What does it take for you to feel on top of your game? A lie-in at the weekend? A week on a sun lounger somewhere hot? Or do you mostly find yourself on a sliding energy spectrum, somewhere between slightly below—par and flat—out exhausted?
If so, you’re not alone — one in five of us complains of feeling ‘unusually tired’. However, new research shows that it’s not just late nights, deadlines and red wine that’s causing this fatigue epidemic, it’s our mitochondria: tiny ‘batteries’ that are responsible for powering every living cell in the body. Back in GCSE biology, mitochondria wasn’t the sexiest subject — but it is now. In fact, it’s currently the biggest buzzword in beauty.
Consider this: when you were 16 years old, you could stay out late partying, barely sleep, and still be able to function. You were I invincible: you barely knew what a hangover was, and your body dealt efficiently with whatever you threw at it. You escaped, I fairly unscathed, because at the age of 16, and for the following decade, you had more carnosine — a protein found in muscle and brain tissues, which regenerates cells and delays ageing — in your body than you will ever have in your whole life. But at the age of 26, it starts to plummet.
By your 30s, things are changing rapidly: you likely have children and your body no longer looks the same. In your 40s, gravity kicks in and the weight starts to creep on. At 50, we become more susceptible to disease; by 60, our brain is less sharp; and by then, we have half the amount of carnosine that we had when we were 16. Without carnosine, our mitochondria cannot produce power — and without power we cannot fight disease. These depleted batteries are the root cause of ageing: from wrinkles to memory loss to lethargy — but there is a solution at hand. And we have the Russians to thank for it.
In planning to get an astronaut to Mars (a difficult feat, as the sun’s radiation would have wiped out the man’s mitochondria, ageing him so exponentially he would be unlikely to return), Russian scientists made a key discovery: our mitochondria need approximately 500ml of carnosine per kilogram of body weight, every two hours, to keep them functioning at their peak. For the average adult, that equates to approximately 250 capsules per hour. Fortunately for us, the Russians also found a way to increase the capsules’ efficacy — and whispers of these ‘limitless pills’ have been spreading like wildfire through the world of wellness ever since.
The result is a carefully measured, turbo—charged cocktail of supplements: carnosine (to improve the performance of receptors in the body), coenzyme Q10 (to increase energy production) and flavonoids (to reduce inflammation). And holistic medicine practitioner Lilias Ahmeira has found a way to make it available to ordinary mortals — without limits. Ahmeira determines the correct dosage for patients (anywhere from five to six capsules per day, taken at regular intervals) via an ECG scan, which monitors the power in your body, your heart rate and your nervous system. She calls this regime ‘mitochondria rescue’.
‘Imagine you buy a new car,’ explains Ahmeira, who runs clinics in Harley Street, Somerset and Scotland. ‘You can polish it, fit shiny new hubcaps, fill the tank with the most expensive petrol and put a spoiler on the back — but if the start motor is broken, it’s not going to go anywhere. If your mitochondria are depleted, it’s the same thing. And if the body doesn’t have the resources to turn the engine over, you’ll never get it started.’
Ahmeira’s clientele is wideranging, from business executives and their demanding schedules to children suffering from autism. ‘We’ve been having the most phenomenal results with autistic children — once we start to fire up the mitochondria, their cognitive power increases: we get them speaking more and sleeping much better, too.’
Just as remarkable are the effects on sufferers of chronic fatigue. ‘One year ago, I saw a woman in her early 40s,’ says Ahmeira. ‘She couldn’t leave the house; in fact, she had barely moved from the sofa for nearly 20 years. I gave her a prescription and 10 days later, she walked one mile. Soon, she was able to stand for long enough to be able to bake a cake with her three-year—old daughter, something that she had never been able to do.’
However run—of-the-mill your condition, the everyday effects are just as tangible. Some patients claim that they no longer need to drink coffee; that old, lingering injuries have finally healed; that their skin is brighter. Many say that they simply feel more balanced. ‘Powering up the body means that you can respond logically, instead of reacting irrationally,’ explains Ahmeira. ‘I would love all people going through a divorce to be on this.’ When they return, some months later, to have their dosage tweaked, some patients are in a new job or relationship. ‘It can change lives in the most extraordinary way,’ says Ahmeira.
‘Some patients tell me they can’t stop singing in the shower, or that they feel happy for the first time in a long time. Simply put, it gives them back their mojo.’
Clinical assessment, £170; supplements from £66.00 (liliasahmeira.com)