Co-Q10 decreases inflammation and protects your muscular and neurological systems

CoQ10  (short for Coenzyme Q10) is an essential element for many daily functions and is required by every single cell in the body. As an antioxidant that protects cells from the effects of aging, CoQ10 has been used in medicine practices for decades, especially in the case of treating heart problems.

Still today, one of the most common and thoroughly researched uses of CoQ10 is helping protect the heart and blood vessels from the damaging effects of oxidative stress (also called free radical damage). Many consumers turn to CoQ10 supplements to help manage health conditions, including heart arrhythmia, high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, atherosclerosis and congestive heart failure.

Research shows that patients with other inflammatory health conditions, such as breast cancer, diabetes, viruses and infertility, may also find these supplements helpful for both prevention of complications and treatment of symptoms.


What Is CoQ10?

The name may not sound very natural, but CoQ10 is in fact an essential nutrient that works like an antioxidant in the body. In its active form, it’s called ubiquinone or ubiquinol. It’s synthesized within the body naturally and used for important functions, such as supplying cells with energy, transporting electrons and regulating blood pressure levels. (1) The reason it’s not considered to be a “vitamin” is because all animals, including humans, can make small amounts of coenzymes on their own even without the help of food.

How CoQ10 Works:

  • To sustain enough energy to perform bodily functions, inside our cells tiny organelles called mitochondria take fat and other nutrients and turn them into useable sources of energy. This conversion process requires the presence of CoQ10.
  • As a “coenzyme,” CoQ10 also helps other enzymes work to digest food properly.
  • CoQ10 is not only necessary for producing cellular energy, but also for defending cells from damage caused by harmful free radicals.
  • Coenzyme Q10 can exist in three different oxidation states, and the ability in some forms to accept and donate electrons is a critical feature in its biochemical functions that cancel out free radical damage.
  • As a powerful antioxidant, CoQ10 can increase absorption of other essential nutrients. It’s been shown that it helps recycle vitamin C and vitamin E, further maximizing the effects of vitamins and antioxidants that are already at work in the body.
  • Although the body has the ability to make some CoQ10 on its own, production naturally declines as we age — just when we need our cells to help defend us most. This means we can all benefit from consuming more CoQ10, both naturally within from our diets, and also from high-quality supplements.

Who Should Take CoQ10?

According to work done by Oregon State University, natural synthesis of CoQ10, plus dietary intake, appears to provide sufficient amounts to help prevent deficiency in healthy people — however as explained above, the body produces less CoQ10 as someone gets older. (2)

The natural ability to convert CoQ10 into its active form called ubiquinol declines during the aging process. This decline is most apparent in people over the age of 40, particularly those taking statin drugs. It’s also been found that people with diabetes, cancer and congestive heart failure tend to have decreased plasma levels of coenzyme Q10.

For these reasons, CoQ10 is recommended most for people with heart problems. This can include anyone suffering from:

In addition to supporting a healthy cardiovascular system, CoQ10 has also been found to have the following benefits:

  • Helps lower fatigue and boosts stamina
  • Defends against free radicals and typical signs of aging, including muscle loss and skin changes
  • Restores the power of antioxidants, including vitamin E and vitamin C
  • Stabilizes blood sugar
  • Supports healthy gums
  • Reduces muscular dystrophy
  • Helps treat cognitive disorders, including Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s
  • Results in metabolic improvement in patients with hereditary mitochondrial disorders
  • May be able to help treat other conditions, including cancer, hormone imbalances, diabetes, viruses and infections

6 Benefits of CoQ10

1. Sustains Natural Energy

CoQ10 plays a role in “mitochondrial ATP synthesis,” which is the conversion of raw energy from foods (carbohydrates and fats) into the form of energy that our cells use called adenosine triphosphate (ATP). This conversion process requires the presence of coenzyme Q in the inner mitochondrial membrane. One of its roles is to accept electrons during fatty acid and glucose metabolism and then transfer them to electron acceptors. (3) The process of making ATP has many benefits, from preserving muscle mass to helping regulate appetite and body weight.

