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Hormone and Thyroid Conditions Can Be Affected by Cellular Health

Holistic Health

Hormone and Thyroid Conditions Can Be Affected by Cellular Health – Part 1

Mitochondria are tiny organelles found inside every cell. They turn calories from the food you eat into energy. Cellular metabolism depends upon mitochondrial health, but mitochondria are crucial for much more, including hormone balance. 

This two-part series will explore the relationship between female hormones, thyroid hormones, and mitochondria. You’ll learn more about: 

Then, in Part 2, I will dive into how you can protect and restore mitochondrial health using diet, lifestyle change, and mitochondria supplements. 

Let’s dive in!

What Do the Mitochondria Do? Mitochondria Function 

Mitochondria are organelles inside cells that produce energy in the form of ATP. Mitochondria are essential to the survival, function, and health of cells. Decreased mitochondrial function is associated with aging and chronic disease. 

Thousands of mitochondria reside in every cell of your body, sometimes taking up as much as 25% of the cell volume. The number of mitochondria in each cell, typically between 1000 and 2500, depends on the cell’s location and function. 

Brain cells, for example, contain high levels of mitochondria because the brain is the most energy-consuming organ. The mature female egg has the most mitochondria of any cell, with between 100,000 and 600,000 organelles

ATP Synthase in Mitochondria 

ATP synthase in mitochondria is vital for energy production. ATP synthase is an enzyme found inside the mitochondria that synthesizes ATP. This enzyme is driven by electron transport across the mitochondrial membranes. 

Increased ATP synthase means a higher capacity for energy production, while decreased levels can mean a slower metabolism. 

Connection Between Mitochondrial Health and Hormones

The health of the mitochondria plays a central role in the production of sex hormones. The mitochondria are the site of sex hormone (steroid hormone) syntheses, including the ovarian hormones estrogen, progesterone, and DHEA

Those with mitochondrial disease or poor mitochondrial health might notice altered hormone levels and hormone-related symptoms. 

The relationship between hormones and mitochondria is a two-way street. Not only does mitochondrial health influence hormone production, but hormones modulate mitochondrial function. 

The relationship between hormones and mitochondria is a two-way street. Not only does mitochondrial health influence hormone production, but hormones modulate mitochondrial function.

When hormone production declines in perimenopause and menopause, it affects mitochondrial function and metabolism. 

Mitochondria and Thyroid Conditions

The primary role of thyroid hormones is to control the metabolic rate. The metabolic rate sets the pace of ATP production in the mitochondria. Therefore, thyroid conditions directly influence mitochondrial function. 

In hypothyroidism or Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, lower levels of thyroid hormones mean a slower metabolism and less ATP production. Thyroid condition symptoms include a slowing down of many body processes, including hair growth, circulation, and digestion.

In hyperthyroidism or Graves’ disease, higher levels of thyroid hormones ramp up the metabolic rate and the mitochondrial production of ATP. Symptoms include a speeding up of body symptoms like increased hunger, weight loss, and heart palpitations. 

Mitochondrial and Ovarian Hormone Production 

The mature female egg is a single cell with the highest number of mitochondria in the body. A decline in mitochondrial function is associated with decreased fertility as we age. And supporting mitochondrial function improves fertility and hormone production in women. 

Mitochondrial DNA is passed from mother to child, with little (or no) male contribution, making maternal mitochondrial health important not only for fertility, but for the health of offspring too. 

Effects of Oxidative Stress and Environmental Toxins on Cellular Metabolism

The production of ATP creates oxidative stress that can damage the mitochondrial and cellular structures. Luckily, mitochondria also contain antioxidants that provide protection creating a balance.

In our modern world, however, many outside influences and factors contribute to free radical damage and oxidative stress in the body. This damage can impair mitochondrial function, impacting metabolic health, hormones, aging, and more. 

Factors associated with mitochondrial damage include:

Because of all these factors and others, our mitochondria require additional support for healthy functioning. And supporting mitochondria is a root-cause strategy for finding balance and ease with female hormones. 

Stay tuned for Part 2 of this series, where I’ll walk you through steps you can take to optimize your mitochondrial health. 


  1. Pizzorno J. (2014). Mitochondria-Fundamental to Life and Health. Integrative medicine (Encinitas, Calif.), 13(2), 8–15.
  2. The Embryo Project Encyclopedia. Mitochondria DNA (mtDNA). Accessed 12/6/22. 
  3. Lejri, I., Grimm, A., & Eckert, A. (2018). Mitochondria, Estrogen and Female Brain Aging. Frontiers in aging neuroscience, 10, 124. 
  4. Lanni, A., Moreno, M., & Goglia, F. (2016). Mitochondrial Actions of Thyroid Hormone. Comprehensive Physiology, 6(4), 1591–1607. 
  5. Dumollard, R., Duchen, M., & Carroll, J. (2007). The role of mitochondrial function in the oocyte and embryo. Current topics in developmental biology, 77, 21–49. 


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