NQO1 gene? … NQO-1 enzymes? … I don’t remember reading or hearing about the NQO-1 gene in all of the years that I have been taking Coenzyme Q10 supplements. But, for Dr. William Judy, the NQO-1 gene seems to be one of the three or four Q10 questions that he has been most preoccupied with for several years.
NQO-1 gene important in the biochemistry of Coenzyme Q10
NQO-1 is used as shorthand for both the gene and the oxidoreductase enzymes that the gene codes for. The NADPH-Quinone Oxidoreductase-1 gene – to give it its full name – is the gene that codes in humans for the production of enzymes that reduce quinones to hydroquinones.
What is becoming more and more apparent about the absorption of Coenzyme Q10 nutritional supplements? I have been putting together the information that I have been reading and hearing. Here is what seems to be the case:
Raw material Coenzyme Q10: not the big difference maker
The Coenzyme Q10 raw material from the biggest producers of the dry powder crystalline substance seems to be comparable to a high degree. There seems to be equivalency of quality in the Coenzyme Q10 raw material. What counts is how the maker of Coenzyme Q10 supplements processes that raw material.
Dr. William Judy, the long-time Coenzyme Q10 researcher and founder and president of the SIBR Research Institute, makes the point that the absorption cells in the human small intestine cannot absorb Coenzyme Q10 crystals. The absorption cells can handle Coenzyme Q10 only as single molecules.
Coenzyme Q10 raw material in the form of dry powder crystals
The Coenzyme Q10 raw material that Coenzyme Q10 supplement manufacturers purchase comes in the form of dry powder crystals. These crystals are formed in the multiple drying stages of the purification of Coenzyme Q10.
For as long as I have been writing this blog, I have been wondering why cardiologists are not prescribing Coenzyme Q10 for certain classes of heart disease patients. Two classes of patients come to mind immediately: chronic heart failure patients and patients taking statin medications. Let’s look at the evidence for heart failure patients. (We can talk about patients on statin medications next week.)
Coenzyme Q10 and chronic heart failure
Chronic heart failure. Heart failure. It sounds scary. It is scary. The words “heart failure” do not mean that the heart has stopped working. What heart failure means is some combination of the following conditions:
We know that Coenzyme Q10 is an essential co-factor in at least three important processes in the body: cellular energy production, cellular and lipid antioxidant defense, and regulation of endothelial cell function. We know that our adult bodies produce less Coenzyme Q10 with increasing age, and we know that most of us cannot make up the difference through the food that we eat . From the age of 40 on, we need a good Coenzyme Q10 supplement daily. I asked Dr. William Judy what is involved in getting a good Coenzyme Q10 supplement.
On the sciencedaily.com website, there is a report of a conference paper presented by Dr. Suzanne Hagler of the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Headache Society in San Diego. Dr. Hagler reported that teens and young adults with migraine headaches are often found to have mild deficiencies of Coenzyme Q10, vitamin D, and the B vitamin riboflavin .
Mild Coenzyme Q10 deficiencies in young people
Interesting, I thought. Coenzyme Q10 is produced in all of the body’s cells except the red blood cells. The body’s production of Coenzyme Q10 rises until a person reaches his or her 20s, and, from then on, the bio-synthesis of Coenzyme Q10 declines steadily. By age 65, senior citizens may be producing only half as much Coenzyme Q10 as they did when there were 25 years of age. Hence the need for a good Coenzyme Q10 supplement.
Last month, Dr. Joel Kahn published an interesting article on the Huffpost Healthy Living website. The title of his blog article was “Heart Failure: New Hope with Supplement Therapies.” The emphasis was on supplementation with Coenzyme Q10. Dr. Kahn focused attention on the research results from the Q-Symbio study of the effect of Coenzyme Q10 supplementation on chronic heart failure patients.
Who is Dr. Joel Kahn?
For those of you who do not know who Dr. Joel Kahn is, let me take you briefly through his résumé:
My friends and colleagues ask me sometimes: is the Coq10 product that was used in the Q-Symbio study the best Coenzyme Q10 product? And they are surprised when I don’t say, immediately, yes, yes, of course. I am cautious. I don’t want to claim to know something that I cannot know with certainty. Could there be a better Q10 product on the market? Possibly. I don’t know for sure. It’s best never to say never, right? But …
Q10 produced according to medicine standards
What I have found out is that the profile of the Q-Symbio Study CoQ10 treatment is unique. The Danish producer, Pharma Nord, seems to be one of the few food supplement suppliers in the US that is producing a Q10 product according to medicine standards rather than food supplement standards.
Professor Franklin Rosenfeldt, MD and Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons (Edinburgh), is an adjunct professor and cardiac surgeon in the Department of Surgery, Monash University, a university based in Melbourne, Australia. Dr. Rosenfeldt is also the administrative supervisor of The Integrative Cardiac Wellness Program at The Alfred, a tertiary teaching hospital in Prahran, (a suburb of Melbourne), Victoria, Australia.
Q10 research at The Alfred
The Alfred’s services include heart and lung replacement and transplantation as well as many other specialized services. For 30 years, Dr. Rosenfeldt has been conducting cardiac surgery research at The Alfred. His special research interest has been the protection of the heart against damage during heart surgery. In this context, he has done much research on the role of Coenzyme Q10 and fish oil in the management of heart disease.
How do we get optimal amounts of Coenzyme Q10 to produce the energy that we need? That is the question that I asked of Dr. Judy. I wanted Dr. Judy to tell me what conclusions he has arrived at based on his own CoQ10 research studies and on his reading of other CoQ10 research studies. In what follows, I have summarized many of the important points that Dr. Judy makes.
Subject: the body’s own synthesis of CoQ10
The liver, because of its rather large mass, produces relatively more Coenzyme Q10 than other organs do. In fact, Dr. Karl Folkers thought that the endogenously produced CoQ10 in the blood comes primarily from the liver. But, Dr. Judy tells me, other organs – the heart, the kidneys, the brain – certainly do also produce Coenzyme Q10. And, actually, some Coenzyme Q10 is being synthesized in practically all of the cells in the body that have healthy mitochondria. After all, every cell in the body needs energy to carry out its functions, and the energy production process requires the presence of ubiquinone Q10.