2. Reduces Free Radical Damage 

Oxidative damage (or free radical damage) of cell structures plays an important role in the functional declines that accompany aging and cause disease. As a fat-soluble antioxidant, CoQ10 has been found to inhibit lipid peroxidation, which occurs when cell membranes and low-density lipoproteins are exposed to oxidizing conditions that enter from outside the body.

In fact, when LDL is oxidized, CoQ10 is one of the first antioxidants consumed to help offset the effects. Within mitochondria, coenzyme Q10 has been found to protect membrane proteins and DNA from the oxidative damage that accompanies lipid peroxidation and neutralize free radicals directly that contribute to nearly all age-related diseases (heart disease, cancer, diabetes, etc.).

3. Can Improve Heart Health and Offset Effects of Statin Drugs

Although experts feel that additional well-controlled clinical trials are still needed to prove its effects, CoQ10 has strong potential  for prevention and treatment of heart ailments by improving cellular bioenergetics, acting as an antioxidant and boosting free radical-scavenging abilities. A 2015 report published in Frontiers in Bioscience referenced earlier stated that “CoQ10 deficiencies are due to autosomal recessive mutations, mitochondrial diseases, aging-related oxidative stress and carcinogenesis processes, and also a secondary effect of statin treatment.”

What we do know is that CoQ10 supplementation seems to be useful for those taking statins, since it lowers side effects that they often cause. Statins are used to reduce an enzyme in the liver that not only decreases the production of cholesterol, but also further lowers the natural production of CoQ10. It’s now widely accepted that CoQ10 can interact with lipid lowering medications that inhibit the activity of HMG-CoA reductase, a critical enzyme in both cholesterol and coenzyme Q10 biosynthesis. A supplement of CoQ10 is therefore essential to restore natural levels to their optimum and counter the effects of statin drugs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Slows Down Effects of Aging

Mitochondrial ATP synthesis is an important function for maintaining a fast metabolism, strength of muscles, strong bones, youthful skin and healthy tissue. Tissue levels of coenzyme Q10 have been reported to decline with age, and this is believed to contribute to declines in energy metabolism and degeneration of organs, such as the liver and heart, and skeletal muscle.

Although supplementing with CoQ10 has not been shown to increase the life span of animals that have been tested with it, researchers believe it can slow down the age-related increase in DNA damage that naturally affect us all. More research is still needed to draw conclusions, but possible anti-aging benefits of consuming more CoQ10 include decreased muscle loss, less signs of skin damage, and protection from bone or joint injuries.

5. Helps Maintain Optimal pH Levels

Within cells, CoQ10 helps transport proteins across membranes and separate certain digestive enzymes from the rest of the cell, which helps maintain optimal pH. It’s believed that diseases develop more easily in environments that don’t have proper pH levels, specifically those that are not overly acidic.

For several reasons, likely including its ability to maintain proper pH, several studies have found that CoQ10 can help improve overall immune function and might even lower risk for cancer. Starting around the 1960s, researchers began testing the effects of CoQ10 on immune function and found that people with certain types of cancers (myeloma, lymphoma, breast, lung, prostate, pancreas and colon) had reduced levels in their blood. Recently, studies involving adult women with breast cancer found that when patients supplemented with CoQ10, the women’s conditions improved. (4)

6. Protects Cognitive Health

In those with cognitive impairments, such as Parkinson’s disease, increased oxidative stress in a part of the brain called the substantia nigra is thought to contribute to symptoms. CoQ10 has been shown to offset decreases in activity of mitochondrial electron transport chains that affect nerve channels and brain function, and studies show that people with cognitive disorders tend to have reduced levels of CoQ10 in their blood. (5)

Several studies have investigated the effects of CoQ10 in individuals with Parkinson’s disease. One randomized, placebo-controlled trial that evaluated the efficacy of 300, 600 or 1,200 milligrams a day given to 80 people with early Parkinson’s disease found that supplementation was well-tolerated and associated with slower deterioration of cognitive functions compared to the placebo. Other trials have shown that around 360 milligrams a day taken for four weeks moderately benefited Parkinson’s disease patients. (6)


