Anti-ageing Benefits of CoQ10


Aging is best described as something that occurs as a consequence of cellular processes that cause gradual loss of organ function over the passage of time. This process also increases the risk of many age-associated diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, cataracts, dementia, and neurological disorders.

Aging is inevitable. However, various factors can significantly accelerate the process of aging at the cellular level, including decline in cellular energy, mitochondrial dysfunction, and excessive oxidative stress caused by free radicals.

In this blog, we discuss how Coenzyme Q10 - also known as CoQ10 - fights these risk factors and exerts its anti-aging effects on cells. We will answer questions such as what are the benefits of CoQ10? What does coq10 do for the body? Who should take CoQ10?

What is CoQ10?


CoQ10 is a fat-soluble, vitamin-like substance that is produced naturally by the body. Found in every cell and tissue, the anti-ageing effects of CoQ10 are due to a couple of very important roles that it plays:

  • CoQ10 plays a critical role in the energy production process that takes place in the mitochondria
  • CoQ10 works as an antioxidant that protects cell membranes and lipids from oxidative stress caused by free radicals

It’s an unfortunate reality of age that your body makes less CoQ10 as you get older. As a result, your body isn’t able to meet the energy requirements of the cells. What’s more, the body’s natural ability to deal with oxidative stress takes a major hit, leading to all kinds of health issues down the road. Specifically, low levels of CoQ10 have been associated with an increased risk of age-associated chronic conditions, including neurodegenerative disorders, diabetes, cancer, fibromyalgia, muscular and most notably, cardiovascular diseases. [1]

Role of CoQ10 in healthy ageing: what are the health benefits of CoQ10?


Coenzyme Q10 needed for cellular energy production

Every cell in the body requires a constant supply of energy to function properly in terms of growth, reproduction, repair, waste removal, and overall maintenance. Most of the energy your cells require is made in the mitochondria, tiny double-membrane organelles present in every cell of the body. This explains why mitochondria are called the “powerhouses” or “energy factories” of the cells.

Mitochondria burn nutrients (fats, proteins and carbohydrates) in the presence of oxygen to make ATP, the fundamental unit of energy that the cells require to carry out their functions. This process comprises a complex series of biochemical reactions, where CoQ10 plays quite a crucial role. More specifically, CoQ10 is an indispensable component in the mitochondrial electron transport chain (ETC), where it is instrumental in transporting electrons from one enzyme complex to another within the inner membrane of the mitochondria. The energy generated during this handover of electrons is eventually utilized to make ATP molecules.

Many other nutrients are involved in creating energy for the cells, such as magnesium, B vitamins, vitamin K, and L-carnitine, however no other substance can substitute for CoQ10’s unique role in the electron transport chain. In a nutshell, your body cannot efficiently produce energy if it is deficient in CoQ10. Inefficient production of energy is detrimental to cellular as well as mitochondrial health. 

CoQ10 improves mitochondrial functions

Healthy levels of CoQ10 equate to healthy mitochondrial functions and enhanced energy production for cellular requirements. Most of the diseases including age-related chronic conditions involve mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative stress.

Low energy deteriorates cellular and mitochondrial functions, leading to suboptimal performance of organs. Mitochondria are most abundant in organs that need the most energy resources to function properly, such as the brain, liver, kidneys and muscles, and most significantly the heart. The same tissues and organs also contain the highest concentration of CoQ10. That is why the adverse effects of low CoQ10 are most noticeable in the functioning of these organs in the form of poor heart health, weakened muscles and reduced brain functions.

While CoQ10 is very effective in maintaining mitochondrial fitness and improving energy turnover, its role in combating oxidative stress in cellular and mitochondrial membranes is no less extraordinary.


Liposomal CoQ10


CoQ10 in oxidative stress

The process of energy production in the mitochondria also leads to the formation of free radicals, highly unstable molecules with unpaired electrons. Free radicals are also produced by a variety of external factors – including unhealthy diet, chronic infections, acute stress, antibiotics, drugs, smoking, excessive consumption of alcohol, and exposure to environmental toxins (pesticides, chemicals and heavy metals).

These free radicals attack cellular structures, such as proteins, lipids, cellular DNA and mitochondrial DNA, in their attempt to gain electrons and become stable. This results in oxidative stress, leading to premature cellular ageing and impaired functioning of cells, tissues and organs. If not checked in time, oxidative stress causes chronic inflammation and early development of age-related diseases. This is where CoQ10 anti-aging benefits come into play.

