Nutrition Notes

CoQ10 and its Support of Healthy Aging

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a critical molecule for cellular function, which is also known as ubiquinone due to its extensive presence within the human body. CoQ10 is a powerful antioxidant and helps protect mitochondrial membranes from oxidative damage. 

Optimal cellular functioning is a critical component of healthy aging. CoQ10 supports cellular health through many pathways. It acts as an electron carrier in the mitochondrial electron transport chain during oxidative phosphorylation. It also helps stabilize calcium-dependent channels, and it plays a critical role in cellular energy production. It helps protect cell membranes, helps regulate mitochondrial permeability, and is involved in the metabolism of pyrimidines, fatty acids, and mitochondrial uncoupling proteins. 

Research suggests that CoQ10 may play a role in helping to stimulate collagen production. It is also thought to support health through its ability to influence lipid peroxidation, help regenerate vitamin E from the alpha-tocopheroxyl radical, and interact with certain hydrogen peroxide molecules related to mitochondrial DNA

Deficiencies in CoQ10 can affect many tissues and bodily systems, particularly those with high demand including the brain, muscle, and kidneys. Secondary CoQ10 deficiency has been linked to certain genetic variations and age-related changes, including cellular accumulation of dysfunctional mitochondria. Certain age-related illnesses including cardiovascular disease, neurodegeneration, and type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) have been associated with secondary CoQ10 deficiency

Clinical studies have explored the impact of CoQ10 supplementation on age-related pathologies. One clinical trial involving individuals with T2DM reported improvements in hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) levels after daily supplementation with 200 mg CoQ10 for 3 months. Similar studies showed improvements in fasting plasma glucose and blood lipid levels. Significant improvements in markers of renal function were reported in a trial involving patients with chronic kidney disease who received 300 mg of daily CoQ10 supplementation for 3 months. 

Decreased levels of CoQ10 have been associated with patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Clinical trials involving 100 mg daily CoQ10 supplementation for 4 weeks to 3 months in individuals with NAFLD reported improvements in inflammatory markers, antioxidative status, and biomarkers related to liver inflammation and damage. 

A review article by Navas and colleagues explored recent literature on the potential supportive role of CoQ10 supplementation in the presence of secondary CoQ10 deficiency of genetic origin. Animal studies indicate that CoQ10 supplementation helped improve muscular strength and biomarkers related to cellular functioning. A clinical study involving older individuals with secondary CoQ10 deficiency of genetic etiology reported improvements in fatigue and motor skills in the presence of CoQ10 supplementation. Another clinical study involved family members with the same gene variation that caused secondary CoQ10 deficiency. Daily supplementation with CoQ10 was reported to help improve strength and movement. 

CoQ10 helps support the body’s response to oxidative stress and cell membrane stability. It also helps support the inflammatory response, healthy metabolism, mitochondrial function, and healthy aging

By Colleen Ambrose, ND, MAT