By Stephen Daniells, 15-Oct-2009
Supplements of coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) may protect or retard the development of fatty liver related to obesity, suggest findings from an animal study.
Mice fed a high fat and fructose diet and supplemented with CoQ10 had decreased levels of inflammatory and metabolic stresses markers in their livers than mice just fed the high-fat diet, according to findings published in Biochemical Pharmacology.
The supplements did not have any effect on obesity levels or levels of oxidised fat products in other tissues, added the researchers, led by Nathalie Delzenne from the Catholic University of Leuven.
CoQ10 has properties similar to vitamins, but since it is naturally synthesized in the body it is not classed as such. With chemical structure 2,3-dimethoxy-5-methyl-6-decaprenyl-1,4-benzoquinone, it is also known as ubiquinone because of its 'ubiquitous' distribution throughout the human body.
The coenzyme 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 co-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 off-set the CoQ-depleting effects of the medication. Other studies have reported that CoQ10 may play a role in the prevention or benefit people already suffering from neurodegenerative diseases.
The new study, suggests the molecule may also improve liver health.
The Leuven-based researchers, in collaboration with scientists from the University of Witten/Herdecke in Germany, fed mice a control diet, a high-fat diet with fructose, or the same high-fat, fructose diet plus CoQ10 supplements (1 per cent, Kaneka) for eight weeks.
The animals fed the high-fat, fructose diet consumed more energy, and showed higher fat mass development, fasting blood glucose and abnormally high insulin levels.
The high-fat, fructose diet also promoted gene expression in the liver for reactive oxygen species production, inflammation, and metabolism, said the researchers.
In the CoQ10 supplemented animals, however, the researchers noted a decrease in gene expression for the inflammatory and metabolic stresses markers.
“We propose, in view of our study, that CoQ10, when given orally, is able to target the liver tissue, and to lessen inflammatory stress associated with obesity in mice in this tissue, independent on any action on lipid peroxidation,” wrote the researchers. “However, this effect was not sufficient to counteract fat mass development and other metabolic alterations occurring upon obesity,” they concluded.
Source: Biochemical Pharmacology
Volume 78, Issue 11, Pages 1391-1400
“Coenzyme Q10 supplementation lowers hepatic oxidative stress and inflammation associated with diet-induced obesity in mice”
Authors: F.M. Sohet, A.M. Neyrinck, B.D. Pachikian, F.C. de Backer, L.B. Bindels, P. Niklowitz, T. Menke, P.D. Cani, N.M. Delzenne