It is not often that you hear an ad for a product that sounds groundbreaking and makes you wonder if it works as advertised. However, this was Robert H. Shmerling’s impression of an ad about mitochondria.
The ad had a supporting website and described their products as follows:
Supplements that “work in harmony with your body’s natural processes to rewrite the rules of cell aging.”
⦁ A breakthrough range of nutritional products.
⦁ Targets age-related changes that happen inside cells.
⦁ Feature cellular nutrients were studied in more than 20 clinical trials.
⦁ Help activate the renewal of mitochondria.
The said ad was describing Celltrient, a supplement made by Nestle Health Science. Interestingly, the same company famous for making candy bars decided to take the health supplements route.
Some truth in there
The claims by Nestle Health Science bring to light two aspects of health that have the subject of years of extensive research at the cellular level: energy production and aging. Mitochondria are the power stations of the cells and convert nutrients into energy. Thus, they are essential to the cell’s health, the health of an organ, and the person to who the said organ belongs.
When mitochondria aren’t working correctly, it can lead to several life-threatening conditions like mitochondrial myopathies and various eye diseases. A large amount of research has suggested that:
1. Mitochondria are vital to cell health in many ways, including by regulating how nutrients enter the cell.
2. Mitochondria play a pivotal role in the aging process.
3. Mitochondria play an essential role in immune function.
4. Mitochondria contain DNA that can be damaged with age, prone to malnutrition, and possesses limited repairability.
These findings fed the notion that treating mitochondria could slow down the aging process.
While it is true that mitochondria play an essential role in cell health and are critical players in the development of chronic disease, the Nestle advert should be taken with a heavy pinch of salt. It even carries a fast disclaimer at the end saying that the product is not FDA approved to treat any diseases.