How to Fix Mitochondria & Get Energy in Lyme Disease

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Image of Mitochondria in Lyme disease by Marty Ross MD

Mitochondria Create Cell Energy in Lyme

It is possible to improve energy in chronic Lyme disease by improving the function of the cell power factories called mitochondria. For many with Lyme, the mitochondria get injured and do not produce enough energy. But there are effective steps to take that fix the damage and give energy back.

Mitochondria are the energy factories found in every cell in the body. By some estimates there are nearly 400 per cell. In chronic Lyme disease or in toxicity issues, due to oxidative stress the mitochondria can be injured leading to fatigue that will not improve. In oxidative stress chemicals build up that can damage membranes and even the DNA genetic material of mitochondria.

As power factories, mitochondria create a type of cell fuel called ATP. This is created as fat and sugar are burned through a number of chemical reactions called Kreb's cycle and another process called oxidative phosphorylation. The fuel sources for mitochondria are fat and sugar. Both need to be transported to the inside of the mitochondria.

When To Repair Mitochondria

Take steps to improve mitochondria function if essential steps to treat Lyme do not provide good improvements in energy by 6-9 months. For these essential steps see Fix Fatigue Boost Your Energy: The Basic Steps.

Marty Ross MD on Mitochondria Function & Repair

Marty Ross MD discusses mitochondria. This video was recorded during our Lyme Q&A Webinar: Conversations with Marty Ross MD on 5/23/19.

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Mitochondria Outer Membrane Damage

In mitochondria dysfunction the outer membrane of the covering can be injured. This membrane is composed of a phospholipid fats called phosphatidylcholine and phospatidylserine.

A healthy mitochondria covering is needed for two reasons.

  • First, this covering transports fat and sugar to the inside to be burned into cell fuel.
  • Second, a number of chemical reactions take place on the inside of the covering requiring electrons to be transferred to them.

There are three products I suggest that include mitochondria membrane fats. These products are all manufactured by Researched Nutritionals. These products are NT Factor Energy, ATP Fuel, and ATP 360. Each of these products contains types of fats shown to repair and support the mitochondria membranes. They also include various micronutrients that support mitochondria function. 

NT Factor Energy and ATP Fuel include a proprietary blend of phosphatidyl serine and phospatidyl choline made by another company called NT Factor. In studies with people reporting fatigue, NT Factor in both of these products is shown to improve energy at two months by an average of 40%. ATP Fuel contains Co Q10, but NT Factor Energy does not. Co Q10 should not be used in Babesia treatments that include atovaqone (Mepron and Malarone) because it interferes with theire ability to kill this germ. 

ATP 360 does not use NT Factor as its fat source. Instead, Researched Nutritionals includes its own proprietary phospholipid formula and delivery system. ATP 360 does include ingredients that are shown to increase the mass of the mitochondria. Finally ATP 360 also includes Co Q10. In unpublished studies by Researched Nutritionals, ATP 30 and ATP Fuel are shown to work as well at improving energy. ATP 360 is easier to take because it requires one time a day doseing. 

For more information see A Comparison of ATP Fuel, ATP 360 & NT Factor Energy by Researched Nutritionals.

Suggested Dosing

Choose one of the products below based on the information above. Do not use two or more of these products together at the same time.

  • NT Factor Energy take 2 pills 3 times a day for 2 months, then decrease to 1 pill 3 times a day for 4 months.
  • ATP Fuel take 5 pills 2 times a day for 6 months.
  • ATP 360 take 3 pills 1 time a day for 6 months.

NT Factor Energy is the only product to take if a person is on atovaqone found in Mepron and Malarone to treat babesia.

Increase Glutathione

Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant that repairs cell injury. It is made in every cell. Liposomal  glutathione is best. This type of glutathione is microscopically wrapped in phospholipid fats which increases its absorption. One can also breathe glutathione in using a nebulizer or take it by IV. The nebulizer and IV versions may work more effectively in some than the liposomal oral form. Read more about the nebulizer and IV versions including dosing and how frequent to take them in the article Glutathione: The Great Fixer.

An alternative to glutathione is to take a building block of glutathione called N acetyl-cysteine (NAC). Inside cells NAC is used to make glutathione. My preference is the glutathione but in some it does not work or is too expensive.