Mitochondria are especially vulnerable to oxidative stress. In addition, impaired and inefficient energy production due to low CoQ10 levels lead to an increased formation of free radicals, burdening the fragile mitochondria with even more oxidative damage.

Coq10 is a powerful fat-soluble antioxidant and protects lipids, cell membranes, intracellular proteins, DNA and mitochondria from oxidative damage. In the absence of sufficient CoQ10, your body has less resources to fight free radicals and oxidative stress, which leads to mitochondrial dysfunction and reduced energy production. 

Low CoQ10 levels have another consequence on your body’s antioxidant capacity. CoQ10, along with selenium, plays a very important role in the regeneration of vitamin E – another powerful fat-soluble antioxidant that protects cell membranes from oxidation by free radicals. In this way, CoQ10 deficiency also causes vitamin E levels to decline. This makes your cells and mitochondria even more vulnerable to free radicals and associated damage.

Oxidative stress and chronic inflammation are associated with all kinds of age-related diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Studies show that Coq10 supplementation can reduce pro-inflammatory chemicals and inflammatory markers in the elderly with low levels of coenzyme. [2].

Ageing is also associated with the loss of skeletal muscle mass and function. Two independent cohort studies found a direct link between CoQ10 levels in the body and muscle strength. [3]

A 2018 review of current knowledge on CoQ10 and clinical trials based on CoQ10 supplementation concluded that, “It seems clear that supplementation with CoQ10 improves mitochondrial function and confers antioxidant protection for organs and tissues affected by various pathophysiological conditions. The ability of CoQ10 to protect against the release of proinflammatory markers provides an attractive anti-inflammatory therapeutic for the treatment of some human diseases and in aging” [4]
Now, if someone asks you “what does coq10 do for you?” you can give them the full low-down.

What Causes Low Levels of CoQ10 in Our Body?


Your body makes its own CoQ10 but, unfortunately, production declines with age. CoQ10 levels begin to decline when you reach your 20’s and it is highly likely you are CoQ10 deficient by your late 40’s, especially if your diet is lacking in foods such as organ meat (heart, liver and kidney) and fish (sardines, rainbow trout and mackerel).
Peanuts, broccoli, oranges and cauliflower are also a rich source of dietary CoQ10. The reality is that the average intake of CoQ10 through diet is not nearly enough to maintain the levels your body needs to function at its best.

Other factors that deplete CoQ10 in the body are:

  • Deficiency in B vitamins and trace minerals
  • Chronic inflammation, infections, and disease
  • Exposure to environmental toxins
  • High stress levels 
  • A diet low in Omega 3 fatty acids
  • Smoking
  • Long-term and excessive use of certain medications such as beta-blockers, antidepressants, antibiotics, and statins

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CoQ10 and statins


Statins are usually prescribed to people with high cholesterol, an issue that is considered a major risk factor for atherosclerosis, heart attack and stroke. While there is a lot of controversy surrounding the role of cholesterol in the development of heart disease, it is certain that these cholesterol-lowering drugs also block the endogenous production of CoQ10.

Statins work by inhibiting the enzyme HMG-CoA reductase, which helps make cholesterol in the liver through a series of complex biochemical reactions. This pathway is called the mevalonate pathway. But this enzyme is also responsible for other reactions that occur along the same pathway, leading to the production of many other important molecules, such as CoQ10, vitamin D, stress hormones, sex hormones, bile acids, heme group of the ‘hemoglobin’ and lesser-known dolichols (a class of compounds that make cell membranes healthy and are responsible for immune health, brain health, cellular communication and correcting errors in mitochondrial DNA).
Needless to say, statins also end up lowering the production of these useful molecules. Since CoQ10 is required for healthy muscles and heart functions, its shortage in the body can lead to fatigue, muscle pain and weakness. 

A 2013 study published in JAMA Internal Medicine found that muscle pain and muscle weakness in statin users could be due to the “inhibitory effect on coenzyme Q10 synthesis, selenoprotein synthesis and the mitochondrial respiratory chain.” It further expounded that “several reports have recognized an increased incidence of tendinopathies in relationship to statin use. Hence, it is conceivable that these effects may result in increased incidence of soft-tissue–related injuries, such as dislocation, sprain, and strain.” [5]

Another study found that “coenzyme Q10 supplementation (50 mg twice daily) effectively reduced statin-related mild-to-moderate muscular symptoms.” [6].

