What every athlete should know about cellular health: a Q&A with biotech engineering Ph.D. & triathlete Hannah Wells

Biotech engineering Ph.D. and triathlete Hannah Wells discusses how cellular health, antioxidants and athletic performance are all connected.

MitoQ triathlete Hannah Wells

It’s not everyday you come across a triathlete who also holds a Ph.D. in biotech engineering. But for MitoQ ambassador Hannah Wells, it’s a pairing that supports her athletic performance. It also makes her a fascinating person to talk to about the connection between cellular health and athletic performance. We recently caught up with her to find out how her background as a biotech engineering Ph.D. supports her athletic career and why antioxidants – and particularly the MitoQ molecule – are beneficial to athletes.

How does your background in biotech engineering complement your career as a triathlete?

Completing a PhD takes a lot of dedication and resilience and I truly think that completing my studies before becoming a professional athlete helped me become a better and mentally stronger athlete. It has also been incredibly helpful to have the skills and confidence to do my own research on technologies and products in the health and performance space. I have the ability to look into the research and evidence behind new products, technologies or training concepts and can try to understand how and why they could (or perhaps could not) be beneficial to bring into my own routine.

Why is cell health so important to athletic performance?

Cellular health matters greatly for our athletic performance. Cellular health directly affects how our body repairs itself and recovers from strenuous exercise (and any other stress we incur in our lives). Therefore, better cellular health will mean we can recover and adapt from training sooner and better.

Research has found that muscle cells in athletes typically contain more mitochondria than in non-athletes. What does this mean for athletic performance?

Muscle cells need a large amount of energy to function, and that energy comes from our mitochondria. The larger and stronger the muscle, the more energy required and used by that muscle, and therefore the more mitochondria present. That's why athletes have more mitochondria than non-athletes. So, taking MitoQ to help support mitochondrial function could be considered even more important for athletes, who have more mitochondria than non-athletes.

What do you do to look after your cells while you’re training?

I take MitoQ routinely every morning before I have a coffee and breakfast. This is the best step I can do to take care of my cell health. Some other things I do include heat therapy through sauna sessions and just having a good diet/adequate nutrition.

Why are antioxidants good for athletes?

Exercise and intense activity will create free radicals that can cause oxidative stress and damage our cells. Antioxidants will reduce free radical build-up and therefore help our cells recover faster from exercise and enhance performance.

Why is it important to be able to get antioxidants into cells?

In order for antioxidants to be able to help fight free radical production and damage, they need to first be able to get across the cell membrane to the major site of free radical production. This is why it is important to get the antioxidants into the cells.

A lot of research has recently been published on MitoQ’s ability to support athletic performance, output and recovery. What are your thoughts on these studies & how has this research influenced your decision to include MitoQ in your routine?

When I first came across MitoQ and saw how much research had been conducted on this never before seen cell technology I was incredibly impressed. And even more research has been carried out and published since then (now over 650 published studies). The evidence that MitoQ supports athletic performance and recovery is clear and significant, and with it being Informed Sport certified it was a no-brainer to try it for myself.

What are the top takeaways you want athletes to know about cell health/taking care of their mitochondria?

Triathlete Hannah Wells swimming

Mitochondria are responsible for supplying energy needed by our muscles to perform and our hearts to beat. As we expose ourselves to stresses as athletes (such as hard training, UV light, processed foods, and more) our mitochondrial function will decline through free radical damage, resulting in a reduction in performance and physical ability. As athletes, we want to do everything we can to support our mitochondrial health in order to perform our best.

MitoQ is a targeted antioxidant that will get into our cells and do exactly that. It is an easy and hugely beneficial step to take to support our athletic performance.

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