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Vitamins + Supplements

Coenzyme Q10 Doesn't Protect Against Free Radicals

The popular supplement Coenzyme Q10, widely believed to function as an antioxidant, is actually not likely to provide any benefits, according to scientists from McGill University.

The discovery, by investigators from McGill’s Department of Biology, were published in Nature Communications.

The lipid-like substance, found naturally in all cells, is believed to be an antioxidant (a substance that fights dangerous free radicals).

“Our findings show that one of the major anti-aging antioxidant supplements used by people can’t possibly act as previously believed,” said  Professor Siegfried Hekimi.  “Dietary supplements cost a lot of money to patients throughout the world – money that would be better spent on healthy food. What’s more, the hope for a quick fix makes people less motivated to undertake appropriate lifestyle changes.”

In reaching their conclusion, the team used genetically altered mice.

At the same time, according to a news release from the university, the research showed that  ubiquinone, as Coenzyme Q10 is also known, was needed for another purpose: It helps mitochondria, tiny structures within cells, to produce energy.

“Many patients are sick because their mitochondria don’t work properly, including because they don’t contain enough ubiquinone,” Hekimi says. “We’ll be using the results of this study to devise ways, and possibly new drugs, to boost ubiquinone levels or help residual ubiquinone to function effectively in defective mitochondria.”

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