In a functional medicine clinic, your practitioner will look into mitochondrial function as a possible cause of disease. Mitochondrial function can play a role in many psychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and ALS. However, mitochondrial function plays a huge role in the synthesis of sex hormones as well.
In addition to being the powerhouse of the cell, mitochondria have many other tasks. One task is creating testosterone from cholesterol that is carried into the mitochondria by the STAR protein. If you asked most physicians if mitochondria play a role in sex hormone synthesis, then most of them would be oblivious to this fact. We shouldn’t only be looking into the mitochondria for these different neurodegenerative conditions. We should also be looking into this for athletes and people suffering with low testosterone.