Best Ways to Increase CoQ10 Naturally: CoQ10-Rich Foods

CoQ10 is found naturally in our diets from foods, including fish, liver, kidney and the germs of whole grain. The richest natural sources of dietary coenzyme Q10 are meat, poultry and fish, but vegetarian options, such as beans, nuts, some vegetables, eggs and dairy products, are also helpful for increasing your intake. (7)

My recommendation for the very best foods for supplying CoQ10 include:

  • Grass-fed beef
  • Herring
  • Free-range chicken
  • Rainbow trout
  • Sesame seeds
  • Pistachio nuts
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Oranges
  • Strawberries
  • Cage-free eggs
  • Sardines
  • Mackerel

Currently, there is no specific dietary intake recommendations for CoQ10 that has been established from the Institute of Medicine or other agencies. Because it’s a fat-soluble antioxidant, it’s most easily absorbed when consumed with a small amount of healthy fats (just like vitamins E and A). Although it can be obtained from certain foods, foods tend to only supply low doses, which is exactly why many experts recommend supplementing if you’re older or have a heart condition.

Symptoms of deficiency have not been widely reported or studied in much detail in the general population. It’s estimated that the average person’s diet contributes around 25 percent of total CoQ10. The best way to obtain enough is to eat a varied, nutrient-dense diet, PLUS to consider supplementing if you’re at risk for a heart-related or inflammatory condition.


How to Find and Use CoQ10 Supplements

COQ10 is found in such low quantities in most foods that even a healthy diet might be an impractical way to meet the daily recommended dosages. Taking a daily, high-quality CoQ10 supplement in capsule form (which helps with easier absorption into the bloodstream) can close the bridge between this gap.

CoQ10 Supplement Dosage:

  • According to a survey done by ConsumerLab.com including over 50 CoQ10 products tested, the suggested daily serving size ranges from 30 milligrams to 1,000 milligrams daily. (8)
  • Most experts recommend that adults take at least 200 milligrams daily to experience benefits.
  • Those on statins or weighing over 200 pounds should consider a higher dose.

How much do these products typically cost, and how can you find a trustworthy brand?

  • The cost of taking 100 milligrams ranged from 8 cents to over $3 depending on the specific brand and strength.
  • What’s important, and makes a big difference in terms of the benefits you’ll get from taking supplements, is that the concentration is actually equal to the amount listed. Some products use fillers or enhancers and may even supply less of a dosage than the manufacturer claims.
  • Look for products with reviews, certifications ensuring the listed dosage is correct, and as minimal preservatives or fillers as possible.

CoQ10 Precautions and Side Effects 

Although it’s considered to be very safe overall and has been used in the medical field for many years, CoQ10 side effects can sometimes include: (9)

  • Mild insomnia, elevated levels of liver enzymes, rashes, nausea, upper abdominal pain, dizziness, sensitivity to light, irritability, headache, heartburn and fatigue.
  • Interacting with statin drugs: Coenzyme Q10 supplements can decrease the anticoagulant efficacy of statins like warfarin and other common cholesterol-lowering medications (such as those known as HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor statins). Talk to your doctor about being monitored if you take these medications.
  • In some cases, CoQ10 supplementation might also lower blood sugar and cause a decrease insulin requirements. People with diabetes who are taking medications to control blood glucose should monitor their conditions if taking CoQ10.
  • Always read dosage instructions and start with a lower dose, working your way up. You can minimize side effects by splitting up your daily dose in smaller doses around 100 milligrams.
  • If you’re pregnant or breast-feeding, mention any supplements you’re taking to your doctor to ensure they are safe.

Final Thoughts on CoQ10

  •  CoQ10, also called Coenzyme Q10 or ubiquinone, is a natural substance that helps fight oxidative stress and prevent tissue damage.
  • Benefits include slowing the effects of aging, protecting cognitive health, improving metabolic functions and improving heart health.
  • Coenzyme Q10 is produced by the body naturally and also found in small amounts in meats, fish, nuts, seeds, veggies and eggs. However, our ability to produce and use it decreases significantly with age.
  • CoQ10 supplement dosages range between 30—1,000 milligrams/daily, but some doctors recommend taking around 200—300 milligrams per day (in divided dose).

