Life Extension Magazine®

Couple riding bikes after supplementing with selenium for health

In The News: February 2019

Selenium and CoQ10 slash mortality risk; GLA and omega-3 inhibit autism; adequate blood vitamin D lowers colon cancer risk; sufficient nicotinamide riboside blood levels inhibit Parkinson’s-related neuron loss.

Scientifically reviewed by: Holli Ryan, RD, LD/N, in August 2023. Written by: Life Extension Editorial Staff.

CoQ10 and Selenium Linked to Lower Mortality Risk

A report in PLOS One provides an update to a trial initiated in 2003 that evaluated the effects of four years of supplementation with selenium and coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10).*

In the original study, 443 men and women, average age 78 upon enrollment, received a placebo or CoQ10 plus selenium daily for 48 months.

During an average of 5.2 years, participants who received CoQ10 and selenium had less than half the risk of cardiovascular mortality of those who received a placebo.

A subsequent study documented a similarly reduced risk of cardiovascular mortality among those who received CoQ10 and selenium during a total of 10 years after the introduction of the supplements.

The current investigation found that after 12 years, the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease was still lower among those who received CoQ10 and selenium in the original four-year study.

At the end of the 12 year follow-up period, 28.1% of those who received CoQ10 and selenium died from cardiovascular disease compared to 45% of the placebo group.

* PLOS On e. 2018 Apr 11.


What you need to know

Lower mortality risk is linked with CoQ10 and Selenium; Omega-3 and GLA may help prevent Autism; Vitamin D may help decrease colon cancer risk; boosting NAD+ decreases mitochondrial dysfunction in neuronal cells from Parkinson’s patients.

Omega-3 and GLA Fatty Acids May Protect Against Autism

Woman holding a child

Researchers from Nationwide Children’s Hospital have found a potential protective effect for omega-3 fatty acid supplementation against the development of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) symptoms among children born preterm, who are at increased risk of ASD.*

The trial included 31 children who were born more than 11 weeks early. Fifteen children received a supplement that contained 338 mg of EPA, 225 mg of DHA,
and 83 mg of GLA, while the remainder received a canola oil placebo for 90 days.

Questionnaires completed by a parent at the beginning and end of the trial assessed ASD symptoms.

Children who received EPA, DHA, and GLA had a greater reduction in ASD symptoms than those who received the placebo. The researchers suggest decreased neuroinflammation as a potential mechanism for these omega-3 fatty acids.

Editor’s Note: “Currently, no medications are available to help children born prematurely with the developmental delays and behavior problems they often experience,” lead author Sarah Keim, PhD, observed. “For very young children, the medications that physicians sometimes try tend to have many side effects. And we don’t know what effect those medications have on brains that are still developing. If omega-3 fatty acid supplementation helps, it would have a really huge impact for these kids.”

* J Nutr. 2018 Feb 1;148(2):227-235.


Higher Vitamin D May Offer Colorectal Cancer Protection

table of high Omega foods

A large study has found a significant association between higher vitamin D levels and a lower risk of colorectal cancer.*

Scientists compared more than 5,700 individuals diagnosed with colorectal cancer cases and 7,100 control subjects from the United States, Europe, and Asia.

Individuals with vitamin D levels categorized as deficient had a 31% greater risk of colorectal cancer during a 5.5-year average follow-up period compared to those whose levels were considered sufficient for bone health.

Having vitamin D blood levels between 30-40 ng/mL was associated with a 22% lower risk.

Editor’s Note : First author Marji L. McCullough, ScD, concluded, “This study adds new information that agencies can use when reviewing evidence for vitamin D guidance and suggests that the concentrations recommended for bone health may be lower than would be optimal for colorectal cancer prevention.”

* J Natl Cancer Inst. 2018 Jun 14.


Nicotinamide Riboside Shows Promise for Parkinson’s Disease

Image of a hand with a floating brain

The journal Cell Reports documented findings of a potential benefit for nicotinamide riboside in Parkinson’s disease.*

Parkinson’s disease is characterized by the death of nerve cells in the substantia nigra region of the brain. Mitochondria contained in these cells are significantly damaged.

To determine whether boosting mitochondrial biogenesis and function with an NAD+ precursor reduces Parkinson’s disease pathology, researchers tested nicotinamide riboside’s effects in neuronal stem cells derived from Parkinson’s disease patients who had the most common Parkinson’s genetic defect and in fruit flies that also had the defective gene.

They found that increasing NAD+ by administering nicotinamide riboside ameliorated the mitochondrial dysfunction that is evident in the diseased cells.

In the Parkinson’s disease flies, nicotinamide riboside prevented age-related loss of neurons that produce dopamine and protected against a decline in mobility.

Editor’s Note: Nicotinamide riboside is a precursor of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+), an enzyme that plays an important role in the maintenance of healthy cellular metabolism, including support of the mitochondria (the energy-producing plants within our cells).

* Cell Rep . 2018 Jun 5;23(10):2976-2988.