Dr. Judy remembers Dr. Svend Aage Mortensen

Judy Mortensen picture
Long-time friends and Coenzyme Q10 researchers Dr. William Judy (left) and Dr. Svend Aage Mortensen (right)

It was a very sad and unexpected loss in the field of bio-medical research when Dr. Svend Aage Mortensen died on April 22, 2015, of infection and complications following heart valve replacement surgery in Copenhagen.

Dr. William Judy and Dr. Svend Aage Mortensen were long-time friends and contemporaries in the field of Q10 research.  Both men knew and admired and worked with Dr. Karl Folkers.  Dr. Folkers had, already in the early 1970s, reported on research showing a positive correlation between a deficiency of Coenzyme Q10 and the incidence of heart disease.

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Coenzyme Q10: An Insider’s Guide by Dr. William V. Judy

Dr. William V. Judy, the founder and president of the SIBR Research Institute, was one of the first researchers to raise questions about misleading marketing claims for Coenzyme Q10 products. Now he has written a book to share his knowledge of the relevant clinical research into the absorption, bio-availability, efficacy, and safety of CoQ10 supplements.

Coenzyme Q10 is, literally, the substance that powers life.  It is an essential bio-nutrient required for the cellular process of ATP energy production.  It is also an important fat-soluble antioxidant.  Oral CoQ10 supplementation is positively associated with the reduction of blood bio-markers for oxidative stress and inflammation.

Now available from amazon.com is Dr. William Judy’s new book entitled Coenzyme Q10: An Insider’s Guide. 

A simple search for the words Judy and Q10 will find the book on Amazon.

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Coenzyme Q10 Question & Answer session with Dr. William Judy

Dr. William Judy, Founder and President of the SIBR Research Institute, is one of the leading Coenzyme Q10 experts in the United States and one of the oldest.  His 2007 paper on the absorption and transfer of Coenzyme Q10 is still the seminal paper on the subject.  His research efforts have focused on Coenzyme Q10 and heart failure, cancer, chronic fatigue syndrome, and Prader-Willi syndrome as well as studies of Coenzyme Q10 absorption and bioavailability.

Good morning, Dr. Judy.  Thank you for taking the time to answer some questions about Coenzyme Q10, the substance that your friend and colleague Dr. Karl Folkers liked to call “the essential bio-nutrient.”

Q. Why did Dr. Folkers call Coenzyme Q10 “the essential bio-nutrient,” Dr. Judy?  Let’s start there.

A. Yes, and you know, I think, that Dr. Emile Bliznakov called Coenzyme Q10 the “Miracle Nutrient” and Dr. Peter Mitchell, the Nobel Prize winner, called it the “Wonder Nutrient.”

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Dr. William Judy talks about Q10 and Congestive Heart Failure

Bill Judy Picture
Dr. William Judy has worked in basic and clinical research for over forty years, focusing primarily on Coenzyme Q10, Hyaluronic Acid, and other natural products that promote health maintenance and disease relief.

Recently I talked with Dr. William Judy, one of the pioneers in coenzyme Q10 research in the United States.  Dr. Judy did a Ph.D. in physiology and biophysics at West Virginia University, where he wrote his doctoral dissertation on the topic of Sympathetic Nervous Control of Renal Hemodynamics.

Early on in his career, Dr. Judy worked with Dr. Karl Folkers in the Institute for Biomedical Research at the University of Texas in Austin.  Dr. Folkers, who was and is widely regarded as the father of CoQ10 clinical and biomedical research, and Dr. Judy collaborated on studies of Q10 absorption and bioavailability, studies of Q10 as adjunctive treatment in congestive heart failure patients, and studies of Q10 in the treatment of cancer patients, prostate cancer patients in particular.

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Judy, William V., Ph.D.

Dr. Judy is the founder and president of the SIBR Research Institute, a former professor of physiology and bio-physics at the Indiana University College of Medicine, and a long-time Coenzyme Q10 researcher. His research has focused on the absorption and bioavailability of Coenzyme Q10 and on the efficacy of adjuvant Coenzyme Q10 treatment for heart failure patients, cancer patients, and low-energy syndrome patients.

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Undocumented Claims for Coenzyme Q10 Absorption and Efficacy in the US Market

Back cover of Dr. Judy's book An Insider's Guide to Coenzyme Q10
In his 2018 book, An Insider’s Guide to Coenzyme Q10, Dr. William Judy of SIBR Research summarizes the results of clinical studies using ubiquinone CoQ10 supplements. He also includes anecdotes about the use of CoQ10 supplements. The book is available from amazon.com.

Even if they are made from the same raw material, the CoQ10 products on the US retail market are very diverse in terms of their absorption and in terms of their health effects. 

