Adenosine Triphosphate,the energy of life
by Robert Mason Ph.D
(smart-drugs.net) - Adenosine Triphosphate (pronounced A-den-o-seen Try-foss-fate) or ATP represents the universal energy molecule. In a very real sense ATP is the power behind life. ATP is a nucleotide consisting of adenine, ribose, and a phosphate unit. It is the principal carrier of energy for all forms of life. ATP is estimated to provide 95% for all cellular energy throughout the body.
The Power behind Life
In essence, energy arrives from the Sun, but humans are unable to convert it directly to run metabolic processes. Therefore, we depend on photosynthesis to convert solar energy into chemical storage (in the form of carbohydrate). Through catabolic metabolism, carbohydrate is converted into the energy of ATP.
The importance of the role of ATP cannot be overstated. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons why in 1997 the Nobel Prize for chemistry was awarded to; Dr. John Walker of the Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, Dr. Paul Boyer of the University of California, Los Angeles and Dr. Jens Skou of the Aarhus University, Denmark for their detailed work on how ATP shuttles energy.
ATP and the Mitochondria
ATP is created inside cells called mitochondria. The mitochondria can be found in every cell of every organ, but they are perhaps “hardest at work” inside the brain. This isn’t a surprise considering that the brain utilizes approximately 20% of the body’s oxygen and 50% of the sugars we ingest in its ever constant demand for energy.
The Dangers of ATP Production Problems
The brain is unable to store ATP and the mitochondria are unable to “share” ATP from other organs mitochondria. It is estimated that the demands for a resting human are 40Kg (88 Lbs.) of ATP per 24-hours! During strenuous activity this demand increases to 500g (1.1 Lbs.) per minute!
Yet while ATP serves as the energy current for all cells, its quantity is very limited. In fact, only about 70mg of ATP is stored in the body at any one time! Therefore, during strenuous activity, such as sprinting, ATP supplies would last for no more than 5 to 8 seconds!
It becomes immediately apparent that ATP must be constantly and effectively synthesized to provide a continuous supply of energy. When an interruption of the energy producing substances (such as oxygen or blood carrying nutrients) occurs, (e.g. heart attack or stroke) that as the production of ATP is effected a cascade of free-radical damage begins.
Recent research indicates that it may be an ATP-imbalance, (the result of damage to the neuronal support [glial] cells, or to the mitochondria themselves under ischemic and hypoxic conditions such as those mentioned above) that leads to increased neuronal cell death.
However, even “minor” oxygen and blood starvation events, such as those that may not appear serious but may be attributed to an aging condition, could lead directly to temporally lobe epilepsy (a mild form of epilepsy).
Furthermore, we can consider that such events also have a consequence for the onset of multiple sclerosis itself.
ATP and Disorders
Around the world ATP supplements have been and are being used in all the following conditions:
1. Acrocyanosis: (Discoloration of hands and feet due to poor circulation).
2. Acroparaesthesiae: (Tingling in hands and feet).
3. Asthma: (In general).
4. Back Pain: (Particularly mild lower back pain).
5. Cardiology: (Spasms related to the coronary arteries and thrombosis of peripheral vessels. And as a preventative for potential heart attack).
6. Chronic Asthenia: (Accompanied or not by low blood pressure, genital and senile asthenia, stress).
7. Circulatory Alterations: (In general).
8. Convalescence: (Following operations and of seriously ill patients).
9. Dermatology: (Atopic dermatitis, chronic and acute eczema).
10. Diabetes: (As a coadjutant in the treatment of diabetic arteriopathies).
11. Ear Problems: (Ménière's Disease, Tinnitus [ringing in the ears], deafness due to nerves, deafness due to streptomycin).
12. Endocrinology: (In general).
13. Geriatrics: (Improve well being and energy).
14. Gynecology: (Particularly alterations due to spasms of the uterine muscle).
15. Itching: (In general).
16. Neurology: (As a coadjutant in the treatment of extended sclerosis and other neurological lesions and related to muscular dystrophy’s).
17. Nutrition: (In general).
18. Ophthalmology: (Strained eyesight).
19. Poisoning: (In general).
20. Raynaud's Disease: (Blanching of the fingers and toes).
21. Rheumatism: (In general).
22. Sports Medicine: (Training, physical strain, fatigue of all kinds).
23. Surgery: (Prior to and following surgery to prevent anoxia).
ATP and Aging
The body’s ATP production declines as we age. the size, volume, and number of the mitochondria alter during age. As the mitochondria produce ATP, an abundance of free radicals are generated. Free radicals over a life-time damage cellular components which of course leads to decreased efficiency.
Whilst the authors could find no clinical studies to support ATP supplementation and aging, there is no doubt that ATP is a vital component of life.
It appears to be a logical step that ATP supplementation can aid and assist in improving energy levels and help support conditions such as chronic fatigue, multiple sclerosis and similar disorders where neuronal glial cells and mitochondria are especially at-risk.
We’ve heard from a number of patients and health professionals that sublingual or injectable ATP supplementation can be highly beneficial for those who feel permanently weak, tired, or lack energy (i.e. chronic fatigue).
Dosages, Side Effects and Contraindications
It is noted that patients with either pulmonary hypertension or myocardial infarction should not use ATP if the disease is in its acute phase.
ATP appears to be a very safe and satisfactory supplement
Whilst dosages have to be altered according to the age and condition of the patient and the desired result, it is generally considered that the following dosages are effective in 90% of cases:
By injection: 2-4 c.c. daily by deep intramuscular injection (or by intravenous injection when dissolved in a glucose serum).
By sublingual absorption (under the tongue): 30mg to 90mg per day taken in three divided doses (i.e. 10-30mg three times per day). It is important to ensure that the product is absorbed through the mouth membranes and not swallowed.
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Kunz WS, Kudin AP, Vielhaber S, Blumcke I, Zuschratter W, Scramm J, Beck H, Elger CE, Mitochondrial complex I deficiency in the epileptic focus of patients with temporal lobe epilepsy, Ann. Neurosci. 2000 Nov; 48(5) 766-73.
Verweij BH, Muizelaar JP, Vinas FC, Peterson PL, Xiong Y, Lee CP, Impaired cerebral mitochondrial function after traumatic brain injury in humans, J. Neurosurg. 2000 Nov; 93(5): 815-20.
Anderson E, You scratch my back and I will synthesize adenosine triphosphate by means of oxidative phosphorylation.
- Adenosine Triphosphate, Microsoft Encarta Online Encyclopedia, 2000.
- Atepodin, manufacturers insert 1999.
- Chemistry in Britain, November 1999.
- Database of the Swedish Academy of Sciences, Stockholm.
- Database of the Oxford University, England.
- Skou J, Aarhus University, Denmark.
Walker J, Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Medical Research Council, Cambridge, England.
- Boyer P, University of California, Los Angeles, USA.