Strategy for a Pregnancy - The Power of the Mitochondria (Updated October 2011)

Human Egg

I Want a Strong and Healthy Baby. What should I do?

Everyone knows what a pregnant woman should reject -- drugs, tobacco, alcohol -- Here we tell you to reject the above well before becoming pregnant and we also explain what you should do before and during pregnancy.

By doing so, you will improve the growth of your baby.

Yes, you can have that strong and healthy baby you want.

Nobody should expect a rich harvest from a poor soil. As a pregnant woman, you are the soil of your baby. Prepare your soil before planting.

It is very simple: Improve your diet and supplement it with vitamins, minerals and essential nutrients. Do this well before becoming pregnant.

Thereunder please see the scientific evidence behind these recommendations.

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The Chromosomes

Chromosomes (L) carry the genes (L) and come in pairs. Each pair of chromosomes in the nucleus of the fecundated egg comes from the junction of one of the chromosomes from a maternal pair of chromosomes and one chromosome from the corresponding paternal pair of chromosomes. Since chromosomes carry the genes, one may say that the genes of a fetus are derived in equal parts from his mother and from his father.

This, however, applies only to a female fetus. A male fetus receives more chromosomial genes from his mother than from his father. Indeed, a female fetus has two X chromosomes, one from his mother and one from his father. A male fetus has only one X chromosome inherited from his mother and a much smaller Y from his father.

Nevertheless, it still is an oversimplification to believe that a female fetus receives her genes in equal parts from the two parents and that a male fetus receives his genes in almost equal parts from the two parents.

This is true for the chromosomal genes only. The genes from the chromosomes in the nucleus of the parental cells. Beside the genes in their nucleus, cells also contain genes in their mitochondria.

The genes in the mitochondria of a baby -- and the mitochondria themselves --
come from the mother only.

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The Mitochondria

Mitochondria are small membranous bodies occurring in variable number in each of our cells.

Scientists have known since 1963 that all cells' mitochondria in animals and humans harbor their own genes. The lesser known mitochondrial genes are located in multiple DNA (L) circles in each mitochondrion. The DNA circles in a mitochondrion contain the genes for 37 of the molecules and enzymes the mitochondria use to capture, store and distribute energy.

The capture, storage, and distribution of energy are the main tasks of the mitochondria, (and to a lesser degree of other smaller cell bodies). Beside this task the mitochondria are also involved in the synthesis of molecules and cell components. Mitochondria have a complex internal structure of folded membranes and harbor a great number of enzymes (L).

The mitochondria of the baby and all the related cell bodies come exclusively from the mitochondria and cell bodies of the egg, and hence, exclusively from the mother.

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The Human Egg

A human egg is a giant cell as compared to the spermatozoa. A human egg contains hundred of thousands of mitochondria and other cell bodies. In contrast, the spermatozoon contains only a few mitochondria and none of those mitochondria penetrates the egg. Only the head of the spermatozoon penetrates the egg. The head of the spermatozoon contains the chromosomial genes that the baby inherits from his father.
Miitochondria and their genetic material comes from the mother only.

Since all the mitochondria and the other cell bodies of a baby come from the maternal egg, it makes sense to make a baby out of the most perfect egg.

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Planning your pregnancy well in advance allows the mitochondria and the other cell bodies of that egg that will become your baby to be loaded with all the products they need to perform their multiple and very important functions.

Enzymes rely on vitamins and minerals. Therefore the mitochondria and the other related cell bodies need minerals and vitamins (L) -- particularly the vitamins of group B.

Before becoming pregnant you should consult your health professional to verify the integrity of your health. You should also review your life style to remove all health hazards and exposures that can damage the baby.

You should particularly verify the quality of your diet. Since we are what we eat, you have to supplement your diet with vitamins, essential amino-acids, essential fatty acids, and -- since our food is deprived of minerals -- with a variety of minerals in a well absorbeable form.

