Life Extension Magazine August 2006
CoQ10's New Benefits
By Russell Martin
Strengthening the Body’s Immune Response
Because CoQ10 enhances the ability of immune cells to disable invading pathogens,10 scientists believe it may benefit people confronted with various challenges to the immune system, ranging from allergies to HIV infection.
Some scientists describe allergies as conditions in which the body’s immune system reacts to generally harmless substances as though they were dangerous invaders. Researchers have demonstrated that people with asthma related to allergies have decreased blood levels of CoQ10, leading them to suggest CoQ10 supplementation as a way to modulate allergic conditions such as hay fever.18 Researchers in Texas similarly encountered low CoQ10 levels in people suffering from rhinitis and other allergies; they believe that further studies may elucidate a role for CoQ10 in managing a wide array of allergy syndromes.19
Individuals suffering from active HIV infection are often vulnerable to a range of infections due to their weakened immune function, and typically demonstrate diminished levels of CoQ10. Supplemental CoQ10 at a dose of 200 mg daily has been found to help improve the ratio of beneficial T-helper immune cells to detrimental T-suppressor immune cells.10
A recent report suggests another potential role for CoQ10 in patients with HIV. A drug commonly used to treat HIV, called zidovudine or azidothymidine (AZT), is associated with the potential side effect of muscle disorders. In 2005, Australian researchers reported a case history in which CoQ10 treatment relieved zidovudine-associated muscle disease. The resolution of the patient’s myopathy allowed him to continue receiving treatment with zidovudine.20
These studies suggest that CoQ10 may provide valuable assistance to people battling various allergic conditions, as well as enhanced immune support for HIV-infected individuals.
Enhancing Vision, Dental Health, and Male Fertility
As scientists continue to probe the many benefits of CoQ10, they are investigating a variety of novel applications for this wonder nutrient. CoQ10’s broad-spectrum health benefits are underscored by research published in peer-reviewed journals around the world. In these studies, scientists report innovative uses for CoQ10 in treating disorders as disparate as age-related macular degeneration, periodontal disease, and male infertility.
CoQ10 may be essential to preserving healthy visual function in adults. People with age-related macular degeneration, a common cause of vision loss in adults, have lower plasma CoQ10 levels than do unaffected individuals.21 A recent double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial demonstrated that adults with early macular degeneration who supplemented with a combination of CoQ10, acetyl-L-carnitine, and omega-3 fatty acids for one year improved their visual function. Only 2% of the supplemented participants saw a worsening of visual function, compared to 17% of those who received placebo.22 Thus, a nutrient combination that includes CoQ10 may help to ensure a lifetime of healthy visual function.
CoQ10 may also have important applications in preventing and managing periodontal disease, which is characterized by wasting of the gum tissue. People with advanced periodontal disease demonstrate low levels of CoQ10 in gum tissues. Topical CoQ10 application improves the gum health of people suffering from periodontal disease, and also speeds tissue healing following periodontal surgery.1,10
Intriguing evidence suggests that CoQ10 may even help to improve male fertility.10 Two common causes of infertility in men are low sperm count and impaired sperm motility.27 In an early study, supplementation with a CoQ10 analog resulted in significant increases in both sperm count and motility.10 In a more recent trial, infertile men who supplemented with CoQ10 for six months demonstrated improved sperm motility and increased levels of CoQ10 in the sperm and seminal fluid.28 Scientists believe that CoQ10 may positively modulate male fertility by supporting mitochondrial energy production and by protecting sperm against oxidative stress.27,28 CoQ10 thus offers hope to couples seeking to overcome the challenges posed by impaired fertility.
The late Nobel Prize-winning physician and scientist Linus Pauling believed that adding CoQ10 to a daily nutritional regimen can increase energy production in heart muscle cells, help normalize blood pressure, increase energy levels, and improve longevity.1
However, as the aforementioned studies suggest, the health benefits attributable to CoQ10 are not only growing in number, but appear nearly limitless in their variety. CoQ10’s latest applications—in fighting skin and other cancers, photoaging, high blood sugar, endothelial dysfunction, migraine headaches, and Parkinson’s disease, to name just a few—further bolster its standing as an essential, energizing super-nutrient. This comes as no surprise to scientists who are intimately familiar with this remarkable nutrient.
