By Uma Sivanathan

Judith White practices yoga.

Judith White practicing yoga. Photo by Anne E. O’Malley

Life is all about balance.

For optimum health, our bodies need exercise, good nutrition and rest. It all comes down to the health of the 100 trillion cells in our bodies. Healthy cells keep us well!

Gentle, moderate exercise creates a positive stress that helps to build our cellular engine, which produces energy for us to accomplish our daily activities. It makes our cells stronger, more resilient to other stressors. Good nutrition and rest promotes cellular regeneration. With enhanced cellular regeneration we increase our lifespan, prevent disease and have more abundant energy.

So now we can talk about mitochondria, the powerful little guys that move about in our cells, producing our energy. Our liver and muscles have the most mitochondria, ranging from 500-2,000 of these little energy generators. The size and amount of mitochondria create our cellular engine. The mitochondria convert our food into useable energy and power nearly all cellular activities, especially muscle movement and brain functions.

Kind of important little guys!

Graphic image of a mitochondrion

Through our daily life style, we can create and build new mitochondria, so that we have a higher capacity to produce energy, helping us not get fatigued half way through the day.

Fatigue is caused by the shutdown of mitochondria. Another role of the mitochondria is cell defense, but they cannot produce energy and defend our cells very well at the same time. When our cells are defending against threats, such as environmental toxins, they go into a danger response and can get locked there. The greatest cause of fatigue is when the mitochondria are taken out of energy mode into defense mode.

Our bodies know how to support our mitochondria during the natural rhythm of day and night, light and darkness. This is called the circadium rhythm, our “internal body clock” that regulates all of our biological processes on a 24-hour cycle.

The building of the mitochondria and cleansing of our cells takes place while we are asleep, called the fasting stage.

We can improve this important function of our bodies by getting improved sleep. Sleep can be enhanced by:

  1. Eating our dinner close to sundown.
  2. Getting 7-9 hours of sleep a night
  3. Sticking to a regular bedtime schedule-go to sleep at the same time and get up at the same time, even on weekends. The body gets used to this rhythm.
  4. Turn off electronic devices one hour before bedtime.
  5. Don’t drink alcohol close to bedtime, because it makes it harder to stay asleep.
  6. Drink less fluids at night.

The sleeping phase of the circadium rhythm is very important for the health of the mitochondria. During this time our cells have a natural, regulated system to repair themselves and break down and recycle waste material, much of which is generated by our food metabolism.

During the cycle of daily life, eating promotes cell growth and fasting while we sleep promotes cellular cleansing.

Periodic short fasting on juices or water is a great way to stimulate cellular self-cleansing and can be extremely beneficial to long term health and well being, preventing obesity, diabetes, neuro-degenerative diseases and extending our lives.

If we give our cells all of the good stuff that they need, damaged cells can naturally be repaired, bringing the cell back to 100 percent health.

What a remarkable symphony we have within — the innate power to heal and restore ourselves!

By incorporating a few simple practices into our daily lives, we can go from dragging ourselves through each day to living a life of passion, vitality and aliveness.

For more information on energy, view the following websites:;;;;;

  • Uma Sivanathan is the founder and president of Mana`olana Center for Health and Healing. She can be reached through the website: