Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is fundamental for the proper working of the mitochondria, intracellular organelles for energy production. Since CoQ10 promotes the ATP production in presence of oxygen, it is essential to maintain a good physical efficiency. Interestingly, CoQ10 concentration decreases with age and lower levels are recorded in patients affected by neurological diseases; as shown in the figure, in patients with Parkinson disease we record lower levels of CoQ10, compared to healthy control subjects (Shults et al., 1997).
How does the CoQ10 administration contribute to neurological wellness? Let’s find the answer in scientific literature.
- Antioxidant effect
CoQ10 is a strong antioxidant, it acts directly of reactive oxygen species but it also contributes to the regeneration of antioxidant molecules, protecting from the oxidative damage. As shown in the figure, the generation of oxygen reactive species in the mitochondria, in presence of hydrogen peroxide, is significantly reduced when cells are pre-treated with CoQ10 (Somayajulu et al., 2005).
- Energetic metabolism support
CoQ10 is a cofactor in the electron transport chain, the mechanism that allows the cells to produce ATP. It is interesting to notice that in a stressful condition, such as in presence of hydrogen peroxide, mitochondria pre-treated with CoQ10 maintain their functionality and the ability to produce ATP, comparable to the non-treated control (Somayajulu et al., 2005).
- Neuroprotective effect
Thanks to the previously described effects and, in general, to the fundamental role in the mitochondria functionality, CoQ10 shows neuroprotective effects, slowing down the symptoms associated to neurodegenerative diseases. In the figure is represented the progress of the symptoms caused by a neurodegenerative disease in patients treated with CoQ10 (dashed line) and placebo (solid line): the worsening is slower in those treated with CoQ10.
In conclusion, we described the fundamental role of CoQ10 in the physiology of the cells and its protective effects of the nervous system; as it is, CoQ10 is an ingredient of great interest for neurological health.
Huntington Study Group. (2001). A randomized, placebo-controlled trial of coenzyme Q10 and remacemide in Huntington’s disease. Neurology, 57(3), 397-404.
Shults, C. W., Haas, R. H., Passov, D., & Beal, M. F. (1997). Coenzyme Q10 levels correlate with the activities of complexes I and II/III in mitochondria from parkinsonian and nonparkinsonian subjects. Annals of Neurology: Official Journal of the American Neurological Association and the Child Neurology Society, 42(2), 261-264.
Somayajulu, M., McCarthy, S., Hung, M., Sikorska, M., Borowy-Borowski, H., & Pandey, S. (2005). Role of mitochondria in neuronal cell death induced by oxidative stress; neuroprotection by Coenzyme Q10. Neurobiology of disease, 18(3), 618-627.