“Since CoQ10 is essential to the optimal function of all cell types, it is not surprising to find a seemingly diverse number of disease states that respond favorably to CoQ10 supplementation,” says Dr. Peter Langsjoen, one of the world’s foremost authorities on CoQ10. Dr. Langsjoen believes that CoQ10 is as fundamentally important as vitamin C for maintaining optimal health and longevity.29
“The clinical experience with CoQ10 in heart failure is nothing short of dramatic, and it is reasonable to believe that the entire field of medicine should be re-evaluated in light of this growing knowledge,” notes Dr. Langsjoen. “We have only scratched the surface of the biomedical and clinical applications of CoQ10.”29
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5. Quiles JL, Farquharson AJ, Ramirez-Tortosa MC, et al. Coenzyme Q differentially modulates phospholipid hydroperoxide glutathione peroxidase gene expression and free radicals production in malignant and non-malignant prostate cells. Biofactors. 2003;18(1-4):265-70.
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12. Langsjoen H, Langsjoen P, Langsjoen P, Willis R, Folkers K. Usefulness of coenzyme Q10 in clinical cardiology: a long-term study. Mol Aspects Med. 1994;15 Suppls165-75.
13. Shults CW, Oakes D, Kieburtz K, et al. Effects of coenzyme Q10 in early Parkinson disease: evidence of slowing of the functional decline. Arch Neurol. 2002 Oct;59(10):1541-50.
14. Beal MF. Mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative damage in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases and coenzyme Q10 as a potential treatment. J Bioenerg Biomembr. 2004 Aug;36(4):381-6.
15. Baker SK, Tarnopolsky MA. Targeting cellular energy production in neurological disorders. Expert Opin Investig Drugs. 2003 Oct;12(10):1655-79.
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17. Sandor PS, Di Clemente L, Coppola G, et al. Efficacy of coenzyme Q10 in migraine prophylaxis: a randomized controlled trial. Neurology. 2005 Feb 22;64(4):713-5.
18. Gazdik F, Gvozdjakova A, Nadvornikova R, et al. Decreased levels of coenzyme Q(10) in patients with bronchial asthma. Allergy. 2002 Sep;57(9):811-4.
19. Ye CQ, Folkers K, Tamagawa H, Pfeiffer C. A modified determination of coenzyme Q10 in human blood and CoQ10 blood levels in diverse patients with allergies. Biofactors. 1988 Dec;1(4):303-6.
20. Rosenfeldt FL, Mijch A, McCrystal G, et al. Skeletal myopathy associated with nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor therapy: potential benefit of coenzyme Q10 therapy. Int J STD AIDS. 2005 Dec;16(12):827-9.
21. Blasi MA, Bovina C, Carella G, et al. Does coenzyme Q10 play a role in opposing oxidative stress in patients with age-related macular degeneration? Opthalmologica. 2001 Jan-Feb;215(1):51-4.
22. Feher J, Kovacs B, Kovacs I, Schveoller M, Papale A, Balacco Gabrieli C. Improvement of visual functions and fundus alterations in early age-related macular degeneration treated with a combination of acetyl-L-carnitine, n-3 fatty acids, and coenzyme Q10. Opthalmologica. 2005 May-Jun;219(3):154-66.
23. Available at: www.kanekaq10.com. Accessed May 22, 2006.
24. Schrier T. Kaneka Nutrients LP. Email interview. April 25, 2006.
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27. Sheweita SA, Tilmisany AM, Al-Sawaf H. Mechanisms of male infertility: role of antioxidants. Curr Drug Metab. 2005 Oct;6(5):495-501.
28. Balercia G, Mosca F, Mantero F, et al. Coenzyme Q(10) supplementation in infertile men with idiopathic asthenozoospermia: an open, uncontrolled pilot study. Fertil Steril. 2004 Jan;81(1):93-8.
29. Available at: http://faculty.washington.edu/ely/coenzq10.html. Accessed May 22, 2006.