CoQ10 and Cholesterol

The effectiveness of the HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor drugs, the so-called “statins,” in lowering serum cholesterol concentration cannot be denied. However, CoQ10 production and cholesterol synthesis share the same biochemical pathway. As could be predicted from these pathways in the liver effectively blocking cholesterol production can also lead to blocking CoQ10 production. Numerous studies have proven this to be the case.14,15

The results of this drug-induced mild CoQ10 deficiency is not without harm – it is associated with damage to hard-working muscles. These potentially detrimental effects have been reported in several journals.16,17 In terms of the side effects of statin therapy, published studies have found fundamental derangements in muscle cell metabolism with exposure to statins.18 Several recent reports indicate that these drugs impact the nerves that communicate with muscles in addition to affecting the mitochondria of all muscles, including the heart muscle.19,20 Depleted levels of CoQ10 could play a major role in these side effects of statin drugs.

The good news – dietary supplementation with CoQ10 may help overcome the potential interference of statin drugs with CoQ10 metabolism.21 And CoQ10 is very safe – amounts of up to 3000 mg daily are considered safe.22

Thus, if you choose to use cholesterol-lowering medication to protect your heart and circulatory system, don’t be counterproductive. Really protect yourself – supplement with CoQ10 to replenish what you lose with the use of statin drugs. Add this vital nutrient to your Healthy Heart program.

References:
14. Rundek T, Naini A, Sacco R, Coates K, DiMauro S. Atorvastatin decreases the coenzyme Q10 level in the blood of patients at risk for cardiovascular disease and stroke. Arch Neurol 2004;61:889-892.
15. Thompson PD, Clarkson P, Karas RH. Statin-associated myopathy. JAMA 2003;289:1681-1690.
16. Tomlinson SS, Mangione KK. Potential adverse effects of statins on muscle. Phys Ther 2005;85:459-465.
17. Baker SK. Molecular clues into the pathogenesis of statin-mediated muscle toxicity. Muscle Nerve 2005;31:572-580.
18. Paiva H, Thelen KM, Van Coster R, Smet J, De Paepe B, Mattila KM, Laakso J, Lehtimaki T, von Bergmann K, Lutjohann D, Laaksonen R. High-dose statins and skeletal muscle metabolism in humans: A randomized, controlled trial. Clin Pharmacol Ther 2005;78:60-68.
19. Baker SK, Tarnopolsky MA. Statin-associated neuromyotoxicity. Drugs Today 2005;41:267-293.
20. Nawarskas JJ. HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors and coenzyme Q10. Cardiol Rev 2005;13:76-79.
21. Ferrante KL, Shefner J, Zhang H, Betensky R, O’Brien M, Yu H, Fantasia M, Taft J, Beal MF, Traynor B, Newhall K, Donofrio P, Caress J, Ashburn C, Freiberg B, O’Neill C, Paladenech C, Walker T, Pestronk A, Abrams B, Florence J, Renna R, Schierbecker J, Malkus B, Cudkowicz M. Tolerance of high-dose (3,000 mg/day) coenzyme Q10 in ALS. Neurology 2005;65:1834-1836.
22. Chopra RK, Goldman R, Sinatra ST, Bhagavan HN. Relative bioavailability of coenzyme Q10 formulations in human subjects. Intern J Vit Nutr Res 1998;68:109-113.

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CoQ10 and antioxidants may support heart health

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) may be one of the most important nutrients that no one knows about. It plays a critical role in energy production, and has been shown to support heart health. Every cell in the body needs CoQ10 to function.

In fact, recent research from Wolfson Medical Center in Israel found that nutritional supplements that contain CoQ10, as well as other antioxidants such as vitamin C, vitamin E and selenium, may provide significant support for heart health.

After having participants take the supplements for a period of six months, researchers took a number of measures of their heart health. They found that individuals who were given active supplements showed fewer signs of cardiovascular risk factors.

The researchers wrote in their report that adding higher levels of CoQ10 to a healthy diet may be a simple way for aging individuals and those who are at risk for cardiovascular complications to support their heart health.

