Posted on Oct 23, 2018, 11 a.m.
The Anti-Aging Potential of CoQ10 and Selenium
The search for extending lifespan and healthspan is vigorous and a recent symposium (1) featured predictions of immortality by 2029. While many paths hold promise, a simple approach to life extension that has been subjected to human peer-reviewed randomized clinical studies is often ignored. Here a discussion of the combination of coQ10 and selenium is the focus on a proven strategy to extend lifespan.
What does CoQ10 do?
COQ10 is made by the human body and may be the most abundant antioxidant cells producing energy like the heart and brain. In fact, CoQ10 is concentrated right in the mitochondria to counter the free oxygen radicals (rust) produced during energy production (2).
CoQ10 is also used in the production of energy (ATP) itself and all cells would stop working if we had none. When we reach about age 40 the production of CoQ10 throughout the body begins to fall. In disease states like congestive heart failure, it may fall even further.
How can you boost levels of CoQ10?
Levels can be boosted by eating foods rich in CoQ10, such as whole grains, fish, and organ meats (liver, heart, kidney). CoQ10 is also widely available as a supplement and taking extra CoQ10 boosts blood and tissue levels. It is available in a reduced form called ubiquinol.
Can you use CoQ10 to manage medical issues?
Over 35 illness where studies have been done with some support for CoQ10.
- Congestive Heart Failure.
This serious weakening of the heart effects the quality and quantity of life for many people. I have seen many of my patients show improved heart function by adding CoQ10. A major scientific presentation reported on 420 patients with congestive heart failure who got CoQ10 or placebo. After two years, 25% of the patients on placebo had an event but only 14% in those on CoQ10. Even more impressive, 17% of patients died in the placebo group versus 9% in the CoQ10 arm. Other studies support improved cardiac function with coQ10 (3).
- Diabetes mellitus type 2
A number of studies have been done on the impact of coQ10 on type 2 diabetes (4). Overall, there is a trend to more normal insulin sensitivity and lower measures of glycemia with coQ10 dosing.
Elevated blood pressure affects tens of millions of persons and may have genetic and lifestyle abnormalities at its root cause. The Cochrane Database Review looked at studies of CoQ10 for hypertension and found an average 11 mmHg BP drop, similar to many prescription medications (5) .
- Parkinson’s Disease (PD).
This common progressive neurologic disorder is associated with increased production of oxygen radicals. While some studies have found that a deficiency in the antioxidant CoQ10 was 4 times as likely among people with PD compared to the general population, a recent meta-analysis could not confirm a definite clinical benefit (6).
- Gum disease
Inflammation of the gums is called periodontal disease and may trigger inflammation that effects the whole body, including blood vessels and the heart. CoQ10 may be deficient in gum disease but boosting levels in the gums by taking supplements or applying CoQ10 topically can be an effective approach and research studies show faster healing (7).
In a rural municipality in Sweden, four hundred forty-three healthy elderly individuals were randomized to 200 mg coQ10 and 200 mg selenium together or placebo. Selenium intake is often low in Europe and it supports healthy antioxidant activity. After 12 years of follow-up, a significantly reduced cardiovascular mortality could be seen in those supplemented with selenium and coenzyme Q10, with a CV mortality of 28.1% in the active treatment group, and 38.7% in the placebo group. In those with ischemic heart disease, diabetes, hypertension and impaired functional capacity, a significantly reduced CV mortality risk.
While the exact mechanisms behind the effects of coQ10 remain to be fully elucidated, including effects on cardiac function, oxidative stress, fibrosis and inflammation, the addition of coQ10, perhaps with selenium, is a very hopeful component of an anti-aging program.