Breakthroughs in Targeting Mitochondrial Dysfunction with CoQ10

 In Blog, multiple sclerosis, Research

Minding your mitochondria is so important in creating health and vitality. Wahls Protocol® Seminar Sponsor MitoQ has supporting mitochondrial health down to a science.

In this interview, William Stow, Chief Scientific Officer of MitoQ, and I discuss:

  • Why should everyone, whether they’re sick or healthy, care about their mitochondrial health?
  • What is mitochondrial dysfunction and what issues can it cause?
  • What is MitoQ and why was it created?

Find the transcript below.

About MitoQ:

In the 1990s at New Zealand’s University of Otago, two scientists – the biochemist Robin Smith and mitochondrial specialist Michael Murphy – were studying mitochondria and trying to understand why antioxidant supplements, like CoQ10, were proving to be less effective than expected in helping and supporting certain health issues.

What they discovered was that regular antioxidants such as CoQ10 were too big to penetrate the very selective mitochondrial wall effectively, and whilst these supplements got into the bloodstream, they weren’t efficient at getting into the mitochondria, where they’re most needed to help with cell energy and protection from free radical damage.

The scientists set about trying to create molecules that could accumulate directly inside the mitochondria and in doing so, create a more effective and powerful antioxidant. The result of this research was a remarkable innovation: a shortened version of CoQ10 given a positive charge to enable it to be drawn inside the body of the negatively charged mitochondria, providing a payload of free radical defense right where it was needed. In 2013, this scientific breakthrough was made available as a health supplement called MitoQ – the world’s first mitochondria-targeted antioxidant.

WHY YOUR MITOCHONDRIA ARE IMPORTANT

Every human is made up of trillions of cells and inside nearly all of them are mitochondria. They combine the food we eat and the air we breathe to generate the energy that cells need to operate in our heart, brain, liver, lungs and almost every part of the body. Mitochondria act as cellular power plants and are at the core of everything our body does – from exercising to everyday tasks like thinking, talking, walking and breathing. If mitochondria are healthy and functioning optimally, our bodies will be too. However, if they’re unhealthy, they can’t supply cells with the energy they need. When mitochondria slow down, so does our power supply, and so do we.

WHY YOUR MITOCHONDRIA NEED COQ10

CoQ10 is an antioxidant enzyme that is made deep inside the mitochondria, to support the energy production process and to help neutralize free radicals. Age, lifestyle factors and many health conditions can cause the mitochondria to make less CoQ10, exposing them to free radical damage which can lead to oxidative stress. 

WHY IS MITOQ UNIQUE?

By delivering an enhanced form of CoQ10 directly into the mitochondria at significant levels, MitoQ is able to support the mitochondrial free radical defense system, thus helping to reduce the risk of free radical leakage into the cell, helping to protect the equipment from potential damage and helping to prolong cell life.

PROVEN BREAKTHROUGH

More than $60 million of independent research, two decades of scientific study and over 400 peer-reviewed independent research papers have been published, testing MitoQ across a range of health-related applications. 

Research has shown that after oral administration, MitoQ rapidly accumulates in mitochondria-rich tissue such as the heart, brain, skeletal muscle, liver and kidneys, helping guard against oxidative stress and maintain healthy function and performance. 

Once back to their best, mitochondria can charge our cells so we can power through life and achieve our personal best, whatever that is.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT MITOQ, VISIT THE FOLLOWING LINK: https://www.mitoq.com/mitoq-and-dr-terry-wahls

Read The Transcript:

Terry Wahls:

William. Terry Wahls, here. I’m so glad that you’re here and you’re joining us again for the seminar. Now, for the folks who may not be familiar with you, could you please tell us a little bit about your company and who you are?

William:

Sure. So we’re MitoQ Limited, and we have a range of products that contain our special ingredient, which is mitoQuinol. And what MitoQuinol is, or MitoQ, it’s modified version of CoQ10, which is a popular supplement that a lot of people will know about.

And what we’ve done is modify that so that it’s much better absorbed and it gets to where it needs to be a lot better. And so we see significantly larger benefits come from this. And smaller doses are required. It’s just a much better CoQ10.

Terry Wahls:

Okay. And where are you located?

William:

We’re located in Auckland, in New Zealand, but we ship our product globally. We have distribution across the US and other parts of the world. So we’re a local and global company.

Terry Wahls:

Okay. Now for… Again, for my tribe, I want all of you to know that you’ve heard me talk about how critical the mitochondria is for neurodegeneration and multiple sclerosis. And one of those key nutrients is coenzyme Q, and, of course, this can be a tricky nutrient to fully absorb. And so, MitoQ’s innovation is that they’ve modified the molecule to make it a little bit easier for the body to absorb it and for the mitochondria to absorb it. Could you give us just a little bit more detail as to how MitoQ does its magic in the mitochondria?

William:

Yeah, of course. So, CoQ10, as Terry said, is a molecule that our body produces. And it’s produced inside mitochondria, and it’s used for two things. And one of those is to help generate energy, and the other thing it’s used for is as an antioxidant to mop up free radicals that are produced as part of this energy production.

When we take CoQ10… It’s actually quite a large molecule, and it’s not well absorbed by the gut. So, when we do take it, not a lot of it actually gets out of our gut and into our bloodstream. Also, because it’s a large and non-polar molecule, it’s not very good at crossing membranes, so not a lot of it actually then gets into our cells from there. And then, to get into the mitochondria, it has to go through an even tougher membrane, a double membrane, to get into the mitochondria. And there’s no active transport mechanism for that, because the mitochondria produce themselves, inside. So, even less is actually getting into the mitochondria.

So what we’ve done is we’ve taken that CoQ10. We’ve left that antioxidant part of it that does the magic but made the molecule a lot smaller. And we’ve given it a strong charge. And smaller molecules get across membranes more easily by default. And, by having that positive charge… The inside of cells and the inside of mitochondria have a strong negative charge, and this positively-charged molecule is attracted, so-

Terry Wahls:

It’s sort of pulled in.

William:

It is pulled in. So, it’s pulled in, and it gets across that membrane much more easily, and it can accumulate inside mitochondria at levels up to a thousand times what un-targeted CoQ10 could do.

Terry Wahls:

Oh, excellent. Now, is there much research in animal models or in human models with MitoQ?

William:

There is, actually. So, MitoQ was first discovered about 20 years ago. And since then, there’s been a fairly steady stream of research coming out. The majority of it is in animal models, but in those animal models, it’s been researched in well over a hundred different disease states.

There are over 400 publications, now, about MitoQ. There is a small and growing number of clinical studies, so human studies. There’s been about half a dozen published so far, and there are about 15 to 20 that are currently underway or in the planning stage. This is growing fast.

Terry Wahls:

And could you tell us, are there animal models for any kind of autoimmune condition where MitoQ’s been used?

William:

Yes, there are. So there are animal studies in things like multiple sclerosis and other rheumatoid conditions. And those have definitely seen some success in those animal models. And some of that success has actually been so significant that now clinical studies are underway in those areas, and we don’t have the results yet. They’re still underway. But certainly very promising, there.

Terry Wahls:

And I would expect that there’s perhaps some studies in Parkinson’s or cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s.

William:

There have been, yes. So again, in the animal models, there’s a wide range across those conditions, with great success. There was a clinical study in Parkinson’s some time ago, where, unfortunately, the benefit wasn’t noted. But they came to the conclusion after studying the results that, by the time you have clinically diagnosed Parkinson’s disease, then up to 80% of the neurons that are affected are already dead by that stage. And something like MitoQ, which works in a much more protective manner, is not going to pick a fig there.

Terry Wahls:

Earlier is better.

William:

Most certainly. As with everything, most certainly. Yeah.

