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

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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