Once every two years, researchers from around the world convene at the Conference of the International Coenzyme Q10 Association to discuss the latest science on coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), including its mitochondrial, metabolic and neurological effects.
Brussels, Belgium—Once every two years, researchers from around the world convene at the Conference of the International Coenzyme Q10 Association to discuss the latest science on coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), including its mitochondrial, metabolic and neurological effects. The most recent symposium of the mitochondrial star took place from May 27 to 30, 2010, here.
A highlight of the symposium was a presentation by the distinguished neuroscientist M. Flint Beal, M.D., from the department of neurology and neuroscience at Weill Medical College of Cornell University. Beal offered his group’s most recent findings on mitochondrial dysfunction and neurodegenerative diseases, specifically involving animal models of Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disease to compare ubiquinol and conventional CoQ10. In one of the animal models, they utilized a neurotoxin called MPTP, which induces effects in the brain that are analogous to clinical and biochemical changes seen in patients with Parkinson’s disease. The administration of the MPTP caused the formation of alpha synuclein aggregates, which is a major pathological hallmark found in Parkinson’s disease patients. The rodents treated with CoQ10 (both ubiquinone and ubiquinol forms) had significantly less formation of these aggregates (1). Additionally, the scientists noted that the ubiquinol form resulted in higher plasma levels and exerted a greater neuroprotective effect against the damaging effect of MPTP.
Another eagerly anticipated lecture was from cardiologist Peter Langsjoen, M.D., F.A.A.C., based out of Texas. Langsjoen offered his experiences over the last four years with ubiquinol and patients at his clinic. An initial group of subjects with endstage congestive heart failure (NYHA Class IV) was being given an average of 450 mg per day of ubiquinone. Despite the supplemental ubiquinone, blood values were a mean of 1.6 mcg/mL plasma. Distilling decades of experience in cardiology, Langsjoen pointed out that the blood values necessary for a beneficial effect continue to be recalibrated higher. In 1980, the therapeutic value was thought to require x > 1.0 mcg/mL CoQ10 of plasma. By 1990, that value was 2.5 mcg/mL of plasma. Their most recent work indicates that blood values in excess of 3.5 mcg/mL of plasma are sought for therapeutic effect.
In the hopes of improving their cardiovascular health, these Class IV congestive heart failure patients were then switched over to the ubiquinol form. The results showed a dramatic increase in bioavailability, achieving desired therapeutic plasma values only with the ubiquinol. Based on the initial data, Langsjoen expanded the number of patients on ubiquinol. And, for a variety of markers associated with cardiovascular function ranging from plasma CoQ10 levels to ejection fraction, the ubiquinol showed better benefit with less amounts required. For instance, ejection fractions were at 40.9% for ubiquinone and 47.8% for ubiquinol; NYHA Class on ubiquinol was 1.6, while subjects on ubiquinone were at 2.5. As these positive effects were observed, they have administered the ubiquinol to approximately another 300 patients, and these data were shown at the conference. In the future, work by Langsjoen will look at 200 mg of ubiquinol twice daily with meals, with exclusion of greater than 300 IUs per day of vitamin E (as tocopherol may antagonize absorption) (2). All of this ongoing research into CoQ10 underscores the importance of this cardiovascular nutrient, and we will bring you the science from new publications.
Sid Shastri is the product development manager for Kaneka Nutrients.
1. C. Cleren, et al., “Therapeutic Effects of Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) and Reduced CoQ10 in the MPTP Model of Parkinsonism,” J. Neurochem. 104, 1613–1621 (2008).
2. P. Langsjoen and A. Langsjoen, “Supplemental Ubiquinol in the Treatment of Heart Failure; Five Year Experience,” presented at the 6th Conference of the International Coenzyme Q10 Association, Brussels, Belgium.
Published in WholeFoods Magazine, September 2010