Collagen Supplements May Help Manage Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, characterized by the breakdown of cartilage within joints (1).

Pain killers or anti-inflammatory medications can help reduce symptoms, but their impact on arthritis is limited (2).

Dietary supplements containing collagen may also be effective. Recently, scientists examined the effects of undenatured type II collagen on symptoms of osteoarthritis.

Background

Type II collagen is found in articular cartilage, which helps the joints move smoothly and prevents the bones from rubbing together when you move.

Previous studies indicate that taking type II collagen supplements may reduce joint pain and stiffness for people who have rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis (34).

However, the collagen in supplements is sometimes processed by heating. This type of collagen is referred to as denatured collagen, which may be less beneficial than undenatured collagen (5).

Undenaturated type II collagen (UC-II) is a patented dietary supplement produced from chicken cartilage.

Several previous studies have found that UC-II may significantly relieve symptoms in people with arthritis. Below is an overview of their findings from over the years:

  • 2002: Taking 10 grams of UC-II for 42 days significantly reduced pain and morning joint stiffness (6).
  • 2009: Supplementing with 40 grams of UC-II for 90 days improved symptoms of osteoarthritis by 33% — significantly more than glucosamine plus chondroitin (7).
  • 2013: Supplementing with 40 grams of UC-II for 120 days improved knee joint mobility. However, joint pain did not decrease (8).

Article Reviewed

Scientists from Interhealth Nutraceuticals and the University of California examined the effects of UC-II supplements on knee osteoarthritis symptoms.

Efficacy and tolerability of an undenatured type II collagen supplement in modulating knee osteoarthritis symptoms: a multicenter randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study.

Study Design

The purpose of this double-blind, randomized, controlled trial was to examine the effects of undenatured type II collagen (UC-II) on symptoms of knee osteoarthritis.

The study, which lasted for 180 days, was conducted at 13 research centers in southern India. The 191 participants were randomly assigned to one of three groups:

  • UC-II: Participants took two capsules, containing 40 mg of a UC-II supplement, every day. This dose provided 1.2 mg of bioactive UC-II.
  • GC: This group took capsules containing a mixture of glucosamine hydrochloride (1500 mg) and chondroitin sulfate (1200 mg) each day.
  • Placebo: Participants in this group took a placebo, which had no effects on osteoarthritis.

At the beginning and end of the study, the researchers assessed the symptoms of osteoarthritis using the Western Ontario McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC).

Other measurements included knee mobility, joint function, subjective ratings of pain and circulating levels of inflammatory markers.

164 arthritic men and women completed the study, or 86% of those who started.

Bottom Line: This was a randomized, controlled trial examining the effects of undenatured type II collagen (UC-II) on osteoarthritis symptoms.

Finding 1: UC-II Improved Symptoms

Osteoarthritis symptoms were calculated from the results of the WOMAC questionnaire, which contains three subscales: pain, stiffness and knee function.

The score ranged from 0–2400, from no symptoms to severe pain and dysfunction.

Supplementing with UC-II improved the overall WOMAC score by 39%, significantly more than the placebo or GC. These results can be seen in the chart below.

When the subscales of the WOMAC were examined separately, UC-II significantly improved symptoms in all of them.

Conversely, participants in the GC group experienced no statistically significant improvements.

Bottom Line: Supplementing with UC-II, 40 mg/day for 180 days, significantly improved subjective ratings of knee osteoarthritis symptoms.

Finding 2: UC-II Improved Knee Joint Function

Knee joint function was estimated using the Lequesne Functional Index (LFI), which is a 10-question survey assessing pain, walking distance and activities of daily living.

The LFI score ranged from 0–24, from no symptoms to a severe condition.

For the participants who supplemented with UC-II, the LFI score improved by 37%, compared to the start of the study.

