in front of the computer for long hours each day

Even though it’s everywhere around us (it’s emitted from computer and smartphone screens, actually from all electronic devices, from artificial light and even from sunlight) it can be easily blocked just by installing a proper software for eye protection.


I can recommend you using Iris which is a software that automatically filters the unwanted blue light. For sure, you have other options such as blue light blocking glasses.

Final words

Mitochondria are these tiny parts of the cells with their own DNA which generate energy and make our life possible. Given that they perform a lot of functions, there are tons of mitochondrial diseases.

They may vary widely passing through heart problems, muscle weakness, damaged vision, hearing difficulties and in some cases, even death.

If you’ve liked this article, please share it on the social media, so that more people can learn about mitochondria and some life hacks to boost your energy and be ways more productive.

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