Mitochondrial Disorder is likely one of the major underlying problems for many of the complaints that comprise what is coming to be known as Fluoroquinolone Toxicity Syndrome or Fluoroquinolone Associated Disability, also called FQAD, which includes symptoms of profound fatigue. If you are new to the problem of the Fluoroquinolone Drugs, please read the page on Introduction to Fluoroquinolones here, and see the full List of Fluoroquinolone and Quinolone drugs here. Even if you have never heard of mitochondrial disorder before, that doesn’t make the problem any less serious to you and others who are experiencing serious and even disabling symptoms after taking antibiotics such as Levaquin, Cipro, or Avelox. See a full List of Quinolone drugs that could be causing problems for you.
What are Mitochondria and Why You Should Care
The mitochondria are located inside every cell in the body, except for mature red blood cells. Interesting, the mitochondria actually have their own DNA that is separate and distinct from the DNA is our bodies. This ‘mitochondrial DNA’, also called mDNA is best known in relationship to Mitochondrial Eve, where scientists have traced maternal mDNA back to the area of the world where the first humans might have lived. MDNA, despite it comprising only 1% of the DNA in our bodies performs various specific functions that humans can’t live without, and the DNA damage that occurs from the Fluoroquinolones, causing mitochondrial disorder, can be devastating, and may be the responsible factor in side effects such as Neuropathies and even Fluoroquinolone Induced Arthritis because of the inhibition of DNA replication in the mitochondria 1.
Notably, the mitochondria are the energy centers of the cells and are so important that they can be likened to the batteries in an electronic device. When mitochondrial disorder occurs, the cells have no energy and you’ll feel fatigued and exhausted, as one of the many symptoms you could experience from Fluoroquinolone induced mitochondrial disorder. This can often get diagnosed as chronic fatigue syndrome, or a ‘psychosomatic illness’ that gets people put on anti-depressants instead of getting proper treatment.
This process of mitochondrial disorder is one of the reasons why it’s ineffective to Detoxify from Levaquin and Cipro, and why Fluoroquinolone Toxicity is not something that you can go on a water fast or eat cleanly to heal from. When damage to the mitochondria and DNA occurs, you cannot do a ‘detox’ to remove the damage, you must HEAL the damage.
Fluoroquinolones and Mitochondria
There is little argument that the Fluoroquinolone antibiotics damage the mitochondria, and in fact a recent study outlined the mechanisms by which the mitochondria are damaged by these antibiotics, and another peer-reviewed paper hypothesizes that this mitochondrial damage is responsible for the devastating side effects of these drugs that is being termed ‘Fluoroquinolone Associated Disability’ or ‘FQAD’ 2.
Analysis of mtDNA from ciprofloxacin-treated cells
revealed the presence of site-specific,
double-stranded DNA breaks. 3
Fluoroquinolones damage mitochondria because these antibiotics, along with large numbers of other drugs, create a substance called ‘Reactive oxygen species’ or ROS. Another term for this is called ‘oxidative stress’ and it’s what causes aging and is the reason why we are encouraged to get plenty of anti-oxidants which, in more complexity than can be outlined here, can help to counter the effects of oxidative stress. On the other hand, problems such as Exposure to Heavy Metals, such as mercury, may be a risk factor for worsening problems upon exposure to the Fluoroquinolone antibiotics.
…mitochondria represent the major site for the generation
of cellular oxidative,stress and play a key role in mediating
programmed cell death (apoptosis). Damage to mtDNA is
therefore an important contributor to human ageing,
cancer and neurodegenerative diseases. 4
The mitochondria are particularly sensitive to the effects of oxidative stress, and even produce an intracellular anti-oxidant called glutathione that is critical to countering the effects of oxidative stress in the mitochondria. In order to produce glutathione, however, one must have sufficient amounts of nutrients that make the glutathione and that help to repair mitochondrial damage 5 , such as:
Additionally, being anemic or Taking Iron with the Fluoroquinolones is also a risk factor for worsening damage. How ironic that someone who is already tired from lack of nutrients can be put at worse risk of fatigue from these drugs.
However, many of these nutrients are deficient in the standard American diet of today, making those with these nutrient deficiencies particularly vulnerable to the devastating effects of these antibiotics, or unable to heal after they receive such damage, leading to problems such as the Peripheral Neuropathy that is a common problem with the Fluorquinolone antibiotics.
I have long suspected that one of the risk factors for those that get damaged by the Fluoroquinolone antibiotics is the presence of a genetic quirk call the MTHFR gene that prevents the proper absorption of Vitamins B12, B6, and folic acid. The lack of these nutrients would disrupt the creation of the extra glutathione needed for counteracting the oxidative stress of the Fluoroquinolone antibiotics, and allowing significant damage to the mitochondria, leading to the above mentioned Fluoroquinolone Associated Disability.
Even worse is that these ROS can damage the sensitive mitochondrial DNA, leading to DNA Damage, and without the proper nutrients to engage the highly sophisticated DNA repair processes in the cells, the next generation of mitochondria remain afflicted with the damage that was caused by the Fluoroquinolones, thus preventing any potential healing. This is one of the reasons why this FQAD can last for years or even be permanent.
Another Reason for Mitochondrial Disorder
Another extremely serious reason for Fluoroquinolone damage to the mitochondria is that it’s hypothesized that the mitochondria, in a quirk of evolutionary fate, are actually single celled organisms that became so closely linked with humans, they they actually merged into humans, becoming indistinguishable from them except for the small pieces of mitochondrial DNA that are entirely distinct from the rest of the human genome.
Because antibiotics are targeted to kill bacteria and other single-celled organisms, the former single-celled organisms that are the mitochondria are particularly vulnerable to the onslaught of damage caused by the Fluoroquinolone drugs. Take that into serious consideration the next time you take any antibiotics. You just may be targeting your own mitochondria for destruction!
How Do You Know if You have Mitochondrial Disorder?
Unfortunately, there is almost no possible way, in our current state of technology, to diagnose mitochondrial damage unless one has one of the several genetic markers that indicate a genetic preponderance towards having mitochondrial disease. Unfortunately, there are many sufferers that experience the symptoms of mitochondrial disorder, but that do not test positive for the known mitochondrial diseases.
There are no absolute diagnostic criteria for
mitochondrial cytopathies, and most screening
tests are neither specific nor sensitive. 6
So this leaves us with mitochondrial disorder being presumed when one has developed serious problems after taking the Fluoroquinolone antibiotics, particularly those involving neurologic problems, weakness, fatigue, or brain fog. While FQAD may seem insurmountable, there are many ways to overcome the damaging effects of the Fluoroquinolone antibiotics.
We recommend the book The Fluoroquinolone Toxicity Solution that provides a step-by-step protocol that outlines everything that you need to do in order to recover from Fluoroquinolone Toxicity and associated disability. In our opinion, it will give you the absolute best chance to overcome these problems and live as normal a life as possible. The staff here at FQ Research have all used the protocol found in the Fluoroquinolone Toxicity Solution and all agree that it gave us the most improvements of anything else that we had done prior. Get the Fluoroquinolone Toxicity Solution and get the help that you need to overcome your suffering.