Accumulating science boosts MitoQ as it launches products for new indications

By Hank Schultz contact

- Last updated on GMT

© iStock/KUO CHUN HUNG
© iStock/KUO CHUN HUNG
MitoQ, a company whose products are based on a special form of CoQ10, has seen solid growth since the ingredient was launched in supplements in 2013.

The company, based in New Zealand, was founded on the benefits of its special form of CoQ10. 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 adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the body's so-called 'energy currency'.

CoQ10’s role in the body

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. 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.

Electrostatic approach

MitoQ 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, said MitoQ CEO Greg MacPherson.  The company says that $30 million has been spent on the ingredient’s development.

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

“We’ve seen stunning growth for the product,”​ MacPherson said. “We are now selling the product online in more than 100 countries.”

New indications

The company has extended its line beyond the base MitoQ supplement to supplements paired with Longvida bioavailable curcumin in a product aimed at brain and digestive health and a second new product that pairs MitoQ with GLME (New Zealand green lipped mussel oil extract) to support respiratory and joint health.

MacPherson said his company chose Longvida, a product of Verdure Sciences, based in Noblesville, IN, because of the evidence that backed the ingredient.

“We were looking at an ingredient that adds superior clinicals because we are a very evidence based company,”​ he said.

MacPherson will attend the annual World Congress on Anti-Aging Medicine in Las Vegas this week.  Making connections with the practitioner channel is one of the distribution strategies for the company, and MacPherson said he’s also pursuing partnerships for brick-and-mortar distribution and production in the US.  The company got a big boost in terms of profile and respectability at the conference last year, when it was chosen for a multi-year study conducted by the National Institute of Aging​.  And other research is ongoing, including a trial that was just completed that looked at MitoQ’s effect on cardiovascular events among patients with Type 2 diabetes​.

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