Weekly Health Tip
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), also known as ubiquinone, is an essential component of the mitochondria – the energy producing unit of the cells of our body. CoQ10 is involved in the manufacture of ATP, the energy currency of all body processes. Its role in the energy production within our cells is similar to the role of a spark plug in a car engine. Just as the engine cannot function without that initial spark, our cells simply cannot function without CoQ10.
Although CoQ10 can be synthesized within the body, deficiencies do exist as a result of impaired CoQ10 synthesis or increased tissue needs. Examples of diseases that require increased tissue levels of CoQ10 are primarily those that affect the heart, liver, brain, and muscles.
In addition, the elderly in general may have increased CoQ10 requirements as CoQ10 levels are known to decline with advancing age. Finally, cholesterol-lowering drugs, especially statins, are known to lower CoQ10 levels.
People suffering from various critical illnesses such as severe infections, heart attacks or strokes, and cancer typically experience failure of multiple organs. Despite intense investigation for many years, the precise mechanisms underlying the multiple organ failure has baffled researchers. Finally, Harvard-based researchers recently demonstrated that low levels of CoQ10 in patients with severe infection was associated with impaired cellular energy production and decreased ATP throughout their body.
The investigation of CoQ10 levels in these patients was spurred on by a study in rats that showed that even less severe infection was associated with lower CoQ10 levels.
A new study by the same group of Harvard researchers was based upon their hypothesis that a broad range of critically ill patients are likely deficient in CoQ10 and that could significantly worsen their condition and lead to organ failure and death. To test this hypothesis, they determined blood CoQ10 levels in 36 critically ill patients in the intensive care unit at Massachusetts General Hospital compared to 18 healthy controls.
Results showed quite clearly that the critically ill patients suffered an approximately 40% drop in CoQ10 levels. The severity of the drop tended to correlate with age as older patients suffered greater reductions than younger patients. There was no association between CoQ10 levels and severity of the illness, but those critically ill patients with higher CoQ10 levels had higher scores on a scale used to assess independence when performing 6 activities required for daily living (bathing, dressing, toileting, moving, continence, feeding).
The authors of the study conclude “our data provide a rationale for further observational and intervention clinical studies to define CoQ10 insufficiency and evaluate the safety and efficacy of CoQ10 supplementation in critically ill patients.”
There are some major points to make about this study.
- The study is a continuation of a line of solid research conducted by Harvard University researchers.
- The study was conducted at Massachusetts General Hospital, one of the leading hospitals in the world.
- The study shows a growing openness of conventional medicine to examine the role of physiological aids and dietary supplements even when heroic, life-saving measures are required.
- The authors clearly believe that CoQ10 supplementation may be of value in enhancing the health of critically ill patients.
Coppadoro A, Berra L, Kumar A, et al. Critical illness is associated with decreased plasma levels of coenzyme Q10: A cross-sectional study. J Crit Care. 2013 Apr 22. pii: S0883-9441(13)00052-X. doi: 10.1016/j.jcrc.2013.02.009.
During red carpet season, we ogle celebrities at the award ceremonies, examining their skin and hair, along with “who they’re wearing.”
It’s hard not to notice women who have clear, radiant, vibrant-looking skin, which is a sign of good health. While celebrities spend a lot of time improving the appearance of their skin from the outside, the real key to young-looking skin is proper nutrition and healthy habits.
In addition to eating healthfully and exercising, there’s a little-discussed supplement that can help prevent the wrinkling and dryness that contribute to old-looking skin. It’s called hyaluronic acid (HA). HA is a glycosaminoglycan that acts as the intracellular cement or glue of connective tissue. Connective tissue, as the term suggests, serves the function of supporting and binding other tissues. The loose connective tissue holds the skin and internal organs in place, while the fibrous connective tissue includes tendons, ligaments, and cartilage. In essence, hyaluronic acid not only helps to provide the structural framework of connective tissue, it is the actual “glue” that holds our body together.
Maintaining HA in body tissues is an important anti-aging strategy. One of the reasons our skin develops lines and wrinkles is due to the loss of HA. By the time most people reach the age of 70, the HA content in their body has dropped by 80% from when they were 40. After the age of 45 or so, HA levels in the skin begin to plummet.
There is a great deal of evidence that applying HA topically helps prevent wrinkles. But now researchers have discovered that taking hyaluronic acid orally is also beneficial for restoring moisture and youthful suppleness to the skin. Recent clinical studies using oral HA in patients with dry and rough skin have shown that patients given a supplement consisting of purified, bioavailable hyaluronic acid had a significant increase (46%) over baseline values in the moisture content of their skin.
Hyaluronic acid is a substance found in our bodies that’s essential for health, but now we know it’s also a key to beautiful-looking skin.
Do you want to lower your blood pressure without the harmful side effects of pharmaceuticals? The good news is that there are a number of safe, effective, and natural foods and nutrients that will help you do it.
Over 60 million Americans have high blood pressure, including more than half (54%) of all Americans age 65 to 74 years old and nearly three quarters (72%) of all American blacks in the same age group.