Life Extension Update
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CoQ10 and vitamin E combo improves learning in old animals
Researchers from the University of North Texas Health Science Center in Fort Worth gave 24 month old mice 123 milligrams per kilogram body weight coenzyme Q10, 200 milligrams per kilogram alpha-tocopherol acetate (a form of vitamin E), both nutrients, or a placebo daily for 3 weeks after which tests that assessed learning, recent memory and psychomotor function were administered. Treatment with the different regimens continued for an additional 11 weeks.
It was found that the combination of coQ10 and vitamin E provided more rapid learning in the mice who received it, compared to the control group or to animals who received either treatment alone. A separate experiment that gave older mice a higher dose of coQ10 alone still did not provide the benefits of the coQ10-vitamin E combination.
The authors state that previous research has found that vitamin E alone is not enough to lower oxidative damage in the brain that could impair learning. There may be a cooperative effect between vitamin E and coQ10, providing greater antioxidant potential. Studies have shown that supplementation with coQ10 alone increases alpha-tocopherol levels in the mitochondria of some tissues of old mice. In the current study, when the brains of the animals were examined, significant increases in vitamin E could only be found in the brain mitochondria of mice given both coQ10 and vitamin E.
The authors conclude that their findings suggest “a cooperative interaction of alpha-tocopherol and coQ10 in the modulation of oxidative stress in mitochondria, and provide a rationale for supplementation involving antioxidant combinations.”
Age-associated mental impairment
It is important to make a distinction between normal, age-associated mental impairment and conditions such as dementia that signal a disease process. Not all memory difficulties or cognitive complaints indicate the presence of Alzheimer's disease or other mental disorders. Many memory changes are temporary and are linked to environmental factors such as stress rather than to physiological (bodily) processes.
This National Academy of Sciences study demonstrated that short-term supplementation with moderate amounts of CoQ10 produced profound antiaging effects in the brain. Previous studies have shown that CoQ10 may protect the brain via several mechanisms, including reduction in free radical generation and protection from glutamate-induced excitotoxicity. The study documented that orally supplemented CoQ10 specifically enhanced metabolic energy levels of brain cells (Matthews et al. 1998).
Based on the types of brain cell injury that CoQ10 can provide protection from, the scientists suggested that CoQ10 might also be useful in the prevention or treatment of Huntington's disease and ALS. It was noted that, while vitamin E delays the onset of ALS in mice, it does not increase survival time. CoQ10 was suggested as a more effective treatment strategy for neurodegenerative disease than vitamin E because survival time was increased in mice treated with CoQ10 (Matthews et al. 1998).
The mitochondria are the cell’s energy powerhouses, and coenzyme Q10 is an essential component of healthy mitochondrial function.
CoQ10 is required to convert fats and sugars into cellular energy, yet the natural production of CoQ10 declines precipitously with advancing age. When the body has an ample amount of CoQ10 the mitochondria can work most efficiently throughout the entire body, in cells everywhere, including the most densely populated area, the heart.
When coenzyme Q10 is orally ingested, only a certain percentage is actually absorbed into the bloodstream. Findings in human subjects indicate that higher doses of CoQ10 provide significantly better effects than the doses that supplement users typically take. Since CoQ10 is such an expensive nutrient, an alternative to taking higher doses is to increase the amount of CoQ10 that is absorbed.
Life Extension is pleased to announce the availability of an emulsified formulation that significantly increases the amount of CoQ10 absorbed into the bloodstream compared to previous versions.
Vitamin E compounds are usually produced and made available in esterified form as alpha-tocopheryl acetate or alpha-tocopheryl succinate. Neither of these forms has any antioxidant activity until converted to alpha-tocopherol in the body, but they are much more stable with respect to storage time and temperature than the unesterified forms. Moreover, while the acetate form is rapidly activated within the body, activation of the succinate form is slower. The succinate form appears to access and benefit areas of the tissues that are unavailable to the other forms. For this reason, there is a tendency to regard alpha-tocopherol succinate as a distinctly different and beneficial compound. Alpha-tocopherol succinate appears to have longer half-life in the body, and does not interfere with vitamin A or K absorption.
Mitochondria, the powerhouses in each human cell, have the crucial job of generating energy for use throughout the body. With advancing age and cumulative free radical attack, however, mitochondria can become less efficient, leading to degenerative changes associated with aging.
Maintaining healthy mitochondrial function is critically important in preventing disease and promoting longevity. Nutrients such as coenzyme Q10, acetyl-L-carnitine, and alpha-lipoic acid help optimize mitochondrial health. Other nutritional remedies—including carnosine, benfotiamine, and rhodiola—complement the actions of CoQ10, acetyl-L-carnitine, and alpha-lipoic acid in promoting a healthy and energetic lifestyle.
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