Supplementing your diet before and during pregnancy would also reduce the risk of prematurity and intra-uterine growth retardation. I have published about this more than 25 years ago (Devroey. LBT, Prematurity and Intra-Uterine Growth Retardation. 8th Congress of Perinatalogy, Aachen, Germany, 1984)

A daily serving of food or of a supplement containing long chain essential omega-3 fatty acids (EFAs) is recommended to facilitate the birth process. Cold water fish, like sardine, salmon, and mackerel are a good source of the EFAs to produce the specific prostaglandin hormones a woman needs at the end of the pregnancy.

During the 9 months of the pregnancy, the hormone progesterone - well named the pregnancy hormone (from the latin :pro [for, in favor of] and gestare [to carry]) - is responsible for maintaining the cervix of the uterus closed while allowing the uterus itself to expand. At the end of the pregnancy a surge of prostaglandins reduces the influence of progesterone. As a result, the cervix opens and uterus contractions expel the baby. A shortage of prostaglandins is the main cause of a difficult labor.

A good supply of long chain omega-3 EFAs is important not only because our biochemistry needs them to make prostaglandins. Some of the EFAs and their derivatives are also crucial for brain development in the fetus and in the newborn.

Read in Newsletter13 the captivating information about Fats, Fatty Acids, Essential Fatty Acids (EFA) and the consequences of the scarcity of some EFAs in our Western diet.

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The Daily Intake the Longevity Institute Recommends:

In preparation of your pregnancy, we recommend to start supplementing your diet daily with
Vit A : 900 micrograms measured in Retinol Equivalent (RE), Vit B1 (Aneurin): 25 mg, Vit B2 (Riboflavin): 25 mg, Vit B3 (Niacin) 25 mg, Vit B6 (Pyridoxin):30 mg, Vit B12 (Cobalamin): 500 mcg, Vit C (Ascorbic acid): 900 mg, Vit D (Calciferol): 2,000 IU, Vit E (A-Tocopherol): 240 IU, Vit K (Naphthoquinone): 120 mcg, Folic acid: 1.200 mcg, Biotin: 120 mcg, Choline: 360 mg, Inositol: 45 mg, Pantothenic acid: 30 mg, Calcium 600 mg, Chromium: 120 mcg, Copper: 3 mg, Iodine: 150 mcg, Iron: 8 mg, Magnesium: 200 mg., Manganese: 3 mg., Molybdenum: 300 mcg., Potassium: 300 mg., Selenium: 200 mcg, Vanadium: 300 mcg, Zinc: 25 mg, Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) Alpha Linolenic acid (ALA): 400 mg, Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA):300 mg, and Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA): 900 mg

You should eat more raw food and avoid food containing omega-6 EFAs, food fried at high temperature and processed food (because of its usual huge additive and preservative content).


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When a cell divides, the genetic material present in the nucleus becomes segregated into thread-shaped bodies which are visible under the microscope: the chromosomes. [ Back to text ]


DNA stands for Desoxyribonucleic acid, a complex molecule formed from similar parts termed nucleotides. A nucleotide contains the sugar desoxyribose and one of the four bases: adenine, guanine, cytosine, and thymine. The nucleotides are arranged in long chains.

The genetic information of the cell is stored in the DNA molecule in the form of a three base code which has been deciphered by molecular biologists. (See genes).

DNA is capable of self-replication. [ Back to text ]


An enzyme is a protein acting as a catalist. There are many different kinds of enzymes which increase the reactivity of certain substances. Enzymes are essential for the biochemistry of our cells to occur at body temperature. Most of the biochemistry would occur at an imperceptibly slow rate in the absence of enzymes to activate it. Many enzymes need a specific mineral to work. [ Back to text ]


Genes are the connected strands of DNA forming the chromosomes. A gene is a chain of base triplets. (see DNA).[ Back to text ]


Vitamins are organic substances which an organism requires to ingest from its environment because the organism can not synthesize them. [ Back to text ]

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