Coenzyme Q10’s Anti-Inflammatory Effects

Professor Urban Alehagen
A well-designed randomized controlled clinical trial, the KiSel-10 study, has shown that a combined daily supplementation of senior citizens with Coenzyme Q10 and high-selenium yeast can reduce cardiovascular mortality by over 50%. Professor Urban Alehagen thinks that a special interrelationship between the two supplements has resulted in less oxidative stress, less low-grade chronic inflammation, and less fibrosis in the senior citizens taking the active treatment as opposed to the placebo treatment.

Two independent meta-analyses of the available research literature have shown that Coenzyme Q10 supplementation is associated with healthy levels of bio-markers for chronic systemic inflammation [Zhai 2017; Fan 2017].

  • Chronic inflammation – a persistent low-grade inflammation – can have deleterious effects throughout the body. Over time, it can result in tissue damage.
  • Chronic inflammation is something different from acute inflammation, which is the immune system’s short-term response to an injury or an infection.
  • Chronic low-grade inflammation has been linked to increased risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and metabolic disorders [Zhai 2017].
  • The extent of chronic low-grade inflammation can be measured by testing for the blood levels of known bio-markers for inflammation [Zhai 2017].

Coenzyme Q10 Effect on Tumor Necrosis Factor-Alpha

Zhai et al analyzed nine randomized controlled trials enrolling 428 study participants.  The results of their analysis showed that CoQ10 supplementation significantly improved the serum concentration of Coenzyme Q10 by 1.17 micrograms per milliliter on average compared to placebo treatment [Zhai].

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Coenzyme Q10 and Systemic Inflammation

Professor Urban Alehagen, Linköping University, has reported that daily supplementation with Coenzyme Q10 and high selenium yeast significantly reduces the blood concentrations of known bio-markers for systemic inflammation. This anti-inflammatory effect may be one of the mechanisms by which Coenzyme Q10 supplementation protects the cardiovascular system.

Coenzyme Q10 supplementation with 100 – 300 milligrams daily promotes good heart health [Alehagen, Mortensen].  Supplementation is important because most of the body’s supply of Coenzyme Q10 comes from endogenous bio-synthesis, not from the diet, and, as we get older, our bodies produce less Coenzyme Q10 [Kalén].

The primary functions of Coenzyme Q10 are bio-energetic and antioxidant.  Coenzyme Q10 is an essential co-factor in the cellular production of ATP energy.  It is also an important fat-soluble antioxidant protecting the cells against oxidative damage caused by harmful free radicals [Littarru].

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Coenzyme Q10 and systemic inflammation: a review

A 2017 meta-analysis of aggregated data from 17 clinical studies shows that Coenzyme Q10 supplementation is associated with reduced levels of bio-markers for systemic inflammation Attribution: Austin, V., Crack, P. J., Bozinovski, S., Miller, A. A., & Vlahos, R. (2016). COPD and stroke: are systemic inflammation and oxidative stress the missing links?  Clinical Science (London, England: 1979), 130(13), 1039-1050.

Coenzyme Q10 supplementation has a significant lowering-effect on bio-markers of low-grade systemic inflammation. This is the conclusion of a 2017 meta-analysis of 17 randomized controlled studies enrolling 811 study participants [Fan].

Inflammation is an immune system response to harmful stimuli. However, whenever the inflammation persists and becomes a chronic condition, and whenever the circulating levels of cytokines (= substances secreted by immune system cells) are elevated by a factor of two or more, then the inflammation itself can be harmful to the body in the long term.

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Coenzyme Q10 and chronic low-grade inflammation

Researcher
Long-term adjunctive treatment of chronic heart failure patients with Coenzyme Q10 supplements is safe and has improved the patients’ symptoms and has reduced the patients’ risk of major adverse cardiovascular events.  Now, researchers have begun to investigate whether adjunctive treatment with Coenzyme Q10 reduces chronic low-grade inflammation.

Chronic, low-grade, systemic inflammation is common in many diseases: cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, obesity, type-2 diabetes [Zhai 2017].  Anti-inflammatory drugs give modest improvement at best and are associated with long-term adverse effects [Esser 2015].  Some researchers have begun to investigate whether Coenzyme Q10 as an adjunctive treatment has anti-inflammatory health benefits.

The results of the KiSel-10 study have shown that daily supplementation with 200 milligrams of Coenzyme Q10 and 200 micrograms of SelenoPrecise® selenium significantly reduced the levels of sP-selectin and hs-CRP, both markers for inflammation, as compared to placebo supplementation.

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