• #10-1. Antioxidant



    Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)


    Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a fat-soluble antioxidant and the only free radical scavenger that is naturally produced by the human body. It is known to affect ATP generation and 95% of energy that the human body produces. It is ubiquitous in the animal body and is particularly rich in the fish and shellfish. The recommended daily dose of CoQ10 supplementation is 90-150mg, however, some say up to 400mg is beneficial. It has slight stimulant action and can help to achieve wakefulness in the morning, in much the same way as caffeine. However, people with insomnia should avoid ingesting CoQ10 supplements at night times.


    Oral intake is effective due to CoQ10’s excellent intestinal absorption. A study found that oral supplementation of CoQ10 resulted in reduction of fine wrinkles in the eye area. Potent antioxidant and energy boosting action of CoQ10 may reduce the appearance of wrinkles. In humans, CoQ10 is about 10 times more concentrated in the epidermis than in the dermis. Its delivery to the epidermis reduces oxidative reactions. Topical application of CoQ10 was found to reduce the depth of wrinkles and inhibit the expression of collagenase in dermal fibroblasts after UVA exposure. It was also found to prevent oxidative damage of DNA as well as UVA-related oxidative stress of keratinocytes. Therefore, CoQ10 is thought to prevent photo-aging to a degree.


    The letter “Q” in “CoQ10” stands for quinone family and the number “10” refers to the number of isoprenoid units. CoQ10 goes through a very complicated synthesis driven by essential amino acids (tyrosine, several vitamins and microelements). The CoQ10 level declines with age as it is involved in various ways of keeping the skin youthful.


    The LDL and mitochondrial CoQ10 levels decline in patients with hyperlipidemia taking an HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor (a statin). Statins inhibit conversion of HMG-CoA into mevalonate (cholesterol, precursor of CoQ10). Lower mitochondrial CoQ10 levels are related to apoptosis, oxidative DNA damage, or reduced ATP synthesis. Oral intake of CoQ10 helps reduce cell apoptosis, oxidative stress of DNA and increase ATP synthesis. For this reason, many studies recommend daily oral supplementation of CoQ10 to patients on statin therapy.


    Abnormally low serum levels of CoQ10 are associated with a higher risk of breast cancer, lung cancer, and pancreatic cancer. A recent study found that CoQ10 inhibits tumor metastasis and its serum level is useful in predicting the period of metastasis-free interval and risk of metastasis in patients with malignant melanoma. CoQ10 levels were drastically lower in patients with malignant melanoma compared to controls as well as in metastasis group compared to the metastasis-free group. Therefore, a baseline serum CoQ10 level is used as a predictor of prognosis of malignant melanoma.


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    CoQ10 is used as an adjuvant therapy along with interferon in malignant melanoma. CoQ10 can help replenish ATP, a large amount of which is lost in the immune response triggered by interferon. An excessive amount of ATP is consumed in cases that do not respond to IFN therapy. CoQ10 plays a very important role in ATP generation by affecting the mitochondria respiratory cycle. A study compared the five-year survival among the IFNα-2b + CoQ10 combination therapy, CoQ10 monotherapy, and IFNα-2b monotherapy used after surgery in patients with stage I, II melanoma. The controls were given interferon only. It was found that the IFN + CoQ10 combination group had a ten times lower risk of metastasis. Many cosmetic products now contain CoQ10 as the public interest is growing. More research on the long-term preventive effect of CoQ10 is needed.


    Oral intake of CoQ10 can have a stimulating effect and should be avoided at night. Side effects include diarrhea, anorexia, and mild nausea. On the other hand, no side effects including contact dermatitis have been reported with topical CoQ10.


    -To be continued

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