Frequently Asked Questions

General Information about Mitochondrial Function

What are mitochondria?

Mitochondria are often described as the “power generators” of the cell. They play the vital role of taking in nutrients, breaking them down, and creating energy.

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Why is proper mitochondrial function important?

If mitochondria are not working well, the brain, heart, liver, kidneys, and many other organs in the body may not be able to get the energy they need to function at their best. The brain is especially sensitive in this regard. Proper mitochondrial function enables optimal growth and development of the brain and entire nervous system. When mitochondria do not function well, there are many potential consequences, including

  • Developmental delay
  • Low muscle tone (hypotonia)
  • Weakness
  • Impaired intellectual function, social cognition, and communication
  • Problems with vision, hearing, and other sensory systems

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How can mitochondrial function be maximized?

Mitochondria depend on a range of naturally-occurring vitamins and compounds in order to function well. Boosting intake of these compounds may optimize mitochondrial function. Research findings also suggest that regular exercise and other healthy lifestyle choices can support mitochondrial function. Conversely, certain drugs and toxins can impair the function of mitochondria.

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Where can I get more information about mitochondrial function?

These organizations provide high quality educational materials and other resources for individuals and families:

These articles provide useful information for families:

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Information about MitoSpectra

What are the active ingredients in MitoSpectra?

MitoSpectra has five active ingredients: L-carnitine, Coenzyme Q10, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and Vitamin B5 (pantothenate). These make up the core components of a comprehensive mitochondrial supplement. They serve as a “backbone” to which other vitamins and supplements may be added if needed.

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How do the ingredients in MitoSpectra work?

The ingredients in MitoSpectra act in several different ways to improve the function of mitochondria.

  • L-carnitine and Vitamin B5 work to augment activity of Complex I in the mitochondrial respiratory chain.
  • Coenzyme Q10, Vitamin E, and Vitamin C have powerful antioxidant effects, including helping to maintain the structure of mitochondrial membranes and reducing free radicals.

Mitochondrial biology is extremely complex. Further information about the effects of these compounds on mitochondrial function can be found in the following articles:

  • Evaluation and Treatment of Autism and Mitochondrial Disease by Dr. Richard Kelley
  • Kashani-Poor N, Zwicker K, Kerscher S, Brandt U. A central functional role for the 49-kDa subunitwithin the catalytic core of mitochondrial complex I. J Biol Chem. 2001;276:24082-7.
  • Raha S, Myint AT, Johnstone L, Robinson BH. Control of oxygen free radical formation from mitochondrial complex I: roles for protein kinase A and pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase. Free Radic Biol Med. 2002;32:421-30.
  • Palekar A. Effect of pantothenic acid on hippurate formation in sodium benzoate-treated HepG2 cells. Pediatr Res. 2000;48:357-9.
  • Buettner GR. The pecking order of free radicals and antioxidants: lipid peroxidation, alpha-tocopherol, and ascorbate. Arch Biochem Biophys. 1993;300:535-43.
  • Nohl H, Gille L, Kozlov AV. Critical aspects of the antioxidant function of coenzyme Q in biomembranes. Biofactors. 1999;9:155-61.

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How do I know if MitoSpectra may help me (or my child)?

It is very difficult to predict whether mitochondrial supplements will benefit a particular individual. Physicians who have expertise in the area of mitochondrial function weigh several factors when deciding whether or not to recommend mitochondrial supplements. These factors include features of an individual’s medical history, physical exam, and the results of blood tests and other assessments. Another accepted approach is to begin a trial of the supplements and observe for improvements in function. In these cases it is important to monitor for objective signs of improvement.

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If I start MitoSpectra, how can I tell if it’s working?

Improved mitochondrial function can lead to a wide range of changes. Some of the more common changes are

  • Improved energy
  • Improved motor skills, muscle tone, and strength
  • Increased alertness, focus, and attention
  • Improved cognitive function, communication, and social engagement

Improved energy may sometimes appear as hyperactivity in children. This effect can be reduced by starting at a lower dose and increasing gradually over several weeks.

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How soon after starting MitoSpectra can I expect to see an effect?

Some components of MitoSpectra can show an effect within the first few days of starting the supplement. Others can take two to three months to show an effect. This varies from person to person, but in general, effects are seen within two or three months.

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What percent of individuals who take mitochondrial supplements show benefit?

There is no definitive answer to this question. An experienced physician will look at each person individually and weigh many different factors when determining the likelihood that a person will benefit.

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How is MitoSpectra different from other mitochondrial supplements?

MitoSpectra differs from other mitochondrial supplements in its composition, quality, and ease of use. MitoSpectra combines the five key active ingredients that, when given in high doses and in the correct ratios, act in a synergistic fashion to improve mitochondrial function. MitoSpectra is highly concentrated and mild tasting, so that it is easy to hide in soft foods or liquids. Unlike many dietary supplements that are of questionable quality and may harbor contaminants, MitoSpectra is manufactured in the USA according to NSF-certified Good Manufacturing Practices as established by the FDA.