Terry Wahls:

And how about anything with cognitive decline or memory loss?

William:

They haven’t been any human studies, yet, for that. But again, in the animal models, like I said, a wide range of studies there, and there’ve certainly been some promising results. And we get great feedback from our customers in that area, as well.

Terry Wahls:

And do you have any thoughts about… There’s sort of a booming market for longevity, a lot of conversations about that. Do you have anything with longevity and MitoQ?

William:

We do… Well, longevity studies in humans are obviously very hard to do. We live a long time. But certainly MitoQ displays a lot of anti-aging effects. And we have seen, again, in the animal studies, and certainly in cell studies, which is a lot easier to do this, that there are increases in longevity. Obviously, there’s a lot of things that can affect that, but free radical damage is certainly one of the key factors that affect our longevity. And MitoQ is very promising, there.

Terry Wahls:

Do you have any thoughts about how people you see are using MitoQ in their wellness program or treatment programs?

William:

Sure. So, I mean, it’s a very ubiquitous molecule, and there’s a lot of different ways you can use it. So some people… We have a lot of customers who are well. They don’t have any notable health conditions, and they use MitoQ for healthy aging, and with the knowledge that it’s helping to keep those free radical levels down, helping those mitochondria to run efficiently as possible.

So that’s everyone, from people who just want to live a nice, healthy life to busy mothers and busy professionals, sports people. We do get a lot of sports people, as well, who claim it helps with their endurance and recovery. And, of course, there are people who do have health conditions that are known to be associated with mitochondria in some way or other, and they use it as well. So a very wide range of uses.

Terry Wahls:

Can you tell us, if somebody would say what they wanted to try MitoQ, is this a twice-a-day supplement, once a day, once a week? What’s the usual pattern?

William:

It’s a daily supplement. So the half-life of MitoQ — so that’s how long it kind of persists in your body after you take a dose — is suitable for daily dosing. We do have some people who do take it twice a day. So some people will take it in the morning, and then they’ll take a little bit extra in the afternoon just to keep them going. But it’s certainly suitable for the daily dosing. Yeah.

Terry Wahls:

Okay. And I believe you guys have… you originally had just MitoQ by itself, but now I see that you have a few other variations. Can you tell us a little bit more about the additional variations that you’ve developed?

William:

Yeah, of course. So like you say, we had originally had the MitoQ by itself, and it’s a low daily dose, 10 milligrams. And when you compare that to regular CoQ10, that’s quite a significant difference. What we noticed is that people were… Obviously, with their health, they have a specific focus. So a lot of people, their focus at any one time might be on their cardiovascular health. Or other people might be on their blood sugar, depending on what’s going on in their lives.

So, because the MitoQ can actually help with all these things, we came up with some additional products that all have the same amount of MitoQ as that original formula, but these other products have additional evidence-backed ingredients in them to help you focus on those areas you want. So while you’re still getting the whole body benefits of MitoQ, you’re also getting some extra focus on some areas, such as cardiovascular health, blood sugar. We have ones for joint and brain, etc.

Terry Wahls:

What are some of the other combination ingredients? For example, the MitoQ in Brain. what’s that combination?

William:

So in Brain, we have the MitoQ, of course. We have a ginkgo biloba extract in there, helping with vascular health in the brain. Phosphatidylserine. We have an ingredient, Zembrin, which is an alkaloid that helps with mood regulation, as well, so.

And then some of our other products, we… For example, Heart. We have magnesium, vitamin D, and things like that, which are ingredients that have evidence behind them to help with those areas. Certainly, we go with what’s proven and what’s safe, and we stick to nice, simple formulas like that.

Terry Wahls:

Yes. Yes. Excellent. Well, we are so glad that you’re coming back again. Do you have a particular pearl you’d like to share with our tribe about what you think is the most impressive part that you’ve seen with MitoQ?

