Surprise Findings with Coenzyme Q10

Monday, February 06, 2017
By: Linda J. Dobberstein, Chiropractor, Board Certified in Clinical Nutrition

Coenzyme Q10 is one of the most important nutrients in the energy system of the body. It is also an integral antioxidant and helps promote healthy aging. It has an outstanding reputation for heart, cholesterol, and blood pressure support. Coenzyme Q10’s value reaches beyond those well-established benefits. This amazing nutrient has been shown to help with other concerns like menopause triggered brain-fog, depression, loss of ability to experience pleasure, spatial learning, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, fibromyalgia, chronic pain, serotonin, sperm motility, premature ovarian failure, and dry eye relief.

Coenzyme Q10 and Menopause Brain Fog

Menopause presents many challenges for women as hormones change. It tests energetic reserves and causes chaos in the body’s equilibrium. One common challenge women endure in menopause is brain fog, fuzzy thinking, and mental fatigue. Whether menopause is a natural transition or traumatically induced through a hysterectomy, brain stress often occurs. Hormonal disorder throws the body into tail-spin of high oxidative stress that affects proteins, lipids, and mitochondria within the brain. As a result, several antioxidants become taxed and function declines.

To mitigate menopause induced brain stress, researchers studied animals that were put into surgically induced menopause and administered coenzyme Q10 at a high dose. Dosage was equivalent to about 750 mg for 150 pound person. Results showed that within four weeks, cognitive functioning improved.

Menopause brain fog can last for months, even years in some individuals. It doesn’t have to be that way. Mitochondrial support and antioxidants including high dose coenzyme Q10 can help stop this life-disrupting brain fog.

Coenzyme Q10, Depression, and the Inability to Experience Pleasure

Anhedonia, or the inability to experience pleasure in life, is a concern seen with mental and physical exhaustion. When this occurs, things look bleak and uninteresting and the zest for life leaves.  It may cause a loss of enjoyment with social interaction, hobbies, exercise, music or even eating favorite foods. Anhedonia is often seen with depression, but is actually a symptom of stressed mitochondrial function within the brain. To understand how to resolve anhedonia, researchers gave stressed, depressed rodents four weeks of high dose coenzyme Q10. Symptoms markedly improved. The rodents went back to eating and doing their favorite activities. Due to the study, the authors recommended coenzyme Q10 as a more efficient drug therapy for depression. Consider using 300 – 600 mg per day for a month or two to see if this gets you back into the game.

Coenzyme Q10, CFS, Fibromyalgia, and Serotonin

Over the years, several studies have found coenzyme Q10 very helpful for individuals with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). Coenzyme Q10 assists compromised mitochondrial function and fights fatigue in individuals with CFS. It should be part of their daily nutritional regime as it supports mitochondria function, decreases fatigue, improves exercise tolerance and blood flow to the brain. Common dosages range from 200 mg to 800 per day for moderate to severe fatigue.

Fibromyalgia sufferers find benefit with coenzyme Q10 for fatigue, but also for their chronic widespread pain. A new discovery showed that insufficient coenzyme Q10 negatively affected serotonin content in blood platelets, which led to increased pain and depression symptoms. Coenzyme Q10 affected serotonin content, transmission and function, and improved mitochondria support within the brain. This led scientists to recommend this antioxidant as nutritional treatment for fibromyalgia, depression, and other disorders linked mitochondria and serotonin. We have often seen Q10 improve mood and depression symptoms and viewed this as an effect on energy. The understanding that Q10 affects serotonin helps solidify how outstanding and diverse its benefits really are.

Getting Lost?

Navigating our way through daily life, knowing where we are in space, where the car is parked, and how to get back home from familiar and new environments are skills associated with spatial memory. Spatial orientation is the ability to know where our body is at in space relative to our environment. The occasional wrong turn or forgetting where you parked the car are relatively minor concerns. More distressing is when your loved one can’t figure out how to get home and it is the same route they have taken for years. Getting lost or loss of spatial memory and orientation is one of the first clues of age-related decline. When this behavior occurs, it is the result of high levels of oxidative damage to mitochondria and proteins in the brain.

In studying mice that were getting lost, researchers experimented with coenzyme Q10 to see if they could change this outcome. Middle age and older age mice were compared. High dose coenzyme Q10 had the biggest impact on the oldest mice with age-related decline in spatial learning and higher levels of oxidative damage compared to the younger group. Consider trying a dose of 300 mg or more per day of coenzyme Q10 with your loved one as they age.

Coenzyme Q10 and the Aftermath of a Traumatic Brain Injury

Recovering from traumatic brain injury, like concussion, is another area of application for coenzyme Q10. After the initial concussive force, a secondary injury occurs as high levels of inflammatory chemicals are released in the brain. This creates a cloud of oxidative stress and microglial cell inflammation that can continue for an extended time. This response occurs primarily from mitochondrial injury and apoptosis, or cell death. Symptoms may be brain fatigue, mood changes, memory difficulties, and more difficulty using cognitive skills. The medical field increasingly recognizes that antioxidants like coenzyme Q10 and NAC, vitamin C and E are essential to brain recovery and help in the aftermath of traumatic brain injury. Antioxidant use early in recovery is like applying ice to a sprained ankle immediately after it occurs.

Neurodegenerative disorders are like a very slow onset traumatic brain injury that occurs over years. These disorders like Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease are linked with mitochondrial dysfunction and high levels of oxidative stress. Numerous studies point to Coenzyme Q10 and several other nutrients as safe, effective non-drug therapies.

