Life Extension Magazine February 2006
CoQ10’s “Other” Health Benefits
By Sherry Kahn, MPH
Other Potential Applications
In recent months, scientists have uncovered a widening array of applications for coenzyme Q10. According to new studies, CoQ10 may:
Protect against hearing loss. Mitochondrial DNA mutation is one cause of sensorineural hearing loss, a condition that causes changes in the inner ear or nerve pathways and is not correctable through medical interventions.23 In individuals with genetically based sensorineural hearing loss, coenzyme Q10 supplementation prevented further loss of hearing, while the control that did not supplement demonstrated continued deterioration of hearing function.
Improve learning. Supplementation with vitamin E and coenzyme Q10 helped a group of older mice to learn tasks more quickly than mice supplemented with only one of the two antioxidants.24 These findings suggest that coenzyme Q10 and vitamin E act in concert and may together help prevent age-related deficits in cognitive function.
Extend life span. In animals fed a diet enriched with polyunsaturated fatty acids, supplementing with coenzyme Q10 increased life span and protected against DNA alterations. Scientists recently determined that CoQ10 supplementation may confer these benefits by attenuating the decline in naturally occurring antioxidants that commonly accompanies aging.25
Prevent cachexia. The combination of coenzyme Q10 with vitamins B2 (riboflavin) and B3 (niacin) offers promise in preventing the weight loss and muscle wasting associated with cancer. In cancer, mitochondrial energy production is diminished, which may ultimately lead to the fatigue, weight loss, and muscle loss known as cachexia. In rats with experimentally induced breast cancer, supplementation with the energy-modulating nutrients B2, B3, and CoQ10 helped restore mitochondrial energy production, suggesting that this nutrient combination may help prevent cachexia.26
Assist muscle regeneration. Supplementing with coenzyme Q10 and vitamin E supported muscle regeneration in animals with experimentally induced muscle decay. The investigators noted that CoQ10 exerted a greater influence on muscle regeneration than did vitamin E.27
Protect against surgical stress. Supplementing with 300 mg of CoQ10 daily for two weeks prior to heart surgery boosted measures of heart muscle health, investigators recently noted. When heart muscle samples of the supplemented individuals were analyzed following elective surgery, this tissue exhibited improved energy production, decreased oxidative stress, and enhanced recovery from oxygen depletion compared to tissue samples from unsupplemented patients.28
Promote male fertility. Coenzyme Q10 supplementation for six months improved asthenozoospermia (reduced sperm motility) in infertile men.29 In an earlier study, administering a CoQ10 analog to men led to significant increases in both sperm count and motility.30 These findings suggest that CoQ10 may help improve defective sperm function, a common and difficult-to-treat cause of male infertility.
Protect against senile plaques. A laboratory study demonstrated CoQ10’s ability to destabilize amyloid beta peptides, a hallmark abnormality of Alzheimer’s disease.31 This suggests a further potential neuroprotective mechanism of coenzyme Q10.
Impede diabetic complications. An animal study has shown that CoQ10 displays potential for preventing complications associated with diabetes.32
Lower triglycerides. The results of an Italian preliminary clinical trial suggest that the combination of CoQ10 and fibrate drugs may benefit individuals with exceedingly high levels of triglycerides who fail to respond to fibrates alone.33
The latest findings suggest that, along with its heart-protective effects, CoQ10 may slow or improve some degenerative diseases, support cancer remission, counteract the toxic effects of chemotherapy, and decrease the incidence of migraine headaches. Additionally, recent findings indicate that coenzyme Q10 may have applications in promoting fertility, protecting auditory function, supporting longevity, boosting learning capability, sustaining muscle health and much more.
CoQ10 investigations are expanding into new areas, and researchers are now calling for larger, well-designed studies to support intriguing findings from small and observational trials. With CoQ10’s pervasiveness in the body and the many essential functions it performs, scientists will no doubt continue to elucidate this vital nutrient’s many potential applications.
1. Damian MS, Ellenberg D, Gildemeister R, et al. Coenzyme Q10 combined with mild hypothermia after cardiac arrest: a preliminary study. Circulation. 2004 Nov 9;110(19):3011-6.
2. Sandor PS, Di CL, Coppola G, et al. Efficacy of coenzyme Q10 in migraine prophylaxis: a randomized controlled trial. Neurology. 2005 Feb 22;64(4):713-5.
3. Available at: www.nei.nih.gov/health/maculardegen.armd_facts.asp#1. Accessed November 16, 2005.
4. Anon. A randomized, placebo-controlled, clinical trial of high-dose supplementation with vitamins C and E, beta carotene, and zinc for age-related macular degeneration and vision loss: AREDS report no. 8. Arch Ophthalmol. 2001 Oct;119(10):1417-36.
5. Feher J, Kovacs B, Kovacs I, et al. 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. Ophthalmologica. 2005 May;219(3):154-66.
6. Folkers K, Osterborg A, Nylander M, Morita M, Mellstedt H. Activities of vitamin Q10 in animal models and a serious deficiency in patients with cancer. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 1997 May 19;234(2):296-9.
7. Portakal O, Ozkaya O, Erden IM, et al. Coenzyme Q10 concentrations and antioxidant status in tissues of breast cancer patients. Clin Biochem. 2000 Jun;33(4):279-84.
