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Health Benefits of Hypoxia

We know that mitochondria utilize most of the oxygen we absorb from the air to produce ATP via oxidative phosphorylation (energy production that is coupled to the electron transport chain). Hypoxia (low oxygen levels) undoubtedly induces reduced energy production via decreased mitochondrial metabolic activity or altered mitochondrial biogenesis.

The upside of this, however, is that hypoxia may also activate mitophagy, which selectively removes damaged or unwanted mitochondria for both mitochondrial quantity and quality control. A growing body of evidence has shown that the accumulation of damaged mitochondria is a characteristic of ageing and age-related diseases (such as metabolic disorders, cancer, and neurodegenerative diseases), so it would appear that the mechanism behind the health benefits of hypoxia are highly desired.

Unfortunately, to date, the molecular mechanisms by which hypoxia triggers mitophagy and by which mitophagy contributes to the pathogenesis of aging-related diseases remain to be explored. The exciting thing is that new evidence shows that in response to hypoxia or mitochondrial oxidative stress, receptor-mediated mitophagy was found to be activated (via both transcriptional and post-translational modification).

So based on this, the future may see a better understanding of mitochondrial quality control, and this may provide a strategy for treating aging-related diseases by targeting mitochondria and mitophagy pathways.

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Source: Hypoxia activation of mitophagy and its role in disease pathogenesis

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  1. Wikipedia article says mitophagy is facilitated by PINK1. Vitamin K2 linked to PINK1 so K2 likely helpful for mitophagy.possibly explaining its reputed anti-cancer asso iation.

  2. sooo… if you hold your breath you may live longer by getting rid of those bum mitochondrias?? lol


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