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You probably know that CoQ10 (Coenzyme Q10) offers powerful protection for your heart and vascular system. But researchers are increasingly focusing on its other protective benefits ― for the brain, the nervous system, the eyes, the immune system and much more.
One of the most exciting avenues for research is the potential for CoQ10 to become a major player in the quest for expanded longevity.
How CoQ10 may extend your life span
The point of departure is the mitochondrial theory of aging, which holds that the oxidative damage done to mitochondria by free radicals is the root cause of aging. In other words, more damage to the mitochondria = shorter lifespan.
Mitochondria are tiny, capsule-shaped structures inside your cells where about 95% of your body’s energy ― adenosine triphosphate (ATP) ― is created from food. They’re the cells’ powerhouses, comparable to batteries that fuel functions both of the cell and the body as a whole.
A free radical molecule, which has an unpaired ion, attacks its closest neighboring molecule to steal one of its ions. That creates another free radical, and the process is repeated, exploding in a cascade of destruction that damages cell membranes.
When free radicals rip away ions from their neighbors, they cause oxidation, which is highly destructive. Rust, which eats into metal, is an example of oxidation. The resulting oxidative stress, which is like internal rust, damages cell components such as protein, lipids and DNA.
This damage can give rise to many acute and chronic diseases, including metabolic disorders (e.g., diabetes and hypothyroidism) and degenerative disorders (e.g., Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s).
All this mayhem not only damages your mitochondria ― it also diminishes your body’s ability to produce CoQ10, which is essential to ATP production. Without adequate CoQ10, mitochondria can’t function as they should, and aging accelerates.
It’s important to know that DNA damage is not irreversible ― at least in the early stages. Research has shown CoQ10 to have the power to rejuvenate ailing mitochondria, restore lost function and slow aging.
However, about a decade after mitochondrial dysfunction begins, damage becomes permanent, which is a good reason to start thinking about supplementation sooner than later.
Supplementation with CoQ10 has demonstrated the capability to retard aging and extend life span in animal studies. For example, one study found CoQ10 supplementation of mice extended lifespan by an average of 11.7%, while maximum lifespan expanded by 24%.
If those results were to be duplicated for humans, that would be a 9-year gain in lifespan, based on the current life expectancy of 78.5 years.
What CoQ10 can do for you
Studies show that CoQ10 provides protection against a number of mitochondria-related diseases commonly associated with aging. It also has the ability to protect cells from damage by harmful chemicals or other agents to which people are commonly exposed.
Numerous studies have proven its effectiveness in promoting heart health. That isn’t surprising considering that energy is vital to the heart and blood vessels, and CoQ10 is vital to the ability of mitochondria to produce ATP.
The risk of neurodegenerative diseases also escalates dramatically with advancing age. CoQ10s’ antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties are credited with reducing beta-amyloid protein deposits in the brain.
Animal studies show that CoQ10 significantly diminishes neuronal damage from exposure to pesticides linked to Parkinson’s. In humans, trials have demonstrated that it may slow functional degeneration in Parkinson’s patients.
CoQ10 levels drop significantly prior to age 40, so if you’ve reached or surpassed that age, it may be time to consider a CoQ10 supplement.
Ubiquinol is the antioxidant form of CoQ10. It’s up to eight times more bioavailable than regular CoQ10 and remains biologically active for much longer. In its reduced form, ubiquinol can scavenge and neutralize free radicals, thus preventing them from damaging cellular DNA, lipids and proteins.
In addition, look for a crystal-free formula. It further increases bioavailability, meaning your body can quickly and easily put CoQ10 to work to protect your mitochondria ― and your long-term health.
- Buchanan, L. CoQ10: The Longevity Factor — Life Extension Magazine. Jan. 2013.
- Dean, W. Coenzyme Q10 Plays Many Roles as Anti-Aging Nutrient — Ward Dean, MD
- Downey, M. Three-Step Strategy to Reverse Mitochondrial Aging — Life Extension Magazine. Aug. 2013.
- Langsjoen, P.H. Alleviating Congestive Heart Failure with Coenzyme Q10 — Life Extension Magazine. Feb. 2008.