Coenzyme Q10 and healthy ageing

Elderly couple on the beach
Given the importance of Coenzyme Q10 in the process of cellular energy production and in the process of neutralizing harmful free radicals, it is very important to take a daily Coenzyme Q10 supplement as we grow older.

Coenzyme Q10 is an essential bio-nutrient that is made naturally in the human body.  It is a necessary co-factor in the process of cellular energy production.  It also functions as a lipid-soluble antioxidant protecting our cells against oxidative damage (oxidative damage = damage caused by free radicals that harm cell membranes and cell DNA and proteins and fats in the blood).

Unfortunately, as we pass through our 20s and move into our 30s and 40s and head towards senior citizen status, our cells produce less of this essential substance with increasing age [Kalén]. We know this.

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Coenzyme Q10, older athletes, and statins

woman-exercising
The more intensely and strenuously we exercise, the more quickly we reach the anaerobic threshold. A 2012 study has shown that 200 milligrams of Coenzyme Q10 daily can significantly delay the time to the anaerobic threshold. The Coenzyme Q10 supplementation was also associated with significant improvement in muscle strength in the study.

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.

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The proper manufacture of Coenzyme Q10 supplements

Nurse picture
Health professionals know that it is the formulation of the Coenzyme Q10 nutritional supplement that is decisive in the absorption and the heart health effects. It is important to choose a daily Coenzyme Q10 supplement that has documented results in randomized controlled trials.

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:

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Coenzyme Q10 and pregnancy

male-infertility-picture
Pregnancy depends upon the sperm’s reaching the egg. Daily supplementation with Coenzyme Q10 capsules is associated with significantly improved sperm density, sperm movement, and normal sperm shape as well as with improved pregnancy rates.

What about infertility problems and Coenzyme Q10, I was asked the other day. Mightn’t the improvement of cellular energy production and the protection against oxidative stress that Coenzyme Q10 supplements give, mightn’t they also help sperm quality and sperm motility? What about Coenzyme Q10 help for the quality of female egg cells?

Coenzyme Q10 and male infertility
Nature Reviews: Urology
In 2011, Dr. Annette Fenner, chief editor at Nature Reviews: Urology, published a note to the effect that supplementation with Coenzyme Q10 improves semen quality parameters and that the improvement in the sperm has been seen to be associated with improved pregnancy rates and live birth rates [Fenner].

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Dr. Judy speaks about Coenzyme Q10

dr-judy-in-bologna-2015
Dr. William V. Judy delivering remarks about Coenzyme Q10 absorption at the International Coenzyme Q10 Association conference in Bologna, Italy, in October, 2015.

Dr. William V. Judy earned his doctorate degree in physiology and bio-physics in 1971.  He has worked as an aerospace scientist in NASA’s manned spacecraft center and has taught in the Indiana University School of Medicine as a Professor of Physiology.  Dr. Judy has worked in basic and clinical research for 56 years now; the major focus of his research has been on the absorption, efficacy, and safety of Coenzyme Q10.  He was an early colleague of Dr. Karl Folkers, with whom he carried out joint research studies for 21 years.
 
Absorption of Coenzyme Q10 from supplements
Dr. Judy makes the following points about the absorption of Coenzyme Q10:

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Coenzyme Q10: The best of q10facts.com

Karl Folkers
Dr. Karl Folkers, the researcher who established the chemical structure of the Coenzyme Q10 molecule and who developed the biochemical rationale for the use of Coenzyme Q10 as an adjuvant treatment of chronic heart disease, called Coenzyme Q10 the “essential bio-nutrient.”

In this article, I look back over the past 80 q10facts.com articles and pick out my favorites.  Together, these articles give a good picture of what I have tried to present on this website: documented results from scientific studies of the absorption, safety, and efficacy of Coenzyme Q10 supplements in the form of ubiquinone.  At the present time, there simply is not the same quality or quantity of research results related to the use of Coenzyme Q10 supplements in the ubiquinol form.

Coenzyme Q10’s therapeutic value
This article summarized the clinical research evidence for the use of Coenzyme Q10 as an adjunctive therapy for the following patients:

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Coenzyme Q10 and inflammation

Beautiful woman
Being healthy and in good physical condition means having low levels of inflammation in our bodies. A simple blood test of the levels of C-reactive protein in our blood shows the level of inflammation. The CRP levels predict the risk of heart disease and stroke. Daily supplementation with Coenzyme Q10 and the trace element selenium has been shown to reduce CRP and inflammation levels.

Data from gold standard studies – randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies – indicate that daily supplementation with Coenzyme Q10 significantly reduces the levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) in the body.  Our bodies produce CRP as a by-product of the inflammation process.  Consequently, increased levels of CRP in the blood indicate increased levels of inflammation.

Inflammation and increased risk of heart disease
Inflammation of our arteries is positively associated with an increased risk of heart disease and heart attack and stroke. Moreover, increased inflammation can be an indicator of other conditions such as infections and arthritis.

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Coenzyme Q10 and biological markers for heart failure

Beautiful girl
Good health depends upon the optimal functioning of the cells. Optimal functioning of the cells depends upon the availability of Coenzyme Q10 for energy production and for antioxidant protection. There is, moreover, a vital interrelationship between Coenzyme Q10 and selenium that promotes the optimal functioning of the cells.

People who have heart failure – people whose heart is no longer able to provide an adequate flow of blood to the rest of the body – produce two proteins that can be measured in the blood.  These proteins can be used as biological markers for the existence of heart failure and for the worsening of heart failure. The two proteins go by the names B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP) and N-terminal-pro-BNP (NT-pro-BNP). The levels of these proteins in plasma or serum tell the cardiologist whether your symptoms are caused by heart failure, and they tell the cardiologist whether your heart failure condition is worsening. The BNP blood test is the test that tells the cardiologist whether the patient’s fatigue and shortness of breath and limited physical exertion are caused by heart failure rather than by some other condition [3].

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Coenzyme Q10 and migraine headaches

Headache -- woman
Studies show that teens and young adults suffering from migraine headaches are likely to have abnormally low blood levels of Coenzyme Q10. Coenzyme Q10 is an essential bio-nutrient that is important in the production of cellular energy and in the antioxidant protection of the cells.

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 [1].

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.

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Coenzyme Q10 in its two forms: ubiquinone and ubiquinol

hospital-costs-
Gold standard clinical studies show that daily supplementation with Coenzyme Q10 in the form of ubiquinone can significantly reduce the duration of hospital stays and the number of admissions to hospital because of heart disease.

There is more and more good solid scientific evidence that Coenzyme Q10 supplements work against heart disease.  In recent years, we have the statistically significant results from the KiSel-10 study (enrolling 443 elderly Swedish citizens) [1] and from the Q-Symbio study (enrolling 420 heart failure patients) [4]. Before that, we had the positive results from the Morisco study (enrolling 641 heart failure patients) [3].  And we have had the results from three published meta-analyses that have indicated a positive effect of Coenzyme Q10 on heart function [2,5,6].

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