This improvement was significantly greater than in the GC group or the placebo group, which can be seen in the chart below.

These results were consistent with the results of the WOMAC questionnaire, which showed that supplementing with UC-II improved knee joint function by 39% and stiffness by 41%.

Bottom Line: Supplementing with UC-II significantly improved knee joint function and stiffness.

Finding 3: UV-II Reduced Knee Pain

Knee pain was assessed using a visual analog scale (VAS) questionnaire, which included 7 pain-related questions.

Supplementing with UC-II improved ratings on the VAS scale by 39%. This was greater than both the GC group or the placebo, as shown in the chart below.

These results were supported by the pain subscale of the WOMAC questionnaire, showing a 41% reduction in knee pain.

However, despite improvements in pain, inflammatory markers did not decrease significantly.

Bottom Line: Supplementing with UC-II significantly improved knee joint pain, compared to the GC or placebo supplements.

Limitations

The study had a few potential limitations. First, the results were based on subjective ratings of symptoms, which are prone to bias.

Second, the study was solely funded by InterHealth Nutraceuticals, the company that owns the patent for UC-II.

Additionally, all study materials were supplied by Interhealth Nutraceuticals, and two of the paper’s authors were employees of the company.

However, the study was independently conducted by an Indian company, Laila Pharmaceuticals. Also, an independent statistician performed all analyses and calculations.

Although there is no specific reason to doubt the findings, the results should be confirmed by an independent research group.

Bottom Line: The study’s main limitation was a potential conflict of interest. However, apart from funding the study and writing the paper, independent partners conducted the study itself.

Summary and Real-Life Application

In short, this study showed that supplementing with 40 mg (two capsules) of undenatured type II collagen (UC-II) improved symptoms of osteoarthritis.

Specifically, UC-II improved knee function and reduced pain and stiffness.

Simply put, if you have osteoarthritis, taking UC-II could make a difference.

Top 11 Inflammation-Fighting Foods to Stock Up On

For many people, they think that inflammation is a bad thing. Actually, inflammation is not. It’s an essential part of the body’s immune system. It is the body’s attempt to heal itself after an injury. Inflammation is also a way that the body defends itself against foreign invaders, like bacteria and harmful viruses. And lastly, it’s a way the body repairs damaged cells and tissues.

With an increase of attention to a specific area of the body, there will be swelling, redness, heat, and some pain or discomfort.

How Is Inflammation Harmful?

When you think about it, wounds fester and infections become deadlier without inflammation.

On the other hand, this condition can also be a problem. How? Well, it is usually the cause for many diseases. Some of these include arthritis, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and very many more.

One of the main causes of this condition is low-grade bacterial, viral, and fungal infections. Other causes are genetics, stress, toxins from the environment, and your diet and lifestyle.

Inflammation-Fighting Foods

Fortunately, there are a number of superfoods available that can counter the harmful effects of inflammation. Below are some examples of food that can help. It’s best to take it slow and easy when introducing these foods into your diet. This is most especially if you’re not used to eating them at all. In the long run, you’ll ultimately feel better and healthier. And for sure, your body will be sure to thank you.

Garlic

Garlic has been known to have a lot of benefits for the body. It has antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral, and antioxidant properties. Many researchers believe that all these wonderful benefits are because of its sulfur-containing compounds, like allicin. This compounds blocks enzymes that are responsible for bacterial and viral infections. Studies show that as you digest this particular compound, your body produces sulfenic acid. This then reacts very fast against harmful free radicals.

Moreover, aged garlic extract stimulates anti-inflammatory proteins. It also holds back inflammatory markers in chronic inflammation environments.

Ginger

Ginger reduces inflammation caused by overactive immune responses. It breaks down the accumulation of toxins in your organs. It also cleanses the lymphatic system, which is our body’s sewage system. The main compound responsible for these benefits is gingerol. It is anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-disease, and anti-bacterial. These compounds block several genes and enzymes that cause inflammation.

