I was pleasantly surprised today to have my oldest son surprise me with my favorite coffee; he certainly knows how to butter up the parental. As I was sitting there contemplating my coming burst of energy, I watched my children run circles around me. I’ve heard from countless other parents how they wished to harness a child’s energy. I imagined that children must have massive numbers of mitochondria and I mentioned that we must loose a number of them as we age. My youngest looked at me like I lost my mind…”Mito-what?!?”
Thus an impromptu lesson in our natural powerhouses. Simply put, a mitochondria is a little organelle in all our cells responsible for producing the molecule ATP. ATP is what fuels all our cells and keeps them trucking along. It was fabulous to see the light of knowledge spark in my little ones eyes. My kids mentioned it kind of looked like a bacteria and they wouldn’t be to far off. Some scientists believe that in ancient millenia, mitochondria may have been its own bacteria but somewhere down the line joined up with developing cells to form a symbiotic relationship. The fact that mitochondria contains its own personal DNA encourages this idea.
For those of you new scientists…the following video was provided by the National Science Foundation. Their “Chalk Talk” is easy to follow and gives you the gist of what our Mitochondria do to keep us all going. So my fellow scientists, watch learn, and get your powerhouses moving!