Called MitoQ Targeted Antioxidant Dietary Supplement, the new product is based on a technical tweak of the base CoQ10 molecule. The technology was previously featured in the company’s first product, a topical cream aimed at the anti-aging skin health market.
CoQ10's role in body
CoQ10 is a vitamin-like substance that is concentrated in the mitochondria - the 'power plants' of the cell - and plays a vital role in the production of chemical energy by participating in the production of adenosince triphosphate (ATP), the body's so-called 'energy currency'.
There is an ever-growing body of scientific data that shows substantial health benefits of CoQ10 supplementation for people suffering from angina, heart attack and hypertension. The nutrient is also recommended to people on statins to offset the CoQ10-depleting effects of the medication. Other studies have reported that CoQ10 may play a supportive role in neuro-degenerative diseases.
The popularity of CoQ10, particularly in supplements, has been boosted by the rise in the prescription of statin drugs which deplete the body's natural stores of CoQ10.
The problem with the ingredient has always been issues surrounding its bioavailability. The base molecule, called ubiquinone, is poorly absorbed, leading to a need for high dosages. To get around this, some suppliers offer CoQ10 in the ubiquinol form, the reduced form as it appears in the body, and claim higher bioavailability for this ingredient.
MitoQ takes a different tack, altering the base ubiquinone molecule in a process that is the brainchild of Michael Murphy of Cambridge Univeristy and Rob Smith of Otago University, New Zealand, who were studying the correlation of mitochondria, oxidative stress and diseases. The pair devised an electrostatic penetration system to deliver the CoQ antioxidant to the cell's mitochondria, neutralizing free radicals where they are produced, slowing the cell aging process and supporting the repair of prior damage. The process alters the molecule in such a way that it carries a postivie charge, which is key to its claims of greater uptake, said MitoQ CEO Greg MacPherson.
CoQ10 is manufactured in the body, MacPherson said, so the cells aren’t necessarily programmed to take it up in the bloodstream. Nevetheless, as cells age, the process of manufacturing the substance in the mitochondria becomes less and less efficient.
“Because it is manufactured in the mitochondria it is actually damned difficult to get it CoQ10 there,” MacPherson told NutraIngredients-USA. “Because your mitchondria are negatively charged it literally sucks MitoQ in.”
“MitoQ works to revitalize the mitochondria. When we revitalize the mitochondria, we repair the cell and allow it to get on with what it did when it was younger. It also allows the mitochondria to work as reservoir of antioxidants,” MacPherson said.
The supplement is now in online distribution, MacPherson said. While the ingredient is not cheap to produce, he said the greater potency (the company claims it is 800 to 1,300 times more potent than supplements base on the base molecule) allows for a very small dosage, only 5mg/day, keeping the cost to consumers down to about $2/day.
According to the company, the MitoQ molecule has been the subject of over a decade and $30 million of research and development, has global patents and has been featured in over 180 papers published in medical research journals around the world.