- and increases the risk of degenerative disease and early death
It is commonly known that degenerative diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, kidney ailments, and liver diseases are often linked to poor quality of life and shorter lifespan. Supplementing with Q10, possibly in combination with selenium yeast, may have a positive influence on the mentioned conditions and lower your risk of premature death by as much as 50 percent or more. In fact, Q10 can help delay the ageing processes by protecting the heart, cardiovascular system, and cells, according to a large review article published online by NCBI (National Center for Biotechnology Information). As mentioned in this article, it is essential to use supplements that are pharmaceutical-grade in order to ensure proper absorption in blood and tissue.
Our health and lifespan depend on different factors such as genes, environment, diet and lifestyle. A healthy 70-year-old without any chronic diseases may expect to live to be 90 or 100 years old, according to the statistics, while a 70-year-old that has chronic conditions may not live more than another eight years at the most. Chronic ailments cause more deaths than anything else and are associated with deteriorating quality of life, partly due to the disease itself but also because of side effects of taking prescribed medicine to treat these conditions. It is therefore important to prevent such diseases, and a lot can be achieved through proper diet, exercise and choosing the right lifestyle. It may also be a good idea to take supplements of Q10 and selenium yeast, as mentioned in the review article, as this can prevent or ameliorate cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, kidney ailments, and liver diseases.
What is Q10 and how does it work?
Q10 is a unique molecule with different functions. The human body synthesizes most of the Q10 for its own needs, and the liver is the main supplier. However, our endogenous Q10 synthesis decreases as we grow older, and it is also impaired by certain types of medicine and a number of diseases. Supplementing with Q10 has a positive effect by supporting the following functions:
- Supports the cellular energy turnover (ATP production) inside the mitochondria. The heart, liver, kidneys and other organs contain a lot of Q10 because of their enormous need for energy. With increasing age, the Q10 content in these organs decreases.
- Functions as a powerful antioxidant that protects lipids, cells, and mitochondria against potentially harmful free radicals
- Counteracts oxidative stress, which is a disrupted balance between potentially harmful free radicals and protective antioxidants
- Protects against inflammation, which is involved in the majority of chronic ailments, even those that do not cause noticeable symptoms
- Involved in DNA replication and activation
- Involved in the repair of damaged DNA
Several studies have demonstrated a positive effect of Q10 on cardiovascular disease. The above-mentioned review article lists two studies: Q-SYMBIO (conducted with heart failure patients) and KiSel-10 (carried out with healthy individuals).
The Q-SYMBIO study: Q10 used a new type of treatment for heart failure
Heart tissue samples taken from people with heart failure show a clear link between Q10 levels and cardiac strength. The weaker the heart, the lower the Q10 content in heart muscle cells. Scientists therefore found it rather obvious to study the effect of giving Q10 to heart failure patients.
The New York Heart Association (NYHA) categorizes heart failure in four classes, depending on the severity of symptoms like breathing difficulty, pain, and heart palpitations.
- I No limitation of physical activity. Ordinary physical activity does not cause
undue fatigue, palpitation, dyspnea (shortness of breath).
- II Slight limitation of physical activity. Comfortable at rest. Ordinary physical
activity results in fatigue, palpitation, dyspnea (shortness of breath).
- III Marked limitation of physical activity. Comfortable at rest. Less than ordinary physical activity causes fatigue, palpitation, or dyspnea.
- IV Unable to carry out any physical activity without discomfort. Symptoms
of heart failure at rest. If any physical activity is undertaken, discomfort
Q-SYMBIO is a groundbreaking study that was headed by the now deceased Danish cardiologist Svend Aage Mortensen from the Heart Center of Copenhagen University Hospital. The study included 420 heart failure patients (NYHA classes III or IV) from Europe, Asia, and Australia. All patients received conventional therapy for their condition. In addition, half of the patients were supplemented with 300 mg of pharmaceutical-grade Q10 daily, while the other half got matching placebo. After 16 weeks, the scientists observed that the patients taking Q10 had lowered levels of NT-proBNP, a “stress hormone” that is produced by the heart muscle when it is strained. Levels of NT-proBNP in the placebo group, on the other hand, went up. That way, the Q10 supplement appeared to help the heart muscle contract with less effort. After two years, there were 43% fewer heart-related deaths in the Q10 group compared with the placebo group. Moreover, there was a 43% reduction in hospitalizations among those treated with Q10. The scientists said on behalf of their study results that Q10 should be viewed as a new and groundbreaking adjuvant for treating heart failure.
