Every living thing has something that gives it power, i.e. energy. The human body's main power comes from the mitochondrion. The mitochondrion exist in every cell in the body. They are considered the cell's power plant, supplying the energy to carry out all of the cell's jobs. Each cell contains up to a thousand mitochondria.
The mitochondrion produce a substance called adenosine triphosphate. It is also known as ATP. It is believed to be our source of energy. ATP's main purpose is to transport chemical energy within cells for metabolism. Metabolism is the sum of the physical and chemical changes that take place in living organisms.
ATP was discovered in 1929 by Cyrus Hartwell Fiske and Yellagaprada SubbaRow. In 1941 Nobel Prize winner Fritz Lipmann, one fo the founding fathers of modern biochemistry, determined the ATP was the high energy molecule in metatablism. Its the ultimate natural energy booster.
Simply put, its what converts the energy found in food to energy our cells can use to allow them to function properly. The chemical energy of ATP can be transferred to other cellular materials or be converted to mechanical energy, as is the case during muscle contraction, i.e. movement or exercise .
ATP is the “most widely distributed high-energy compound within the human body.”
It is used to build molecules, contract muscles and generate electrical impulses in the nerves. All fuel sources, grown naturally, like fruits and vegetables produce ATP which in turn powers virtually every activity of the cell and organism.
It supplies energy to the heart muscle, other muscles for movement and carries out many other functions. James Trefil, a well-known physicist and author has stated “[ATP] is what keeps the whole world operating.” Studies suggest that it provides for 95% of all cellular energy in the body. Without it, life would cease.
The mitochondrion are the production centers for ATP. They do their hardest work inside the brain. As a matter of fact, the brain consumes 20% of the body's oxygen and 50% of the sugars we get from our diet. The brain is unable to store ATP and the mitochondria are unable to share ATP from other mitochondria that exist in other organs. In other words, if the mitochondria in your brain stop producing ATP, the ATP produced by the mitochondria in your heart cannot help out.
Without proper ATP production, our organs with high ATP demand, like our brain, will not function well.
The mitochondria have two sets of membranes, the outer and the inner. The outer membrane is smooth and the inner is folded. The inner membrane is four or five times larger than the outer membrane. In order to fit inside the outer membrane it doubles over in many places, extending long, fingerlike folds. These folds play an important function: They dramatically increase the surface area available to the cell to make ATP. In other words, they vastly increase the ATP-production capacity of mitochondria. As fatty acids and sugars are passed through these membranes they are converted to ATP.
Once converted to ATP, it can lose its chemical energy and it becomes ADP. In most cases ADP is immediately recycled in the mitochondria, is recharged and exits the cell as ATP.
The normal amount of ATP stored in the body is around 50 grams, which must be constantly recycled every day. This is just the normal “on-hand” amount at any given time in our body, not what our body produces on a daily basis.
On average the metabolic energy a person generates is enough to produce his or her own body weight of ATP every day just to function and every second our 50 trillion or so cells consumes and regenerates 10 million molecules of ATP. Studies have provide evidence that when resting we need around 88 Lbs of ATP every 24-hours. The amount we need can increases up to 1.1 Lbs per minute as we become more active. The more active the muscle the more ATP it needs.
The production of ATP is driven by the energy of oxidation. In simple terms, hydrogen is combined with oxygen to generate energy , i.e. ATP.
ATP production is accomplished by two processes;
1) The citric acid cycle
2) The electron transport chain
3) The electron transport chain process is process is ten times more efficient than the citric acid cycle at producing ATP. This process of ATP generation (electron transport chain) is called oxidative phosphorylation. There are many mitochondrion's in each of our trillions of cells constantly producing ATP.