~ CoQ10's New Benefits - Unexpected Findings Support the Remarkable Effects of CoQ10

Unexpected Findings Support the Remarkable Effects of CoQ10 in Fighting Melanoma, Diabetes, Endothelial Dysfunction, and More

By Russell Martin

Since the Life Extension Foundation first introduced coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) to the United States in 1983, hundreds of published, peer-reviewed studies have demonstrated how this natural supplement combats heart disease, cancer, and other disorders of aging.

While CoQ10 is widely recognized by Life Extension as a nutrient that protects heart health,1 provocative new research indicates that CoQ10 may have a wide range of benefits that include preventing skin cancer and photoaging,2-4 guarding against prostate and breast cancers,5-7 supporting healthy blood sugar levels in diabetics,8-10 and averting endothelial dysfunction and vascular disease.11,12

Scientists around the globe also report additional novel uses of CoQ10, such as helping to slow the progression of Parkinson’s disease,13-15 preventing crippling migraine headaches,16,17 supporting immune health,18-20 guarding against periodontal disease,1,10 preserving healthy vision,21,22 and boosting male fertility.10

In this article, we review a wide array of compelling studies that support CoQ10 supplementation as a cornerstone of a scientific health-protection program. Moreover, we examine the differences between natural, bioidentical forms of CoQ10 and their synthetic analogs, and how you can ensure that your supplement contains the most effective form of CoQ10.

Protecting Against Melanoma and Photoaging

One of the most important new applications for CoQ10 may be the prevention of deadly melanoma. Worldwide, doctors are witnessing a dramatic increase in skin cancer cases. Recently, scientists in Italy have found that CoQ10 may play a significant role in deterring the growth of skin cancer cells. In a study published earlier this year, Italian researchers discovered that 117 melanoma patients had abnormally low CoQ10 levels compared to 125 study participants who were free of the cancer. CoQ10 levels also were significantly lower in melanoma patients who developed metastases than in metastasis-free patients. These results suggest that measuring CoQ10 levels may help determine whether an individual’s melanoma is likely to metastasize. While additional studies are needed to determine whether CoQ10 can successfully block the spread of melanoma, these initial findings offer hope that CoQ10 may help in the fight against this deadliest of skin cancers.2

In addition to CoQ10’s promise in protecting against melanoma, recent research suggests that topically applied CoQ10 may also protect the skin against photoaging, or skin aging caused by exposure to ultraviolet light. German scientists demonstrated that topically applied CoQ10 penetrates the skin’s surface to the living layers of the epidermis, where it reduced oxidative stress, a known contributor to aging and disease. They also noted a marked reduction in the depth of wrinkles following the application of CoQ10. In addition, topical CoQ10 helped protect the skin from the effects of UVA rays, a particularly harmful, DNA-damaging spectrum of ultraviolet light that conventional sunscreens do not block effectively. (See “The Sunscreen Paradox,” Life Extension, June 2006.) The German researchers concluded that CoQ10 may offset the effects of photoaging and thus promote more youthful-looking skin.3

CoQ10’s benefits for skin health were broadly confirmed in a study at the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania, where scientists found that daily treatment with a topical CoQ10 lotion provided antioxidant protection to the skin of both young and middle-aged study subjects.

The natural, yeast-derived form of CoQ10 used in the study was also much better absorbed than synthetic formulations. The researchers stated that daily topical application of antioxidants such as CoQ10 may form the basis of a lifelong strategy to protect the skin against the effects of oxidative stress.4


Tantalizing findings about CoQ10’s many potential health benefits have fueled growing demand for this energizing nutrient. Since introducing members to the benefits of CoQ10 23 years ago, Life Extension has sought the safest, most bioavailable form of this nutrient available. Life Extension has found that, due to its bioidentical structure and superior safety profile, CoQ10 manufactured in Japan by the Kaneka Corporation stands head and shoulders above the competition.

In 1978, Dr. Peter Mitchell was awarded a Nobel Prize for his research on CoQ10’s role in mitochondrial energy transduction. That same year, Kaneka Corporation began producing an exclusive, yeast-fermented CoQ10 that is chemically identical to the CoQ10 produced in the body.23 Scientists believe that this bioidentical form may be much more readily assimilated into the body’s tissues than are synthetic formulations.23

Until just three years ago, CoQ10 was subject to pharmaceutical regulation in Japan, where it was approved as a prescription drug for the treatment of congestive heart failure.1 CoQ10’s classification as a “drug” spurred Kaneka and its Japanese competitors to work vigorously to perfect its applicability and market it widely in that country. Only Kaneka, however, has formulated and patented the yeast-fermentation process that produces a CoQ10 that is identical to the body’s own.