CoQ10 is probably the most important player when it comes to heart health. Your heart muscle has the highest concentration of CoQ10. Low CoQ10 levels mean less energy for the heart muscle and less antioxidant support to prevent the oxidation of low density lipoproteins (LDL), believed to be the underlying cause of atherosclerosis or plaque formation in the arteries.

There are well-documented studies that suggest a positive role of CoQ10 supplementation in:

  1. Improving the symptoms of chronic heart failure and lowering the risk of hospitalization and death from heart disease. [7]
  2. Improving endothelial functions by reducing oxidative stress and improving mitochondrial functions [8] [9]
  3. Reducing muscle damage during a heart attack
  4. Improving the risk and symptoms of angina

CoQ10 health benefits are also linked with other health conditions, with strong roots in mitochondrial dysfunction and increased oxidative stress:

  • Pre-diabetes and Type 2 diabetes [10] [11] [12]
  • Male and female infertility [13] [14]
  • Migraines [15] [16]
  • Periodontal (gum) disease [17]
  • Fibromyalgia

CoQ10 deficiency leads to less availability of energy for the cells, poor mitochondrial function and oxidative stress – leading to accelerated aging and early onset of age-related disease. Fortunately, you can maintain healthy levels and prevent decline in cellular health with the help of a high-quality liposomal CoQ10 supplement, that can significantly improve its availability and absorption. With the many health benefits of CoQ10, it’s wise to invest in a liposomal supplementation plan.

References:

1.    Garrido-Maraver J et al. Clinical applications of coenzyme Q10. Front Biosci (Landmark Ed). 2014
2.    Fan et al. Effects of coenzyme Q10 supplementation on inflammatory markers: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Pharmacol Res. 2017 May; 119():128-136.
3.    Fischer et al. Coenzyme Q10 Status as a Determinant of Muscular Strength in Two Independent Cohorts. PLoS One. 2016.
4.    JD Hernández-Camacho et al. Coenzyme Q10 Supplementation in Aging and Disease. Front Physiol. 2018
5.    Mansi et al. Statins and Musculoskeletal Conditions, Arthropathies, and Injuries. JAMA Internal Medicine. 2013
6.    Skarlovnik et al. Coenzyme Q10 Supplementation Decreases Statin-Related Mild-to-Moderate Muscle Symptoms: A Randomized Clinical Study. Medical Science Monitor. 2014
7.    Mortensen SA et al. The effect of coenzyme Q10 on morbidity and mortality in chronic heart failure: results from Q-SYMBIO: a randomized double-blind trial. JACC Heart Fail. 2014
8.    Hamilton et al. Coenzyme Q10 improves endothelial dysfunction in statin-treated type 2 diabetic patients. Diabetes Care. 2009
9.    Dai et al. Reversal of mitochondrial dysfunction by coenzyme Q10 supplement improves endothelial function in patients with ischaemic left ventricular systolic dysfunction: a randomized controlled trial. Atherosclerosis. 2011
10.    Fazakerley at al. Mitochondrial CoQ deficiency is a common driver of mitochondrial oxidants and insulin resistance. eLife. 2018.
11.    Mohammadi et al. The effect of coenzyme Q10 supplementation on metabolic status of type 2 diabetic patients. Gastroenterol Dietol. 2013
12.    Raygan et al. The effects of coenzyme Q10 administration on glucose homeostasis parameters, lipid profiles, biomarkers of inflammation and oxidative stress in patients with metabolic syndrome. European Journal of  Nutrition. 2015
13.    Lafuente et al.  Coenzyme Q10 and male infertility: a meta-analysis. Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics 2013
14.    Hershey et al. Coenzyme Q10 deficiency and response to supplementation in pediatric and adolescent migraine. Headache. 2007
15.    Shoeibi et al. Effectiveness of coenzyme Q10 in prophylactic treatment of migraine headache: an open-label, add-on, controlled trial. Acta Neurol Belg. 2017
16.    Hershey et al. Coenzyme Q10 deficiency and response to supplementation in pediatric and adolescent migraine. Headache. 2007
17.    S Prakash et al. Role of coenzyme Q(10) as an antioxidant and bioenergizer in periodontal diseases. Indian J Pharmacol. 2010 Dec; 42(6):334-7.