We, as consumers, need to see documentation, preferably in peer-reviewed scientific journals, for the absorption and efficacy of the CoQ10 product we buy.

The form of the retail Coenzyme Q10 product can be different (either the ubiquinone form or the ubiquinol form), and the formulation can be different (different carrier oils and different heating and cooling processes).

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Coenzyme Q10 Synergists

Professor Urban Alehagen
Professor Urban Alehagen, the lead researcher on the KiSel-10 Study, has emphasized the clinical significance of daily supplementation with both Coenzyme Q10 and high-selenium yeast.  Both supplements have a protective antioxidant role in the prevention of heart disease.

In the previous article on this site, we discussed substances that can counteract or inhibit the bio-synthesis or absorption or efficacy of Coenzyme Q10.  Today we want to look at substances that might actually boost the bio-synthesis or absorption or efficacy of Coenzyme Q10.

Among the substances we want to consider are the following nutritional supplements:

  • carnitine
  • NADH
  • PQQ
  • riboflavin
  • selenium

High-Selenium Yeast Supplements and Coenzyme Q10

Professor Urban Alehagen writes that a deficiency of selenium may restrict the cells’ ability to get optimal concentrations of Coenzyme Q10.  Moreover, the cells are dependent upon adequate concentrations of Coenzyme Q10 to achieve optimal function of selenium in the body. There seems to be a special interrelationship between Coenzyme Q10 and selenium that can be exploited clinically [Alehagen & Aaseth].

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Coenzyme Q10 Antagonists and Inhibitors

Dr. Judy's book: An Insider's Guide to Coenzyme Q10.
Dr. William Judy, founder and president of SIBR Research, advises against taking a vitamin C supplement within an hour of taking a CoQ10 capsule. In his book, Insider’s Guide to Coenzyme Q10, Dr. Judy summarizes the CoQ10 clinical research results. The book is available from amazon.com.

Human adults’ bio-synthesis of the essential bio-nutrient Coenzyme Q10 declines with increasing age [Kalén].  That is unfortunate.

We humans need sufficient quantities of Coenzyme Q10 for various biological functions:

  • cellular production of ATP energy
  • antioxidant protection of the cells against oxidative damage
  • maintenance of endothelial function in blood vessels
  • anti-inflammatory effects

Coenzyme Q10 Supplementation and Beyond

We can take a daily Coenzyme Q10 supplement, of course, and we should.  However, we should be very careful.

Commercially available CoQ10 supplements vary considerably in their formulation and in their absorption and bio-availability.  A cheap 30-cents-per day CoQ10 supplement at the supermarket or drugstore is most likely a poorly absorbed and ineffective supplement.

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Beware of Unfounded Claims for Coenzyme Q10 Absorption

Dr. William V. Judy in a white-coat standing
In 2008 and again in 2013, SIBR Research did small but legitimate comparison studies of ubiquinone and ubiquinol absorption. SIBR Research’s results indicated that the single-dose absorption of the ubiquinol product appeared to be no better than the absorption of the ubiquinone Coenzyme Q10 in a lipid-based soft-gel capsule. Pictured here: Dr. William V. Judy, president of SIBR Research.

As consumers of Coenzyme Q10 supplements, we must be ultra-careful in evaluating the marketing claims for CoQ10 absorption and efficacy.  The nutritional supplements market is a largely unregulated one.  It is up to us to do due diligence before buying a CoQ10 product.

All of the CoQ10 products on the market are not equally good.  There is very considerable variability in the formulation and solubilization of Coenzyme Q10 with the result that there is also great variability in the absorption and bio-availability of Coenzyme Q10.  It is important to remember that the less expensive CoQ10 product is not a good buy if we do not absorb any or much of the active ingredient.

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Coenzyme Q10 Adjunctive Treatment for Heart Failure

Dr. William Judy
Dr. William Judy has been doing clinical research with CoQ10 treatment of heart failure patients for 40 years. The heart muscle tissue of heart failure patients is known to be deficient in Coenzyme Q10. Three times 100 milligrams of Coenzyme Q10 per day added to conventional heart failure medicine improves the patients’ quality of life and chances of survival as compared to placebo together with conventional treatment.

Heart failure is what happens when the heart is no longer able to pump out blood as strongly as it should.  It occurs when the heart is too weak or too stiff to fill up with blood and pump out blood efficiently. It is characterized by reduced functional capacity and reduced quality of life:

  • Reduced ability to exercise and do work
  • Shortness of breath
  • Swelling in the lower extremities
  • Weakness and fatigue from exertion

Heart failure is one of the most costly medical conditions in terms of complications and hospitalizations.  The costs of medical care for heart failure patients is expected to rise from $30 billion per year in 2018 to nearly $70 million by 2030 [Bhatt & Butler 2018].

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