Good health depends on good mitochondrial function. End of story! Mitochondria are involved in converting the energy from our food and our light environment into available energy for the body. They are intimately involved in how the brain functions, in neurotransmitter production and antioxidant production. They are involved in regulating gene expression and epigenetics - in other words, the switching on and off of genes that ultimately influence our risk of developing disease.
Many things can be detrimental for mitochondrial function - the fuel we put into our bodies, micronutrient deficiencies, drugs (including prescribed drugs), alcohol, smoking, circadian dysregulation, toxins (chemical & psychological), to name just a few.
The take home message is to look after your mitochondria and they will look after you.
Our gut-brain-axis is hugely important for mental health but also for all aspects of general health. Our microbiome produces our neurotransmitters and other metabolites that help to protect and nourish our gut health. Gut microbes can interact with the immune system and other systems in the body such as the HPA axis, and can influence how prone we are to inflammation elsewhere in the body, including the brain. They can influence our stress response. Dysbiosis can present with many different symptoms, according to what other bodily system is being affected - mental health symptoms, mast cell activation, unexplained physical symptoms. The list is possibly endless as there's so much we still dont know about the microbiome.
It is possible for latent and undiagnosed infections to be causing an immune system response. Immune system activation can manifest as symptoms of major mental illness, even psychosis or cognitive dysfunction, including symptoms that have been very chronic in nature. Essentially anything that activates an immune response can also influence the blood brain barrier and affect inflammation in the brain.
Many systems of the body run on certain rhythms. For women this means a monthly cycle of hormonal changes and for men it is a 24 hour cycle. Our light environment is what signals to our circadian clocks to advise on hormonal processes in the body as well many other bodily systems. Paying attention to our light environments is essential for good health and sleep. Natural light including sunlight is also essential when it comes to vitamin D status. Sadly vitamin D deficiency is rife worldwide and has significant implications for health, both in the prenatal period and for the rest of life.
Our bodies are electromagnetic beings that absorb and make use of different wavelengths of radiation. Getting our light exposures correct and taking care of detrimental radiation exposure should be one of our foundational approaches to health.