In an interview with Life Extension, Tom Schrier, Kaneka’s national sales manager for the US, noted that because “CoQ10 was first approved as a pharmaceutical drug in Japan in 1974, much research on safety and efficacy was required in advance of this approval.”24

Indeed, a recent double-blind, placebo-controlled study confirmed that Kaneka’s CoQ10 is safe, even at very high dosages.25 Eighty-eight adult participants were given 300 mg, 600 mg, or 900 mg of CoQ10, or a placebo, over a four-week period. Kaneka’s CoQ10 was safe and well tolerated at doses of up to 900 mg a day, with no side effects reported.25,26

Since CoQ10 was deregulated in Japan in 2003, Kaneka has been challenged to meet exploding worldwide demand for its product, particularly in the US, which accounts for 65% of the world’s total CoQ10 consumption. To meet this demand, Kaneka will open a new manufacturing facility in Pasadena, TX, this summer. The Texas plant will be capable of producing 100 metric tons of its natural yeast-derived CoQ10 each year.25

Schrier believes that America’s scientific and medical communities have been slow to recognize CoQ10’s health benefits precisely because it has never been regulated as a pharmaceutical in this the US. “Historically, the terms ‘all-natural’ and ‘dietary supplement’ have been less than embraced by pharmaceutical companies,” he says.24

Schrier adds that US drug companies continue to ignore the critical importance of supplementing with CoQ10 when taking statin drugs to control cholesterol. “The Canadian brochure for Lipitor® explains that CoQ10 in the body is depleted by Lipitor® due to its inhibition of HMG-CoA reductase, which is a key enzyme of biosynthesis for both cholesterol and CoQ10,” he explains. “But the American Lipitor® brochure does not provide this same insight. CoQ10 supplementation is necessary for statin users to prevent the drug’s negative side effects. Kaneka plans a campaign to raise consumer awareness of this, so patients can make educated decisions about their personal health.”2

Helping Avert Prostate and Breast Cancers

Scientists are fascinated by CoQ10’s potential for preventing different types of cancer. Exciting new studies are presenting unique possibilities in the discipline of oncology. Research now suggests that in addition to protecting against melanoma, CoQ10 may help aging men and women to avert potentially lethal prostate and breast cancers. CoQ10 likewise appears to be beneficial to cancer patients who are undergoing or have completed a course of chemotherapy.

In an important laboratory study from Spain, CoQ10 dramatically altered the growth of malignant human prostate cells without adversely affecting the growth of non-malignant prostate cells. This led the Spanish research team to propose that CoQ10 may be an important preventive therapy for prostate cancer.5

For women undergoing conventional treatment for breast cancer, CoQ10 may play an important role in improving their outcomes. In a Danish clinical trial, 32 women with breast cancer were treated with CoQ10 in conjunction with conventional cancer therapy. All 32 subjects survived for the two-year duration of the study. Six patients experienced partial tumor regression and two saw a complete remission of their cancer. CoQ10 may thus help extend survival following conventional treatment for breast cancer.1

Many scientists believe that CoQ10 affords other important protective benefits for people undergoing other forms of cancer treatment. For example, CoQ10 can help shield against possible damage to heart muscle that can occur during use of the chemotherapy drug Adriamycin® (doxorubicin).6 CoQ10’s antioxidant and immune-enhancing properties may benefit patients both during and after cancer chemotherapy.1 Renowned integrative physician Andrew Weil, MD, founder and chairman of the University of Arizona’s Program in Integrative Medicine, suggests that chemotherapy patients may benefit from supplementing with 300 mg per day of CoQ10.7

Improving Blood Sugar in Diabetes Sufferers

Diabetes has now reached epidemic levels in the United States and shows no sign of abating. Doctors are overwhelmed with new cases and the horrific complications that accompany the disease. Two important clinical trials indicate that CoQ10 can help maintain optimal blood sugar control and thus avert the potentially lethal complications of this insidious disease.

An Australian study found that patients with type II diabetes who took 200 mg of CoQ10 a day over 12 weeks showed improved blood sugar control. Supplementation produced, on average, a threefold increase in CoQ10 levels in the trial subjects, while decreasing their blood pressure and hemoglobin A1C, a long-term indicator of blood sugar control. By improving blood pressure and optimizing blood sugar, CoQ10 may help prevent the dangerous metabolic complications of diabetes.8

Continued . . .
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