Mitochondria are the organelles inside cells that produce energy. Representing approximately 10% of total body weight, mitochondria have a number of roles in the body. Primarily, they are cellular “fuel stations” responsible for supplying greater than 95% of the body’s energy needs. Mitochondrial biogenesis is the process by which new mitochondria are produced, and it is believed to delay the effects of aging and the onset of age-associated diseases. This complex process involves more than 1,000 genes and is responsible for producing 20% of total cellular protein. Aerobic exercise and caloric restriction are the two most compelling approaches to stimulate mitochondrial biogenesis, most notably by activating the “master regulator” of mitochondrial biogenesis and function known as PGC- 1α, a transcriptional coactivator. Dysregulation of PGC-1α has been implicated in aging and the pathogenesis of numerous age-associated complications such as poor glucose control, increased fat mass with accompanying decrease in muscle mass, and various neurological conditions
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