  • Liposomal Glutathione 500mg/5ml take 5ml 1 or 2 times a day, or
  • N Acetyl-Cysteine (NAC) 500mg 1 pill 3 times a day.

Add Co Q10

Co Q10 is a key nutrient used in chemical reactions inside mitochondria that create cell fuel. Most people do not get enough of this essential nutrient in their diets. Do not use Co Q10 if you are taking atovaqone found in Mepron and Malarone to treat Babesia. 

  • Co Q10 400mg 1 pill 2 times a day.


Carnitine is a transport vehicle that carries fat to the inside of a mitochondria so that it can be burned into cell fuel through chemical reactions. The key source of carnitine is red meat. So if a person does not eat red meat, they may not be able to fuel up mitochondria. The most absorbed and used source of carnitine is acetyl-l-carnitine.

  • Acetyl-L-Carnitine 500mg 1 pill 2 times a day for 1 month and then 1 pill daily.


To repair mitochondria and to boost energy try the Mito Food Plan developed by the Institute for Functional Medicine. This diet is a modified paleo diet. For more information about this diet and how to build it for you read The Best Brain, Inflammation, Pain, Energy, and Detox Diet Ever.

Heavy Metal Detoxification

Heavy metals like lead and mercury can injure nerves. By six months doing the above, if there is inadequate improvement, then consider testing for heavy metal toxicity. If heavy metals are elevated then a chelating agent can lower the metals. Read more in Heavy Metals: The Problem and Best Test.

Give It Time

Mitochondria repair takes time. Give this recommended protocol at least 6 months to see if it will help.


The ideas and recommendations on this website and in this article are for informational purposes only. For more information about this, review the sitewide Terms & Conditions.


View Citations

  1. Nicolson GL. Mitochondrial Dysfunction and Chronic Disease: Treatment With Natural Supplements. Integr Med (Encinitas). 2014;13(4):35–43. (View)
  2. Ellithorpe RR, Settineri R, Nicolson GL. Reduction of fatigue by use of a dietary supplement containing glycophospholipids. J Am Nutraceut Assoc 2003; 6(1): 23-28. (View)
  3. Nicolson GL, Ellithorpe RR, Ayson-Mitchell C, Jacques B, Settineri R. Lipid Replacement Therapy with a glycophospholipid-antioxidant-vitamin formulation significantly reduces fatigue within one week. J Am Nutraceut Assoc 2010; 13(1): 11- 15.
  4. Calabrese G, Morgan B, Riemer J. Mitochondrial Glutathione: Regulation and Functions. Antioxid Redox Signal. 2017;27(15):1162-1177. doi:10.1089/ars.2017.7121 (View)
  5. Novakova, K., Kummer, O., Bouitbir, J. et al. Effect of l-carnitine supplementation on the body carnitine pool, skeletal muscle energy metabolism and physical performance in male vegetarians. Eur J Nutr (2016) 55: 207. (View)
  6. Neergheen, V., Chalasani, A., Wainwright, L., Yubero, D., Montero, R., Artuch, R., & Hargreaves, I. (2017). Coenzyme Q10 in the Treatment of Mitochondrial Disease. Journal of Inborn Errors of Metabolism and Screening.
  7. Jaishankar M, Tseten T, Anbalagan N, Mathew BB, Beeregowda KN. Toxicity, mechanism and health effects of some heavy metals. Interdisciplinary Toxicology. 2014;7(2):60-72. doi:10.2478/intox-2014-0009. (View)
  8. Sears ME. Chelation: Harnessing and Enhancing Heavy Metal Detoxification—A Review. The Scientific World Journal. 2013;2013:219840. doi:10.1155/2013/219840. (View)
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About The Author

Marty Ross, MD is a passionate Lyme disease educator and clinical expert. He helps Lyme sufferers and their physicians see what really works based on his review of the science and extensive real-world experience. Dr. Ross is licensed to practice medicine in Washington State (License: MD00033296) where he has treated thousands of Lyme disease patients in his Seattle practice.

Marty Ross, MD is a graduate of Indiana University School of Medicine and Georgetown University Family Medicine Residency. He is a member of the International Lyme and Associated Disease Society (ILADS) and The Institute for Functional Medicine.

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