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Information about how to use MitoSpectra

Does MitoSpectra require a doctor’s prescription?

No. All of the ingredients in MitoSpectra are approved by the FDA for use without a doctor’s prescription.

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Do I need specific diagnostic testing before starting MitoSpectra or other mitochondrial supplements?

This question is best discussed with your physician. Some physicians may choose to start a mitochondrial supplement based on a patient’s history and physical examination without other diagnostic testing. Other physicians may choose to do a range of diagnostic tests before starting a mitochondrial supplement.

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I understand that MitoSpectra should be taken under the supervision of a physician, but I only see a physician once a year. What should I do?

Schedule an appointment with your physician to discuss your current situation and any factors that you should consider before starting MitoSpectra. It is appropriate to notify your physician before starting any new dietary supplement, especially if you are taking other supplements or medications or have been diagnosed with any medical conditions.

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What are the potential side effects of MitoSpectra?

All supplements and medications have potential side effects. For more information on possible adverse reactions, speak with your physician. Below is partial list of some potential side effects.

  • L-carnitine
    • L-carnitine may increase the risk of seizures in individuals who have a history of seizures or a predisposition to seizures.
    • L-carnitine may lead to increased energy or hyperactivity. This is generally correlated to the dose, and the effect can be reduced by starting at a lower dose and increasing gradually over several weeks.
  • Coenzyme Q10
    • Coenzyme Q10 may increase alertness and lead to difficulty sleeping. This side effect may be reduced by taking Coenzyme Q10 earlier in the day (many hours before bedtime).
  • Vitamin C
    • Vitamin C may cause stomach irritation in individuals with an allergy or sensitivity to corn. (In these cases, a highly purified form of Vitamin C, ascorbyl palmitate, may provide the benefits of Vitamin C without stomach irritation).
  • Vitamin E
    • At high doses, Vitamin E may increase the time it takes for blood to clot. Individuals with a blood clotting disorder or who are taking blood thinners are at higher risk. In these cases, consultation with a physician is particularly critical before starting a high-dose Vitamin E supplement.
    • High doses of Vitamin E may have adverse effects on the cardiovascular system in those with cardiovascular symptoms and certain other medical conditions. In these cases, consultation with a physician is important before starting a high-dose Vitamin E supplement.

An allergic reaction may occur to any supplement or medication. Gastrointestinal symptoms, such as diarrhea or bloating, are common with many supplements and medications. For individuals with medical conditions of the heart, liver, kidneys, or other organs, a greater range of adverse effects may occur. For such individuals, close supervision by a physician is particularly important before starting MitoSpectra or any other dietary supplement.

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My child started MitoSpectra a few days ago and is showing increased energy. At times he is hyperactive. Will this improve over time?

If hyperactivity occurs, reduce the starting dose and increase it gradually over several weeks. In many children, the improved energy will continue but the hyperactivity will diminish.

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Are any blood tests needed when taking a mitochondrial supplement?

This question is best discussed with your physician. Some physicians may choose to check blood levels of Vitamin E, Coenzyme Q10, and other compounds to help them determine whether a higher dose may be needed.

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What other supplements and medications can be taken with MitoSpectra?

This question is best discussed with your physician. Dietary supplements and medications may interact with one another, and it’s important that your physician be aware of all supplements and medications that you are taking.

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Where can I find a physician that understands mitochondrial function and can supervise my care?

Below is a list of physicians who have identified themselves as having experience in the use of mitochondrial supplements. (A physician’s appearance on this list does not constitute an endorsement by MitoMedical. You should gather information about a physician’s background, credentials and experience before seeking his or her care.)

Physician List (By State)

Arkansas
Richard Frye, MD, PhD
Pediatric Neurologist
Arkansas Children’s Hospital
website

California
Suzanne Goh, MD
Pediatric Neurologist
Pediatric Neurology Therapeutics
website

Dan Rossignol, MD
Family Practice
California Integrative Hyperbaric Center
website

Suruchi Chandra, MD
Psychiatrist
Whole Child Wellness
website

Connecticut
Nancy O’Hara, MD
Developmental Behavioral Pediatrician
Center for Integrative Health
website

Gail Szakacs, MD
Internal Medicine
Center for Integrative Health
website

Florida
Dan Rossignol, MD
Family Practice
website

Illinois
Anju Usman, MD
Family Practice
True Health Medical Center
website

Maryland
Richard Kelley, MD, PhD
Geneticist
Kennedy Krieger Institute,
Johns Hopkins University
website

New Jersey
Helio Pedro, MD
Geneticist
Hackensack University Medical Center
website

Larry Rosen, MD
Pediatrician
The Whole Child Center
website

New York
Marilyn Agin, MD
Developmental Behavioral Pediatrician
Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics of New York
website

Maurine Packard, MD
Pediatric Neurologist
New York Presbyterian and Weill Cornell
website

Ohio
Bruce Cohen, MD
Pediatric Neurologist
Akron Children’s Hospital
website

Virginia
Elizabeth Mumper, MD
Pediatrician
The Rimland Center for Integrative Medicine
website

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