MitochondriaWe got this question through our book site.  The answer, of course, is in the book reference section, but I have long ago given up on people doing anything more than wanting us to do all the work for them!

“In your book, under ‘why is Co Q10 so important,’ you state, ‘some studies that used various forms of Co Q10 suggest that it can actually stop shortening altogether.’ Where can I get this info?” – R

Hi, R. In every cell in the human body, there are many small powerhouses called mitochondria. The purpose of the mitochondria is primarily to burn fat and oxygen (think of a carburetor that burns air and fuel, with fat being the fuel). The source of fat is a combination of dietary fats, carbs and proteins that are all funneled through specific intermediates, into these powerhouses.  Energy is released in stepwise fashion, down a cascade of energy donors and acceptors so that ATP, the ultimate energy currency of the cell is generated.  In the mitochondria, there are 5 major energy exchange complexes named I-V. The very first and the one most susceptible to damage, is the one that relies on reduced Co Q to accept and release energy.

Co Q not only accepts the energy, but it buffers the mitochondrion (singular) from the potential oxidation that this energy can cause. For reasons that are not 100% clear, we begin to develop measurable drops in mitochondria Co Q levels around age 40 and this progresses as we age. Ultimately, our mitochondria become dysfunctional and at least two things happen. They begin to trigger other mechanisms that age the cell and march it towards its demise, and they begin to leak free radicals, through their own protective membranes, out into the rest of the cell, which circles back and a) damages the cell and b) triggers more “I’m getting old” signals in the cell.

The combination of all of this is intimately involved in how fast the telomere shortens and of course, the telomere then can activate other signals that say, “This cell is getting old and needs to die, or be removed from the active cell pool”. Finally, telomere length also accelerates the aging process of the mitochondria by accelerating the generation and leakage of free radicals from it, which causes internal damage to the cell and to the mitochondria.

This is a textbook worth of material in one paragraph, but it gives you an idea of the vicious cycle of telomere/mitochondrial aging as we understand it, at this moment.

Bottom line: the use of reduced CO Q10 ( look for ubiquinol, not ubiquinone) can slow down and in some cases, reverse this decline and help save the telomeres from this type of “internal” free radical damage. Along with Fish Oil and the Telomere Edge Packs, it’s a great way to support the actions of TA-65.

Thank you for this interesting question!

At least this one was interesting and this person seemed genuinely interested. Lots of people write in with “accusatory” questions that are really them venting their own personal agendas. I welcome genuinely interested, open minded people like “R”!

All the best,

Dr Dave

7 COMMENTS

  1. Hi Dr Dave, You have been on TA 65 for 4 years now and you had your telomeres measured when you started. What change has occurred in your telomeres to date? I read that TA 65 only slightly increases the telomeres is there any data on the quantum of that change?

    Kindest Regards

    Peter Gregory

    • Hi, I covered carnitine extensively in The Immortality Edge (Wiley 2010) both in the text and the reference sections. I would direct you to that work because the answer is extensive. Dr Dave

      • Thanks for your reply – actually I purchased your book a while ago, and red part of it – so I’ll pay extra attention to the Carnitine – CoQ10 connection. Thanks.

  2. Nice synchronicity. I was just this weekend explaining the need for Co-Q-10 to my 40ish squeeze, but longed for precise references. Along with Lutein and similar pigmented antioxidants, it seems to be an important nutrient for those whose gene pool inclines to macular degeneration — which affects several people I’ve loved. Keep up the good work!

  3. Funny you should mention macular degeneration. Dr Fossel and I are speaking at the UM-St. Louis College of Optometry CME meeting this weekend. CO Q declines 40% in the retina with age but the causal association with AMD has not yet been reported- but it is as they saying “quacking like a duck!” Mitochondrail levels may drop even more with age. DD

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