Most varieties of fish, beef and green leafy vegetables are particularly strong sources of the nutrient. It is also widely available in supplement form.

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CoQ10 may provide heart health benefits to patients taking statins

Statin medications have made it possible for millions of people to improve their heart health and reduce their risk of potentially deadly complications. However, some experts say that they may have dangerous side effects, which may reduce their benefit.

For example, Dr Stacey Kerr, a California-based family practice physician, wrote in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat that statin medications block the body’s production of coenzyme Q-10 (CoQ10). This nutrient is present in every cell of the body, but is found in highest concentrations in the most vital organs, like the heart and brain.

“It does not make sense to take a cholesterol-lowering medication to decrease the chances of having a heart attack if that same medication is also increasing the risk of heart disease by blocking the production of CoQ10,” she wrote.

Kerr added that individuals who are taking statins should consider adding CoQ10 nutritional supplements to make up for the deficiency caused by the medication.

Doctors at the Mayo clinic have made similar recommendations, saying that individuals who experience side effects from statin use should talk to their doctor about the possible benefits of CoQ10 supplements.

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Experts say CoQ10 supplements are vital to immune health

In order for the immune system to function at its peak ability, the body needs to have a complex mixture of nutrients. Many health experts agree that coenzyme-Q10 (CoQ10) is one of the most important for supporting immune health.

CoQ10 provides the body’s cells with energy, which helps them perform to the best of their ability. White blood cells, which are responsible for hunting down and killing foreign bodies including bacterial infections and viruses, are particularly hungry for these nutrients, according to the Tampa Bay Tribune.

“Most people think of cells as little blobs of microscopic material. But their power and complexity is far more wondrous than you may imagine,” Al Sears, a Royal Palm Beach physician, told the news source. “When you give your cells the energy they need, they know what to do with it. They can use it to fix what’s broken and preserve the organs that keep you alive.”

He recommended that aging individuals take CoQ10 supplements to support their immune health. The Mayo Clinic says that these nutrients are vital to the function of cells, but that they decrease with age.

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CoQ10: Ubiquinone or Ubiquinol?

This is part of our ongoing The Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging spotlight. Each day, we will be posting some of the great information that’s packed into our book, The Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging.

Today’s topic:
Ubiquinone or Ubiquinol?

A new form of CoQ10 has come on the market in recent years. This form is the reduced form of CoQ10 known as ubiquinol. Most CoQ10 on the market is in the oxidized ubiquinone form. While this form is adequate for most individuals for dietary supplement purposes, it may not be effective for some. When ubiquinone CoQ10 is taken in by the body, it is converted to the reduced form, ubiquinol. However, as we age our bodies lose the ability to convert rapidly between the two forms. Since ubiquinol is the reduced form, it more readily is able to scavenge free radicals and may be more effective in people over 40 or 45 years of age. Another benefit of using the ubiquinol form is that the dosage needed can be reduced since ubiquinol is already the active form of CoQ10.

Until recently, the stability of ubiquinol in capsule form was questionable and this made it difficult to manufacture an effective form of this nutrient. However, technological advancements have allowed for the manufacture of stable ubiquinol for supplemental purposes. The choice is yours. Both forms are effective and the original ubiquinone form of CoQ10 (the majority of CoQ10 on the market) is the one with the best science at this point. Most studies have used the original ubiquinone form. However, for some people, the reduced form, ubiquinol, may be more beneficial.

Next Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging topic:
Vitamins and Minerals – Helping Hands of Health

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CoQ10 Softgels Better than Tablets

This is part of our ongoing The Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging spotlight. Each day, we will be posting some of the great information that’s packed into our book, The Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging.

Today’s topic:
CoQ10 Softgels Better than Tablets

Dietary supplements are available that deliver CoQ10 in several different ways. The most common means are via tablets, hardshell powder-filled capsules or soft-shelled capsules that enclose CoQ10 in a suspension of oil. Human research has shown that CoQ10 is absorbed most efficiently and rapidly when consumed suspended within a soft-shelled capsule. Since CoQ10 is a fat-soluble nutrient, taking it in an oil matrix or with a meal containing fat is highly beneficial. Thus, when considering supplemental forms of CoQ10 “softgels” are an excellent choice.

