Older active adults who are taking a statin medication? Shouldn’t they go right to the top of the list of people who need a good Coenzyme Q10 supplement?
That is the question that Dr. Richard Deichmann and his colleagues in the Department of Internal Medicine at the Ochsner Clinical School in New Orleans asked themselves. They tested whether daily supplementation with 200 milligrams of Coenzyme Q10 daily for six weeks would improve measures of cellular energy production, muscle function, and well-being in older active adults taking statin medications.
Coenzyme Q10 supplementation as a therapeutic option for chronic disease management and for recovery from surgery? Yes. I have just seen interesting reports from two Taiwanese research studies of Coenzyme Q10 supplementation of liver cancer patients.
The study participants were patients with hepatocellular carcinomas: patients whose liver cancer had started in the liver, not migrated to the liver from some other site in the body. Hepatocellular carcinomas are one of the leading causes of cancer death world-wide [Liu 2016].
Chronic fatigue syndrome is a complicated illness. As its name states, it is a chronic condition, and it is characterized by a debilitating fatigue. The fatigue may be exacerbated by physical or mental exertion. Strangely enough, the fatigue is not alleviated by rest or relaxation [Mayo Clinic].
The cause of chronic fatigue syndrome is still unknown. The major symptom, the chronic fatigue, is also seen in such related conditions as myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) and systemic exertion intolerance disease (SEID) [Mayo Clinic].
Coenzyme Q10 supplements are clearly one of the products in today’s America that come in many different formulations. And, with respect to Coenzyme Q10’s absorption and effectiveness, the important difference is the difference in the formulation. Dr. William Judy, the director of the SIBR Research Institute, has tested Coenzyme Q10 supplements with absorption rates ranging from below 1% to as high as 8% of a 100-milligram capsule.
Coenzyme Q10 absorption necessary for heart health benefits
That is as good as saying that some Coenzyme Q10 supplements give no absorption of consequence at all. At the other end of the spectrum, we know that some formulations give an absorption that is associated with statistically significant health benefits. I am referring, of course, to the results that we have seen in these randomized controlled trials:
A 2016 systematic review and meta-analysis of the evidence from randomized controlled trials has shown that daily supplementation with Coenzyme Q10 slightly but significantly reduced fasting blood sugar levels. Another good thing: Coenzyme Q10 supplementation did not significantly affect fasting insulin levels or Hb1Ac levels.
In other words, pre-diabetics and diabetics can safely take Coenzyme Q10 supplements to gain these known heart health benefits:
Improvement of the ATP energy production in the heart muscle cells [Mortensen]
Protection of the heart muscle cells against oxidative damage [Alehagen]
Improvement of endothelial function in the heart and blood vessels [Littarru]
Reduction of high blood pressure [Rosenfeldt]
Good Coenzyme Q10 news for pre-diabetics and diabetics
Yes, pre-diabetics and diabetics will want to talk with their physicians about the meta-analysis conducted by Dr. Moradi and his colleagues. Pre-diabetics and diabetics can benefit from taking daily Coenzyme Q10 supplements in the same way that participants receiving the active Coenzyme Q10 treatment in the following studies have benefited as compared to participants in the placebo control groups:
Recently, I read a published review of the research literature about the nutritional and therapeutic supplement Coenzyme Q10. It was very interesting to see what the research has revealed and to see what the authors of the review chose to emphasize [Potgieter].
Coenzyme Q10 supplements confer the following known health benefits:
improve the symptoms and survival of heart failure patients
provide antioxidant protection to patients taking statin medications
help to lower high blood pressure
maintain good heart function in middle-aged and elderly people
provide heart health benefits to people with diabetes
Normal unsupplemented levels of plasma Coenzyme Q10
First off, there is wide variation in the plasma Coenzyme Q10 concentrations of individuals who are not taking Coenzyme Q10 supplements. There are many factors that influence any one individual’s Coenzyme Q10 status:
Spanish researchers at the Pablo de Olavide University in Sevilla hypothesized that the effect of physical activity on plasma Coenzyme Q10 levels and on plasma Coenzyme Q10/cholesterol ratios might vary according to the age of the individuals engaging in the physical activity. Their results show, for the first time, an apparently different effect of exercise on young people and on older people.
Lower levels of plasma Coenzyme Q10 and lower Coenzyme Q10/cholesterol ratios were associated with high levels of physical activity in the young people more so than in older people who were also exercising. That result was surprising.
Moreover, lower levels of plasma Coenzyme Q10 and lower Coenzyme Q10/cholesterol ratios were associated with high levels of physical activity in the younger people more so than with moderate levels of physical activity in younger people. That result was not surprising.
What was most surprising was the data that showed that older people who exercised more often and more intensely had higher levels of Coenzyme Q10 in plasma and higher ratios of Coenzyme Q10 to cholesterol in plasma than did older adults who exercised moderately or who were mostly sedentary. In this respect, the effect of exercise on the older people differed from the effect of exercise on the younger participants [Del Pozo-Cruz 2014].
Coenzyme Q10 and physical activity in young people
In the Spanish study, the young participants had an average age of 20 years plus or minus 2 years. Two possible explanations come to mind for the lower plasma Coenzyme Q10 levels in highly active younger people:
There are two issues concerning the use of statin medications that relate to Coenzyme Q10.
The more serious issue is that several animal and human studies have shown that the administration of statin medications leads to a reduction in the plasma and muscle tissue levels of Coenzyme Q10. There is no doubt that depletion of Coenzyme Q10 is an unintended consequence of taking statin medications. Some human trials have shown the extent of the reduction to be 40 % or greater. Furthermore, ageing seems to play a role in the diminution of Coenzyme Q10 levels caused by the administration of statin medications [Deichmann]. Decreased plasma and heart muscle tissue levels of Coenzyme Q10 are associated with the increasing severity of heart failure [Folkers, Mortensen].
In line with other technologies, the production technology for Coenzyme Q10 nutritional supplements has advanced over the years. For the past 35 years, Dr. William Judy of the SIBR Research Institute has followed the development of the Coenzyme Q10 nutritional supplements produced in the USA and around the world.
Dr. Judy has seen considerable improvement in the formulations of the Coenzyme Q10 nutritional supplements and in their effectiveness as an adjuvant treatment of chronic heart failure and other clinical conditions. He has seen increasing awareness of the need for Coenzyme Q10 supplements in patients taking statin medications. He has seen increasing awareness of the health benefits for healthy middle-aged and elderly people.
How does Coenzyme Q10 supplementation keep the heart young and healthy? The primary explanation is that Coenzyme Q10 is absolutely vital to the cellular process of producing energy, and the heart muscle needs energy constantly. An energy-starved heart is a failing heart.
A second and also important explanation is that oxidative damage causes the heart muscle cells to age and deteriorate. Coenzyme Q10 has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects that can help to prevent the development of atherosclerosis.