Coenzyme Q10, Statins, Memory Loss and Depression

There are several medications that deplete coenzyme Q10. Most notorious are the cholesterol lowering statin drugs. Our heart muscle is one of the most energy intensive, mitochondria rich organs in the body. When heart mitochondria are injured, problems like arrhythmia, atrial fibrillation, congestive heart failure, broken heart syndrome, and heart attacks occur. Statin drugs strip Q10 out of muscles, including the heart, and cause muscle weakness and pain. This is a major cause for the increase in congestive heart failure across the world.

There is, however, more to the statins and the Q10 story. Statins strip coenzyme 10 out of the brain and leave mitochondria more vulnerable to inflammation and oxidative stress, which can cause memory loss. It is not just memory that statin drugs affect in the brain. Reports include severe irritability, depression, homicidal impulses, road rage, violence, paranoia, alienation, sleep disturbances with frequent awakenings, shorter sleep duration, early morning awakenings, nightmares, sleepwalking, night terrors, and loss of libido. The recommended treatment by scientists is coenzyme Q10 with omega-3 fish oil. Thankfully, they also recommended discontinuation of the drug. Use at least 200 mg minimum per day to offset the drug depletion effects. Higher doses up to 600 mg per day may be needed to offset the tissue damage and to get back on track.

Coenzyme Q10 and Infertility

Fertility issues and coenzyme Q10 may be surprising, but when you start thinking about mitochondria, DNA, reproduction and vitality, it becomes an “ah-hah” moment. Both men and women are affected by this. In one recent study, men who struggled with infertility issues associated with poor sperm motility, DNA integrity, health, and count, had compromised antioxidant status. It was identified that up to 80 percent of infertility cases were caused by oxidative stress and decreased levels of antioxidants in the semen. Researchers showed that coenzyme Q10 when combined vitamin E and vitamin C, improved the quality of semen in infertile men.

In women, age plays a role in the health of the eggs in the ovaries; viability, quantity and quality decline, especially by 40 years of age and older. Mitochondrial dysfunction and decreased energy production in the eggs are recognized as causes of age related infertility. Animal studies showed premature ovarian failure and female infertility could be prevented when given coenzyme Q10 due to its benefit to the mitochondria within the ovaries and eggs. 

Coenzyme Q10, Skin Warts, Shingles, and Herpes

Skin warts and skin lesions from HPV(human papillomavirus), herpes simplex, and herpes zoster are often treated with powerful toxic drugs. Viral activity from these disorders causes high levels of inflammation and oxidative stress to the largest organ of the body, the skin. Controlled clinical trials found people with these disorders had lower levels of antioxidants. When coenzyme Q10 and other antioxidants like vitamin E, selenium, and methionine were added to the patients’ treatment regime, treatment time was substantially reduced with much fewer relapses.

Coenzyme Q10, Infections, Asthma, COPD, Dry Eyes, and Cigarette Smoke Exposure

Influenza, viral infections, H1N1 pneumonia, childhood asthma, and COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) are acute or chronic conditions found with impaired coenzyme Q10 levels. In these disorders, high levels of oxidative damage (ROS) and reduced mitochondrial energy production occur. Q10 supplementation has been found to be highly beneficial to improve immune and respiratory function and more.

In fact, COPD patients improved lean body mass, increased exercise tolerance, reduced difficulty breathing, and improved quality of life when given 300 mg of Q10 along with another supplement, creatine, for muscle recovery. Children with asthma given coenzyme Q10 with vitamin E had less pulmonary inflammation and a reduction in oxidative stress. Keep in mind that coenzyme Q10 is not just for aging adults, children can benefit too.

There are two additional tissues in the body that received surprising benefit from Q10. New research shows that coenzyme Q10 is helpful for dry eyes associated with aging. It helps to protect the lacrimal tear duct from age related inflammation. Coenzyme Q10 has also been shown to protect the delicate blood-brain-barrier surrounding the brain from the toxic effects of cigarette smoke exposure. The list of benefits associated with coenzyme Q10 could go on even further, but you get the idea.

Coenzyme Q10 is a remarkable antioxidant and protects numerous tissues. It is integral to mitochondrial function and energy production. There are an estimated 2500 mitochondria for each cell in the human body, some tissues have more and some have less. Red blood cells are the only cells that do not have mitochondria. This means that over one quadrillion mitochondria exist in the human body, three times the number of body cells and twice the number of microorganisms found in the gut.

Quality of coenzyme Q10 is always an issue and can be the difference in whether you see its positive benefits. This is important to keep in mind when purposely supporting mitochondria and coenzyme Q10. Coenzyme Q10 must be in a fat-soluble form to get into brain because the brain is a fatty tissue. Crystal-free forms of Q10 provide better absorption rather than large crystal forms of Q10. At Wellness Resources, we continue to source our Q10 from only the finest Japanese supplier in the world, never using cheap Chinese imitations.

When evaluating nutritional needs, coenzyme Q10 is often just as necessary as the basic vitamins and minerals. From the age of 30 and older, we lose the ability to make Q10 naturally in our body and mitochondria acquire increasing levels of damage. Acute inflammation in all ages and aging leads to depleted coenzyme Q10 levels. Aging is inevitable, but healthy children and healthy aging is priceless. How is your Q10 status?

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