Next Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging topic:
CoQ10 – Ubiquinone or Ubiquinol?

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CoQ10: Mitochondrial Health and Function

This is part of our ongoing The Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging spotlight. Each day, we will be posting some of the great information that’s packed into our book, The Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging.

Today’s topic:
CoQ10 – Preserver of Mitochondrial Health and Function

The “mitochondrial theory of aging” postulates that the accumulation of free radical-induced damage to mitochondrial DNA in mature cells (such as cardiomyocytes) eventually results in the production of abnormal mitochondrial proteins.9 These abnormal proteins cannot sequester and restrain free electrons as well as they should and more electrons escape to cause even more oxidative damage in an escalating vicious cycle.

In addition, because fewer free electrons reach oxygen molecules, the cell cannot produce a normal amount of energy.9 If this theory is correct, then maintaining a high level of cellular and mitochondrial CoQ10 through dietary supplementation can sustain a high degree of efficient energy metabolism within mitochondria and can make a fundamental contribution to maximal cellular health and function. As shown in recently published studies CoQ10 protects mitochondria from “runaway” free electrons – and nowhere will this contribution be as appreciated as within the human heart.10,11

As an added antioxidant benefit, CoQ10 also spares vitamin C and vitamin E. As these vitamins perform their antioxidant functions and become oxidized themselves, they are likely to be excreted in the urine – which means that each such “lost” vitamin C or vitamin E molecule must be replaced through the diet or through supplementation. Fortunately, CoQ10 is able to receive their free electrons, effectively recycling these nutrients for use as antioxidants and allowing them to continue protecting the body from oxidative damage.12,13 The free electron-carrying CoQ10 molecule then is able to transfer the electron to other antioxidant molecules, retaining the sequestration of the electron while regenerating itself.12

Next Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging topic:
CoQ10 – CoQ10 and Cholesterol

References:
9. enova ML, Pich MM, Biondi A, Bernacchia A, Falasca A, Bovina C, Formiggini G, Parenti Castelli G, Lenaz G. Mitochondrial production of oxygen radical species and the role of Coenzyme Q as an antioxidant. Exp Biol Med 2003;228:506-513.
10. Fernandez-Ayala DJ, Lopez-Lluch G, Garcia-Valdes M, Arroyo A, Navas P. Specificity of coenzyme Q10 for a balanced function of respiratory chain and endogenous ubiquinone biosynthesis in human cells. Biochim Biophys Acta 2005;1706:174-183.
11. Arroyo A, Navarro F, Gomez-Diaz C, Crane FL, Alcain FJ, Navas P, Villalba JM. Interactions between ascorbyl free radical and coenzyme Q at the plasma membrane. J Bioenerg Biomembr 2000;32:199-210.
12. Lass A, Sohal RS. Effect of coenzyme Q(10) and alpha-tocopherol content of mitochondria on the production of superoxide anion radicals. FASEB J 2000;14:87-94.
13. Mabuchi H, Higashikata T, Kawashiri M, Katsuda S, Mizuno M, Nohara A, Inazu A, Koizumi J, Kobayashi J. Reduction of serum ubiquinol-10 and ubiquinone-10 levels by atorvastatin in hypercholesterolemic patients. J Atheroscler Thromb 2005;12:111-119.

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CoQ10: Super Antioxidant

This is part of our ongoing The Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging spotlight. Each day, we will be posting some of the great information that’s packed into our book, The Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging.