William:

Well, I think, like I said, it’s so varied. We’ve had people whose daily activities were so restricted by their conditions and their health that they’re kind of at their wit’s end. And they find MitoQ, and they take it. And for some of those people, it really is life-changing.

And so we’re often humbled by some of the feedback we get from some of these people. And I guess that’s [inaudible 00:12:12] pretty humbling. But like I mentioned also, we also have sports people who are running faster than they ever have before and lifting weights, and other people who just have been feeling tired for years. And they try MitoQ, and they feel like they did 10 years ago. So it is very varied. And it’s hard to really pick a single one.

Terry Wahls:

Sure. So, if someone is going to try the MitoQ, would they anticipate seeing the benefit, if they would experience one, in a month? A week? Three months? How long would you need to take this to feel comfortable that you’ve given it a fair try?

William:

Well, it certainly varies between individuals, and it depends what else you’ve got going on. So MitoQ helps to reduce oxidative stress, which is the damage by free radicals, but that’s not the only thing that contribute to the way people feel in their health.

So some people notice it within days. They suddenly notice they feel different, or they have more energy. Others, it takes weeks, and others, it takes months. And again, because there are other things going on, then there are a small amount of people that don’t feel any benefit from MitoQ, and it’s the same with anything.

But what we recommend is that you take it for three months. And by that time, I think, if you were going to get some benefits from MitoQ, you would have seen them by then. And that’s why we actually offer a discount for a three month supply. So you can test it out.

Terry Wahls:

So you can test it out.

William:

Yeah, that’s right.

Terry Wahls:

Yeah. Again, to the tribe who’s listening in, that’s a pretty typical advice I’d give. If you want to try a new supplement to see if it’s going to be a benefit, I would note what symptom it is that you’re trying to address. So perhaps you’re at the MitoQ. It might be fatigue or mental clarity. You assess that and then try the supplement. And you could decide that you want to reassess that symptom monthly. And at the end of three months, I would go back and look at your baseline assessment, and then you could make a, hopefully, a fairly objective assessment.

How much benefit did you experience? No, and occasionally, I’ve had folks tell me that they started the new supplement, took it for three months and felt like it didn’t do anything. They stopped the supplement. And when they stopped, they realized, “Oh, wait a minute. I did feel better on the supplement.”

William:

That’s right. Yeah.

Terry Wahls:

And part of it is, we accommodate to the gradual improvement.

William:

That’s right.

Terry Wahls:

And so we may recognize how much better we’re feeling, until we’ve stopped it. And then we get-

William:

Yeah, that’s right. It’s a subtle energy. It’s from the very, kind of, core of where energy is produced. It’s not like a stimulant, for example, like caffeine, where you will notice that, straight away, so. And it’s the same for me. I notice it most when I stopped taking it. And then I’m like, “Oh, I feel a bit… I feel a bit flat.”

Terry Wahls:

You don’t have quite the same amount of energy.

William:

Yeah. Exactly.

Terry Wahls:

So, once again, William, we’re so glad that you and MitoQ will be coming back. We’re looking forward to having you.

William:

Thank you very much.

Terry Wahls:

It’ll be an exciting seminar. And we expect to have several hundred people there, once again. Actually, we know we will because we already have 200 people signed up, so.

William:

Wonderful. Very much looking forward to it.

Terry Wahls:

It’s to be a great time. And once again, thank you for helping make this event possible.

William:

Pleasure. Pleasure.


About William Stow, MitoQ Chief Scientific Officer

William Stow is the Chief Scientific Officer at MitoQ Ltd. William oversees MitoQ’s global efforts in innovation and product development, research & clinical studies and regulatory affairs. His university education is in pharmacology and physiology and he has previously worked as a managing editor and a pharmaceutical competitive intelligence manager for Wolters Kluwer and Springer Nature; two of the world’s pre-eminent STEM publishers. William has an extensive knowledge of medical science and healthcare technology and a comprehensive industry background, in both R&D and as a business executive.

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