Health and Environmental Illness

Resources about environmental illness and non-drug treatments

Mitochondrial Dysfunction Treatments

The mitochondrion (plural: mitochondria) is the structure in the biological cell that supplies energy to the cell.

Mitochondrial dysfunction can affect every cell of the body, including the cells of the heart. It causes energy deficiency in the muscles (including the heart) and throughout the body.

Nutritional supplements prescribed for mitochondrial dysfunction and for heart disease include: magnesium, CoQ10, l-carnitine, d-ribose, and resvertatrol. Protocols include those of Dr. Stephen Sinatra, MD; Dr. Sarah Myhill, MD, Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum, MD; Dr. Martin Pall, PhD.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Dr. Sarah Myhill, MD

Dr. Sarah Myhill, MD states, "Chronic fatigue syndrome is the symptom caused by mitochondrial failure."

CFS - The Central Cause: Mitochondrial Failure
By Dr. Sarah Myhill, MD

Mitochondrial Function Profile test interpreted by Dr. Myhill

Cardiac Function

Abnormal Impedance Cardiography Predicts Symptom Severity in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
by Arnold Peckerman, PhD, et al, The American Journal of the Medical Sciences, August 2003

(See ME/CFS Cardiac Issues)

Post-Exertional Malaise

Mitochondrial Dysfunction, Post-Exertional Malaise and CFS/ME
by Lucy Dechéne, PhD.

Dr. Martin Pall, PhD.

The source of the mitochondrial dysfunction may be the upregulation of the nitric oxide/peroxynitrite cycle, according to the theory developed by Dr. Martin Pall, PhD. (See Neural Sensitization Protocol)

Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome as a NO/ONOO- Cycle Disease
by Martin L. Pall, PhD

"Mitochondrial/energy metabolism dysfunction is part of the NO/ONOO- cycle mechanism because peroxynitrite attacks a number of components of mitochondria, and nitric oxide and superoxide also inhibit certain mitochondrial functions. 18 different studies provide evidence for mitochondrial and/or energy metabolism dysfunction in CFS/ME. This again provides extensive evidence supporting NO/ONOO- cycle biochemistry in CFS/ME. Among these are studies showing that agents predicted to improve mitochondrial function such as carnitine/acetyl carnitine, coenzyme Q10 and lipids designed to help regenerate the mitochondrial inner membrane are all helpful in the treatment of CFS/ME. These provide evidence that not only is there mitochondrial dysfunction but that it contributes to the CFS/ME pathophysiology."

Dr. Paul Cheney, MD

Dr. Paul Cheney, MD, discussed energy production in a lecture in February, 1999, at the Third International Congress of Bioenergetic Medicine. Measurements of mitochondrial function in CFS patients, he said, showed "significant derangement" that he described as a generalized brown-out. This suggested to him a metabolic cause.

Note: Dr. Cheney currently believes CoQ10 should not be supplemented in CFS.

Dr. David Bell, MD

Dr. David Bell describes reasons to believe that chronic fatigue syndrome, characterized by post-exertional malaise, is a type of mitochondrial disease (see Mitochondrial Cytopathy below) that has not been properly studied.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome as a Mitochondrial Disease?
by Dr. David S. Bell, MD

Recent Research, Treatment, and Testing Experience

Mitochondria Update
CFS Patient Advocate, June 30, 2012

Mitochondrial Damage

Medication-Induced Mitochondrial Damage and Disease
by John Neustadt and Dr. Steve Pieczenik, MD, July 17, 2008

Mitochondrial Cytopathy

Mitochondrial Cytopathy in Adults: What We Know So Far (Click on PDF for full article)
By Dr. Bruce H. Cohen, MD, and Dr. Deborah R. Gold, MD
Cleveland Clinical Journal of Medicine, July 2001

Lab: MNG Laboratories

Cardiovascular Disease

Cardiologist Dr. Stephen Sinatra, MD inspired Dr. Myhill's initial work ("CFS is Low Output Heart Failure Secondary to Mitochondrial Failure") on mitochondrial failure. Dr. Sinatra recommends the same supplements for mitochondrial dysfunction in the heart as he recommends for chronic fatigue syndrome. All forms of cardiovascular disease--coronary artery disease, arrhythmias, congestive heart failure, and cardiomyopathy--respond to these supplements. Anyone with heart disease should not delay in obtaining Dr. Sinatra's book.

Book: The Sinatra Solution: Metabolic Cardiology
by Dr. Stephen T. Sinatra, MD

Review of The Sinatra Solution
by Heidi Boudro,

How Many Americans Are Magnesium Deficient?
by William Faloon, Life Extension Magazine, September 2005

Mitochondria Treatments

The following article discusses nutrients shown by scientific research to improve mitochondrial function (includes 56 references).

Mitochondria and the Evolution of Human Longevity
Life Extension Magazine, February 2006


CoQ10's "Other" Health Benefits
by Sherry Kahn, Life Extension Magazine, February 2006

CoQ10's New Benefits
Life Extension Magazine, August 2006


The following article includes research about multiple sclerosis, chronic fatigue syndrome, neuropathy, and depression:

Why Aging Humans Need More Carnitine
by Julius G. Goepp, MD, Life Extension Magazine, September 2006

SOD2 and Resveratrol

Superoxide dismutase (SOD) is an antioxidant enzyme. SOD2 is the form found in the mitochondria.

Mitchondrial SOD

Manganese superoxide dismutase in disease (abstract)
by Lee Ann Macmillan-Crow and Danielle L. Cruthirds, Free Radical Research, 2001

Molecular mechanisms of oxidative stress resistance induced by resveratrol: Specific and progressive induction of MnSOD (abstract)
by Ellen L. Robb, Melissa M. Page, Brent E. Wiens, Jeffrey A. Stuart, Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
367 (2008) 406–412

Dietary resveratrol administration increases MnSOD expression and activity in mouse brain (abstract)
by Ellen L. Robb, Lieke Winkelmolen, Naomi Visanji, Jonathan Brotchie, Jeffrey A. Stuart, Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
(2008), doi:10.1016/j.bbrc.2008.05.028

Updated 1/27/2017