8. Folkers K, Morita M, McRee J, Jr. The activities of coenzyme Q10 and vitamin B6 for immune responses. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 1993 May 28;193(1):88-92.
9. Lockwood K, Moesgaard S, Yamamoto T, Folkers K. Progress on therapy of breast cancer with vitamin Q10 and the regression of metastases. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 1995 Jul 6;212(1):172-7.
10. Lockwood K, Moesgaard S, Hanioka T, Folkers K. Apparent partial remission of breast cancer in ‘high risk’ patients supplemented with nutritional antioxidants, essential fatty acids and coenzyme Q10. Mol Aspects Med. 1994;15 Suppls231-s240.
11. Conklin KA. Coenzyme q10 for prevention of anthracycline-induced cardiotoxicity. Integr Cancer Ther. 2005 Jun;4(2):110-30.
12. Roffe L, Schmidt K, Ernst E. Efficacy of coenzyme Q10 for improved tolerability of cancer treatments: a systematic review. J Clin Oncol. 2004 Nov 1;22(21):4418-24.
13. Somayajulu M, McCarthy S, Hung M, et al. Role of mitochondria in neuronal cell death induced by oxidative stress; neuroprotection by Coenzyme Q10. Neurobiol Dis. 2005 Apr;18(3):618-27.
14. Sohmiya M, Tanaka M, Tak NW, et al. Redox status of plasma coenzyme Q10 indicates elevated systemic oxidative stress in Parkinson’s disease. J Neurol Sci. 2004 Aug 30;223(2):161-6.
15. Menke T, Gille G, Reber F, et al. Coenzyme Q10 reduces the toxicity of rotenone in neuronal cultures by preserving the mitochondrial membrane potential. Biofactors. 2003;18(1-4):65-72.
16. Shavali S, Carlson EC, Swinscoe JC, Ebadi M. 1-Benzyl-1,2,3,4-tetrahydroisoquinoline, a Parkinsonism-inducing endogenous toxin, increases alpha-synuclein expression and causes nuclear damage in human dopaminergic cells. J Neurosci Res. 2004 May 15;76(4):563-71.
17. McCarthy S, Somayajulu M, Sikorska M, Borowy-Borowski H, Pandey S. Paraquat induces oxidative stress and neuronal cell death; neuroprotection by water-soluble Coenzyme Q10. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2004 Nov 15;201(1):21-31.
18. Shults CW. Therapeutic role of coenzyme Q(10) in Parkinson’s disease. Pharmacol Ther. 2005 Jul;107(1):120-30.
19. 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.
20. Shults CW, Flint BM, Song D, Fontaine D. Pilot trial of high dosages of coenzyme Q10 in patients with Parkinson’s disease. Exp Neurol. 2004 Aug;188(2):491-4.
21. Anon. A randomized, placebo-controlled trial of coenzyme Q10 and remacemide in Huntington’s disease. Neurology. 2001 Aug 14;57(3):397-404.
22. Crane FL. Biochemical functions of coenzyme Q10. J Am Coll Nutr. 2001 Dec;20(6):591-8.
23. Angeli SI, Liu XZ, Yan D, Balkany T, Telischi F. Coenzyme Q-10 treatment of patients with a 7445A—->G mitochondrial DNA mutation stops the progression of hearing loss. Acta Otolaryngol. 2005 May;125(5):510-2.
24. McDonald SR, Sohal RS, Forster MJ. Concurrent administration of coenzyme Q10 and alpha-tocopherol improves learning in aged mice. Free Radic Biol Med. 2005 Mar 15;38(6):729-36.
25. Bello RI, Gomez-Diaz C, Buron MI, et al. Enhanced anti-oxidant protection of liver membranes in long-lived rats fed on a coenzyme Q10-supplemented diet. Exp Gerontol. 2005 Aug;40(8-9):694-706.
26. Perumal SS, Shanthi P, Sachdanandam P. Energy-modulating vitamins—a new combinatorial therapy prevents cancer cachexia in rat mammary carcinoma. Br J Nutr. 2005 Jun;93(6):901-9.
27. Otrocka-Domagala I, Rotkiewicz T, Karpinska J, et al. The effect of coenzyme Q10 and vitamin E on the regeneration of skeletal muscles in pigs. Pol J Vet Sci. 2004;7(4):295-303.
28. Rosenfeldt F, Marasco S, Lyon W, et al. Coenzyme Q10 therapy before cardiac surgery improves mitochondrial function and in vitro contractility of myocardial tissue. J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2005 Jan;129(1):25-32.
29. 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.
30. Anon. Coenzyme Q10. Altern Med Rev. 1998 Feb;3(1):58-61.
31. Ono K, Hasegawa K, Naiki H, Yamada M. Preformed beta-amyloid fibrils are destabilized by coenzyme Q10 in vitro. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2005 Apr 29;330(1):111-6.
32. Al-Thakafy HS, Khoja SM, Al-Marzouki ZM, Zailaie MZ, Al-Marzouki KM. Alterations of erythrocyte free radical defense system, heart tissue lipid peroxidation, and lipid concentration in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats under coenzyme Q10 supplementation. Saudi Med J. 2004 Dec;25(12):1824-30.
33. Cicero AF, Derosa G, Miconi A, et al. Possible role of ubiquinone in the treatment of massive hypertriglyceridemia resistant to PUFA and fibrates. Biomed Pharmacother. 2005 Jul;59(6):312-7.