Fight Aging with Coenzyme Q10
The other day in my biochemistry class, my professor was lecturing about the role of a molecule called coenzyme Q10 (also known as coenzyme Q, ubiquinone, and CoQ10). He briefly mentioned that it may play a role in preventing aging. This intrigued me, so I did a little research of my own outside of class. Here's a breakdown of what I found out:
What causes aging?
- There is evidence that aging results from damage to DNA. All of the cells in your body contain DNA, and it is DNA that tells your cells to make all of the things they need to survive. When DNA becomes damaged, it can't do its job properly, which can cause the cell to die. Free radicals are one of the DNA damaging culprits. They are produced by some reactions that take place in your body.
- Levels of coenzyme Q10 in your body decrease as you get older. This suggests that Coenzyme Q10 may be linked to aging and, if this is the case, taking supplements to boost your levels of Coenzyme Q10 may prevent aging.
What is coenzyme Q10?
- Coenzyme Q10 is found in almost all of your cells. It is involved in producing energy for your body and also acts as an antioxidant. Antioxidants are able to remove free radicals and can prevent the reactions that produce free radicals from taking place.
Do Coenzyme Q10 supplements work?
- In a study of the effects of coenzyme Q on lifespan, rats that were given diets supplemented with coenzyme Q10 had average life spans that were 11.7% higher than the rats that weren't given coenzyme Q10. Although this study wasn't performed on humans, it is possible that similar positive effects would occur for us.
- Studies have shown that coenzyme Q10 can have positive effects on heart health, migraines, cancer, blood pressure, Parkinson's disease, and several other conditions.
- Coenzyme Q10 is present in many prenatal vitamins because it has been shown to prevent pre-eclampsia, a complication in 6-8% of all pregnancies. Research has not been performed, however, to determine how safe coenzyme Q10 supplements are to take during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
- As with any supplement, there are some possible minor side effects, such as rashes, nausea, stomach pain, dizziness, headaches, etc.
So far, coenzyme Q10 supplements seem to be fairly safe to take, although I would think twice before using them during pregnancy unless you have had previous issues with pre-eclampsia. I'm sure that there will be many more studies on coenzyme Q10 and it's effects, so stay tuned for more information about this potential anti-aging miracle supplement.
Quiles, J.L., Ochoa, J. J., Huertas, J.R., & Mataix, J. (2004). Coenzyme Q supplementation protects from age-related DNA double-strand breaks and increases lifespan in rats fed on a PUFA-rich diet. Experimental Gerontology, 39(2), 189.
Huertas, J. R., & Martinez-Velasco, E. E. (1999). Virgin olive oil and coenzyme Q10 protect heart mitochondria from peroxidative damage during aging. Biofactors, 9(2-4), 337.