Extracts from :
Roland Stocker, Ph.D.
University of New South Wales
Over the past few years CoQ10 has gained considerable attention as an agent capable of influencing cellular bioenergetics and counteracting some of the damage caused by free radicals. Animal studies provide increasing support for a beneficial effect of CoQ10 supplements in disease, particularly neurodegenerative diseases and atherosclerosis. These results are encouraging and warrant further investigation, including clinical studies that directly assess a health benefit of CoQ10 supplements in humans…
CoQ10 is also a micronutrient. However, its bioavailability is limited compared to that of other lipid-soluble antioxidants like vitamin E. We know that uptake of CoQ occurs in blood, blood vessels, liver, and spleen, but generally not in other organs, although some uptake has been reported in mouse kidney and rat brain. Interestingly, in cases of severe CoQ10 deficiency resulting from enzyme defects, muscular and organ functions are drastically improved by dietary CoQ10 supplements, suggestive of an effective uptake. It appears that the extent of uptake correlates with the degree of tissue deficiency. This view is supported by recent observations that oral supplementation of CoQ in rats for 2 months increased muscle and brain levels of CoQ in old but not in young rats. Also, there is evidence that oral supplements increase the concentration of CoQ in the hearts of patients suffering from cardiomyopathies and heart failure. During gastrointestinal uptake, dietary CoQ is efficiently reduced to the antioxidant-active ubiquinol form that enters the circulation within lipoproteins for potential uptake by tissues.
There are a number of conditions in which CoQ tissue concentrations are altered with functional consequences. Oxidative stress generated by, for example, physical exercise increases tissue ubiquinone levels by increasing biosynthesis, as does administration of drugs like clofibrate. In contrast, aging is generally associated with decreases in tissue CoQ levels. For example, levels of CoQ10 in the skin are low in childhood, reach a maximum at around 20-30 years of age, and then decrease steadily with increasing age. Topically applied CoQ10 can penetrate into the living cell layers of the skin and attenuate both the depth of deep wrinkles characteristic of photoaging, as well as the turnover of epithelial cells. CoQ10 is also highly effective in protecting skin cells known as keratinocytes from oxidative DNA damage induced by ultraviolet light. Similar to what is observed in human skin, the concentration of CoQ in various mouse and rat tissues changes with age; the highest level occurs at about the age of 30 days, followed by a subsequent decrease with increasing age. The observed decrease in tissue content of CoQ10 could accentuate the age-related oxidative damage of lipids and proteins, although this question remains to be answered. It is also important to determine whether CoQ10 cellular deficiency is general or affects only certain organelles, such as the mitochondria…
A topical question is whether cholesterol-lowering treatment with 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase inhibitors (statins) decreases tissue CoQ, and, if so, whether this may attenuate the overall decrease in cardiovascular morbidity and mortality in patients with cardiovascular disease and/or in healthy men at risk for coronary heart disease seen with statins. A potential decrease in CoQ levels could conceivably arise from the inhibition of the synthesis of CoQ by statins. Indeed, there is now evidence that statin therapy lowers plasma concentrations of CoQ, although it remains to be established whether this has clinical consequences.
Over the past few years CoQ10 has gained considerable attention as an agent capable of influencing cellular bioenergetics and counteracting some of the damage caused by free radicals. Animal studies provide increasing support for a beneficial effect of CoQ10 supplements in disease, particularly neurodegenerative diseases and atherosclerosis. These results are encouraging and warrant further investigation, including clinical studies that directly assess a health benefit of CoQ10 supplements in humans.
For more information on CoQ10 and health, see the Linus Pauling Institute’s Micronutrient Information Center
More information is also at Coenzyme Q10: CoQ10 BioEnergetic Synopsis.
Extract: “Unfortunately, most doctors in the US are not familiar with the published research regarding the potential of CoQ10 because many of the journals they read rarely discuss the benefits of this and many other nutrients. The reason for this is very simple, nutrients cannot be patented so they are of very little interest to pharmaceutical companies and drug manufacturing laboratories and these are the companies that sponsor and publish most of the journals read by doctors.
However, traveling around Europe, China, Japan and South America, has shown me that the story is completely different in the rest of the world, where most health-care professionals are treating their patients with heart failure and other conditions by prescribing CoQ10. In fact, CoQ10 is the fifth most commonly prescribed “drug” in Japan…” (Continues)