There are two main types of Q10
The KiSel-10 study: Improved quality of life and half as many deaths among older people
The KiSel-10 study is also groundbreaking in that it was conducted with older but otherwise healthy people. The whole purpose of this study was to investigate if supplements of Q10 and selenium could slow down aging processes that had already started and possibly even help people live longer. The study included 443 men and women aged 70-88 years. They were divided in two groups:
- One group was given a combination of 200 mg of Q10 and 200 micrograms of selenium yeast daily. Both supplements were pharmaceutical-grade.
- The other group got matching placebo
The study, a double-blinded, randomized, controlled trial, was carried out by the Swedish cardiologist, Professor Urban Alehagen, and his team of scientists from the University of Linköping and Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm. The study lasted five years. All participants lived in the little town Kisa in Sweden. The trial name – KiSel-10 – is a combination of Kisa, selenium, and Q10.
It made perfect sense to give the participants the combination of selenium and Q10, simply because the body’s Q10 synthesis decreases with age and because Scandinavians get very little selenium from their diets due to low selenium levels in the soil. Selenium is essential for the body’s ability to convert Q10 from one form to the other. Moreover, selenium is a vital constituent of the important GPX antioxidant systems, and older people with low selenium status are at increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
Every six months, the scientists measured levels of different markers of heart function and inflammatory processes that may cause oxidative stress and atherosclerosis. The quality of life of the participants was also assessed using questionnaires. The KiSel-10 study showed that the participants in the supplemented group had:
- Improved quality of life
- Better heart function
- Fewer hospitalizations
- 54% lower cardiovascular mortality
The KiSel-10 study is published in International Journal of Cardiology. A follow-up study after 10 and 12 years respectively showed that the combination of Q10 and selenium yeast has a long-term effect on heart function and lifespan. Continued use of the supplements is expected to generate an even more convincing effect.
Did you know that a 65-year-old person produces half as much Q10 as someone who is 25?
Q10 and cholesterol-lowering medicine
Cholesterol-lowering drugs (also known as statins) work by blocking the liver enzyme HMG-CoA, which is also used in the body’s synthesis of Q10. In other words, statins inhibit the body’s Q10 production. This tends to affect organs that need a lot of energy such as the heart, muscles, and brain. The typical side effects of using statins are fatigue, difficulty with concentrating, muscle pain, and physical and mental weakness. In the long run, other side effects may surface as a result of the depleted Q10 levels. The compound is a vital antioxidant that protects against oxidative stress. Statin users are therefore advised to take 100 mg of Q10 daily as a supplement.
Diabetes, Q10 and statins
The new review article refers to around 15 randomized, controlled studies that show how Q10 supplementation may have a positive effect on type 2 diabetes by way of the different mechanisms mentioned earlier.
Q10’s positive effect on blood glucose levels and blood lipids has been demonstrated in a new meta-analysis by Zhang et al. Earlier studies show that daily supplementation with 200 mg of Q10 for three months reduces oxidative stress and lowers the risk of atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease. Also, supplementation with 100 mg of Q10 for a three-month period significantly reduces the type of inflammation that is seen in diabetic neuropathy. The problems are caused by damage to the nervous system that controls the cardiovascular functions, and the complications are linked to an increased risk of disease and death. Furthermore, the use of statins (especially simvastatin) increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 10-40 percent. Statin users should take supplements of Q10, as it also lowers their risk of side effects such as type 2 diabetes.
|It is paradoxical that statins increase your risk of diabetes, which in itself increases the risk of atherosclerosis and heart failure.|
Kidney disease, Q10, and statins
It appears that levels of Q10 in patients with chronic kidney disease are significantly lower than they are in healthy people. There is reason to believe that Q10 supplements can improve kidney function by way of the mentioned mechanisms, and that may decrease the need for dialysis.
In a randomized, controlled study, 97 patients with chronic kidney disease received a 100 mg Q10 supplement three times daily or matching placebo. In the group taking Q10, the scientists observed a significant improvement of markers of kidney function (e.g. serum creatinine) – both in the patients that received dialysis therapy and those that did not. Hence, where the 21 patients in the treatment group were originally in need of dialysis, the number was suddenly reduced to 12, while the need for dialysis among the 24 patients in the placebo group remained unchanged.