Today’s topic:
CoQ10 – Super Antioxidant

We touched on some of the antioxidant effects of CoQ10 earlier. Research suggests that CoQ10 has superior antioxidant properties and works in a broad range of environments. It is a powerful and effective protector of lipids, low-density lipoproteins, proteins and DNA from oxidation. For example, increasing the CoQ10 content of rat heart muscle cells and brain neurons through the diet reduces the ability of free electrons to cause oxidative damage to those cells. A study published recently in Neurobiology of Disease has shown that CoQ10 also protects human neurons.8 This protective property of CoQ10 provides firm scientific evidence that dietary supplementation with this nutrient can increase the resistance of mitochondrial membranes, proteins and DNA to oxidative damage, especially in the tissues that are the most sensitive to such damage.9

Next Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging topic:
CoQ10 – Preserver of Mitochondrial Health and Function

References:
8. Huertas JR, Martinez-Velasco E, Ibanez S, Lopez-Frias M, Ochoa JJ, Quiles J, Parenti Castelli G, Mataix J, Lenaz G. Virgin olive oil and coenzyme Q10 protect heart mitochondria from peroxidative damage during aging. Biofactors 1999;9:337-343.
9. enova ML, Pich MM, Biondi A, Bernacchia A, Falasca A, Bovina C, Formiggini G, Parenti Castelli G, Lenaz G. Mitochondrial production of oxygen radical species and the role of Coenzyme Q as an antioxidant. Exp Biol Med 2003;228:506-513.

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CoQ10 and Heart Muscle Longevity

This is part of our ongoing The Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging spotlight. Each day, we will be posting some of the great information that’s packed into our book, The Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging.

Today’s topic:
CoQ10 and Heart Muscle Longevity

The role of CoQ10 as a cellular protectant is displayed in a more direct fashion in heart cells. CoQ10 plays an important part in supporting the maintenance of cardiac tissue integrity and function. A relatively recently explored hypothesis suggests that CoQ10 can slow the rate of normal age-related loss of cardiomyocytes, preserving more fully functional cells for longer. Within the mitochondria of all mammalian cells, including the heart muscle (the “myocardium”), are channels (“permeability transition pores”) that span the inner and outer mitochondrial membranes (every mitochondrion has a double wrapping of membrane material surrounding it and separating it from the rest of the cell). When open, these channels allow materials to pass from the cell into the mitochondrion and vice versa. Normally, traffic between the cell and the mitochondrion is strictly controlled.

However, if too many of these channels open at once, abnormal movements of sodium and calcium ions break down the physical integrity of the mitochondrial membrane, and the membrane will be destroyed by the cell.6 If too many mitochondria within the same cell become damaged and are destroyed, the cell will die.

The channels can be opened “accidentally” by “stray” free electrons that have escaped from the special proteins that should be transporting them toward oxygen. Escape is less likely when sufficient CoQ10 is available to restrain these electrons. As shown by the results of a study published recently in the Journal of Gerontology and the results of previous studies, the more CoQ10 in the mitochondria, the fewer channels that are opened “accidentally” and the less likely the cell will be to die.7

Next Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging topic:
CoQ10 – Super Antioxidant

References:
6. Ochoa JJ, Quiles JL, Huertas JR, Mataix J. Coenzyme Q10 protects from aging-related oxidative stress and improves mitochondrial function in heart of rats fed a polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA)-rich diet. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci 2005;60:970-975.
7. Somayajulu M, McCarthy S, Hung M, Sikorska M, Borowy-Borowski H, Pandey S. Role of mitochondria in neuronal cell death induced by oxidative stress; neuroprotection by Coenzyme Q10. Neurobiol Dis 2005;18:618-627.

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CoQ10 as a Buffer against Toxic Cellular Acidity

This is part of our ongoing The Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging spotlight. Each day, we will be posting some of the great information that’s packed into our book, The Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging.

Today’s topic:
CoQ10 as a Buffer against Toxic Cellular Acidity

As an integral component of cellular membranes, CoQ10 also facilitates the exchange of sodium ions (Na+) for protons (H+) across the plasma membrane of all cells. As a potent antioxidant nutrient, CoQ10 molecules residing within the cell membrane can “grab” free electrons from within the cell and pass them along to electron acceptor molecules outside the cell, while the CoQ10 itself remains snuggly within the membrane. This exchange prevents the inside of the cell from becoming too acidic – a condition that could lead to cellular damage. The free radical scavenging activity of CoQ10 makes it an extremely useful cellular protectant.

Next Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging topic:
CoQ10 and Heart Muscle Longevity

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