Selection for trial solidifies anti-aging bona fides for electrostatic CoQ10 form, manufacturer says

By Hank Schultz

- Last updated on GMT

Image: © iStockPhoto / KUO CHUN HUNG
Image: © iStockPhoto / KUO CHUN HUNG

Related tags Senescence

MitoQ Ltd, makers of an altered form of CoQ10, said the ingredient’s acceptance into a government testing program solidifies a healthy aging application for the ingredient.

Speaking with NutraIngredients-USA from the World Congress on Anti-Aging Medicine going on this week in Las Vegas, company CEO Greg Macpherson said his company’s ingredient has been chosen for use in the the National Institute of Aging's (NIA) Interventions Testing Program (ITP) - an anti-aging testing program funded by the US Government and administered by the National Institutes of Health, of which NIA is a division.

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, and MacPherson said his company has data suggesting that its ingredient may also keep telomeres, the protective strands at the end of DNA molecules, from shortening. DNA damage and the resultant degradation in cell replication is postulated as one of the main factors in aging.

Electrostatic approach 

MacPherson said the issue with CoQ10 has always been uptake. The molecule is a natural part of the body’s energy production and free radical quenching systems and is found in the mitochondria, the organelles within the cell responsible for energy production.  Because the body manufactures this molecule on its own, there are no specific transport mechanisms devoted to it, making the problem of getting supplemental CoQ10 into the mitochondria a difficult proposition. 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, which is manufactured in New Zealand, takes a different tack, altering the base ubiquinone molecule in a process that is the brainchild of Michael Murphy of Cambridge University 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 positive charge, which is key to its claims of greater uptake.

“Because it is manufactured in the mitochondria it is actually damned difficult to get it CoQ10 there,”​ MacPherson told NutraIngredients-USA. “Because your mitochondria are negatively charged it literally sucks MitoQ in.”

MacPherson said the NIA trial is a multi-center, multi-year mouse study.  He said MitoQ’s selection was a result of the significant amount of work that has already done​, as well as the trials that are has ongoing​.

"The NIA is part of the US National Institute of Health, an organization that invests over $30 billion per annum into health research. MitoQ was chosen for the testing program because it shows significant potential to delay or decelerate the aging process and improve general health,"​ Macpherson noted.

Results of the ITP trial will be available in 2020 and will be published in numerous scientific journals such as Nature, Journals of Gerontology​ and Aging Cell​.

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