Patients with chronic kidney disease have an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Their risk is 10-20 times higher than among healthy individuals. Around 50 percent of fatalities among chronic kidney patients are a result of cardiovascular disease and not kidney failure as such. A meta-analysis (Bakhshayeshkaram et al.) has demonstrated that Q10 supplementation of patients with chronic kidney disease significantly improves the health of blood vessel walls, levels of cholesterol, markers of oxidative stress, and levels of serum creatinine.
Also, it is assumed that there may be mitochondrial defects in connection with chronic kidney ailments. Because of that, patients are increasingly vulnerable to statin therapy, as the impaired endogenous Q10 synthesis inhibits mitochondrial energy turnover additionally.
Liver ailments, type 2 diabetes, alcohol, and poisoning
As mentioned earlier, Q10 is synthesized in the entire body, and the liver produces the major part. In patients with liver ailments, lower Q10 synthesis has been observed, and that is particularly likely to affect the heart function negatively
In the case of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), fat accumulates in the liver due to a disturbed sugar metabolism with too much fructose (e.g. from fruit, sugar, corn syrup and a sweetener called High-Fructose Corn Syrup or HFCS). This literally turns the liver into a fat factory. NAFLD is often a part of metabolic syndrome (or syndrome X), which is an early stage of type 2 diabetes. NAFLD is therefore associated with an increased risk of atherosclerosis and heart failure.
Alcohol-related liver ailments are caused by an overconsumption of ethanol, which also interferes with the liver’s fat metabolism. There are different levels of severity ranging from fatty liver to fibrosis and atherosclerosis, while a smaller group of patients develop liver cirrhosis. Alcohol burdens the liver by increasing free radicals and oxidative stress. The same
is the case with metabolic syndrome.
Q10 supplements are believed to have a positive impact on patients with liver disease because of its function as a powerful antioxidant and its ability to counteract free radicals and oxidative stress. Numerous studies of animals that have been exposed to different toxins – including medicine and poisonous chemicals show that Q10 supplementation helps reduce the toxic damage and the negative impact on the liver, because Q10 works as an antioxidant and counteracts inflammation.
Only few studies have looked at Q10 supplements and their effect on humans with liver ailments. Nonetheless, two randomized, controlled studies show that supplementation with 100 mg of Q10 daily for four or 12 weeks results in significant reductions of blood markers of inflammation and liver damage in patients with non-alcoholic liver disease.
It is important to choose a pharmaceutical-grade Q10 preparation
In their new review article, the authors look closer at the quality of Q10 products and how that can affect the outcome of scientific studies. For example, the effect of a patented Q10 preparation has demonstrated positive results in several published studies, but these results are not applicable to other Q10 products. The reason is that humans have difficulty with absorbing Q10, unless the substance is dissolved into individual molecules. This requires using a combination of oils with different melting points and a special heating technique.
There are no particular requirements regarding the quality and content of nutritional supplements. In other words, consumers normally have no way of knowing if the product contains the declared amount of Q10 or if the Q10 content is effectively absorbed in the blood and able to reach the cells. Because of this, the authors of the article advise people to choose a pharmaceutical-grade Q10 product that is manufactured in compliance with the same quality and safety rules as medical drugs.
Q10 is available in the form of ubiquinone and ubiquinol. Most studies are conducted with ubiquinone, which is far more stable, and which the body converts into ubiquinol as needed. Ubiquinol in supplements is quite vulnerable because it oxidizes as soon as it is exposed to oxygen during its transit through the stomach to the small intestine. When that happens, ubiquinol is converted to ubiquinone again, which brings us back to square one. When choosing Q10 supplements, one should always make sure to select a preparation that can document its absorbability and guarantee that the active compounds is able to reach the cells and their mitochondria.
David Mantle and Lain Hargreaves. Coenzyme Q10 and Degenerative Disorders Affecting Longevity: An Overview. Antioxidants (Basel) Published online 2019 Feb
Mortensen, Svend A. Overview on coenzyme Q10 as adjunctive therapy in chronic heart failure. Rationale, design and endpoints on “Q-Symbio –A multinational trial. Biofactors 18 (2003) IOS Press
Alehagen U, et al. Cardiovascular mortality and N-Terminal-proBNP reduced after combined selenium and coenzyme Q10 supplementation. Int J Cardiol. 2012
Hannou SA et al. Fructose metabolism and metabolic disease. J. Clin Invest 2018
Pernille Lund. Q10 – fra helsekost til epokegørende medicin. Ny Videnskab 2014
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