This root also hinders joint pain and reduces osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Turmeric

The curcumin content found in turmeric is its primary component that fights against inflammation. According to a study, curcumin is one of the most potent anti-inflammatory and anti-proliferative agents in the world. What it does is it inhibits the activation of inflammatory pathways by shutting off the production of two pro-inflammatory enzymes.

Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are a nutrient powerhouse. They contain essential fatty acids like linoleic acid and alpha-linoleic acid. Also, they have strontium and mucin. In addition, they also have vitamins A, B, D, and E. And finally, they have minerals like iron, sulphur, manganese, magnesium, iodine, niacin, and thiamine.

All these components give the seeds their ability to reverse inflammation. Chia seeds also regulate blood pressure and cholesterol. The seeds also reverse the bad side effects of oxidative stress.

Green Tea

Green tea aficionados, rejoice! This seemingly innocent drink is loaded with antioxidants and inflammation-fighting ingredients. Green tea has catechins, which are known to fight threatening free radicals. In addition, its high epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) content along with polyphenol make it a very strong anti-inflammatory drink.

It’s been known to combat several diseases caused by inflammation. Some examples are liver disease, atherosclerosis, breast cancer, and prostate cancer. In addition, this drink also promotes a healthy heart.

Beets

What’s a great way to recognize anti-inflammatory foods? By their deep, dark colors! Beets are a great example. They are jam-packed with antioxidants that fight against inflammation. To note, the antioxidant betalain is responsible for their color. It’s also an excellent anti-inflammatory factor.

Beets are also known to improve your metabolism and gets rid of genes that accumulate fat.They also have positive effects for insulin resistance and improve your mood.  Eating beets naturally lowers levels of inflammatory markers. And lastly, they also decrease the risk of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and plaque buildup.

Blueberries

A study shows that regularly eating these berries significantly reduces inflammation. In another study, it shows that they also neutralize the inflammatory effects of high-fat, high-carb meals.

Blueberries contain a very powerful antioxidant that combats inflammation. This is known as quercetin. It also protects the body from oxidative stress, thus reducing inflammation.

Its other benefits include the slowing down of cognitive decline and improving memory and motor function.

Dark Chocolate

This is good news for chocolate lovers. It’s known to be super rich in antioxidants that are anti-inflammatory. Flavanols are also known to add to chocolate’s anti-inflammatory effects. Moreover, it reduces the risk of heart disease and can lead to healthier aging and keeps the endothelial cells in the arteries healthy.

A study at the Louisiana State University shows that gut microbes in our stomach ferment chocolate into heart-healthy and anti-inflammatory compounds. These stop genes that lead to insulin resistance and inflammation.

And remember, the darker the chocolate (at least 70% cocoa and up), the better.

Broccoli

Aaah, the dreaded broccoli. Most children simply despise this cruciferous vegetable. So much so that they tag it as the devil in disguise.

However, that is not the case. Broccoli is actually a very nutritious vegetable that is rich in sulforaphane. This antioxidant fights inflammation by reducing the levels of NF-kB and cytokines. These compounds increase the likelihood of inflammation.

Broccoli also contains glucosinolate. This prevents unwanted inflammation as they are converted to I3C. This is a compound that decreases the production of pro-inflammatory mediators.

In addition, it has a high amount of both magnesium and potassium, minerals that have their own properties that battle with inflammation.

All  these factors work together to lower oxidative stress in the body, along with battling chronic inflammation and the risk of cancer development.

Tomatoes

Tomatoes are a great source of lycopene, an antioxidant with powerful anti-inflammatory properties. It is particularly helpful in reducing pro-inflammatory compounds that lead to several types of cancer. One study shows that drinking pure tomato juice significantly decreases inflammatory markers.

Green Leafy Vegetables

Our moms weren’t kidding when they told us to eat our vegetables. In particular, green leafy vegetables are great for optimum health. Most of these vegetables are easily available are also great at fighting inflammation. They are very rich in antioxidants for cellular health. They also contain inflammation-fighting flavonoids. Their basic makeup protects you from oxidative stress caused by harmful free radicals.

Some great examples of vegetables to add to your diet are Swiss chard, bok choy, spinach, and lettuce.