There is NO REAL TREATMENT for Mitochondrial Disease
However, there are certain things doctors can do to help manage the symptoms and slow down the progression of the disease.
- Conserve energy
- Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, & Speech Therapy
- Inhalers, nebulizers, oxygen, Bipaps, trachea & ventilators - to help with breathing related problems
- Feeding Tubes - to help those who are failure to thrive & or those with Gastroparesis
- D10 or D20 Hydration depending on situation and crisis
- Temperature control - to help those with dysautonomia (heat and or cold intolerance)
- Heart medication - to help those with tachycardia and cardiomyopathy
- Anticonvulsant medication for epilepsy
- Mito Cocktails (Multiple vitamines & Mineral supplements)
Things to Avoid
- Alcohol & Cigarettes - Alcohol has been known to hasten the progression of some mitochondrial disorders. Cigarette smoke, probably due to the carbon monoxide, is known to hasten the progression of some conditions.
- MSG - MSG (monosodium glutamate) has for years been known to cause migraine headaches in otherwise healthy individuals, and may trigger these events in susceptible people with mitochondrial disease. MSG is frequently added to Chinese (and other Asian) foods, and is also found in high levels of dried and canned soup. Read the label and avoid MSG if there is any sensitivity.
- Iron - Iron generates free radicals under certain conditions, which is especially bad in mitochondrial diseases because the free radicals injure mitochondrial DNA and "poke holes" in the mitochondria, making a bad problem worse. Therefore, excess iron is theoretically harmful. vitamin C enhances the absorption of iron from the intestines, and vitamin C should not be given around a meal rich in iron. This is important to remember because some experts feel that vitamin C is a good antioxidant, and also may be helpful in some disorders of OXPHOS.
- Fat - In patients with OXPHOS disorders, reducing fat may be helpful. This includes reducing added oil, butter, & margarine, and cutting down on cheese and fatty meats. This recommendation is not meant to avoid fats altogether. A defect in OXPHOS can create an "energy backup", as the respiratory chain cannot handle the flow of electrons coming into it. This backup may result in the formation of excess free fatty acids (fats waiting to be burned), which can poison the enzyme (adenosine nucleotide translocase) that exchanges the low-energy ADP located outside the mitochondria for the high-energy ATP formed at complex v. If you take the approach of limiting fats, extra effort needs to be made to increase the total carbohydrate (in the form of complex carbohydrates) in the diet.
- Starvation - avoid fasting.
- Lack of sleep - may possibly be harmful.
- Avoidance of Physiologic Stress - Physiologic stress is triggered by external factors that may result in worsening the metabolic situation, which may result in temporary or permanent worsening of the condition.
Information from United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation & Mito Action