Coenzyme Q10 deficiency raises the risk of prediabetes
(Naturalhealth365) How is coenzyme Q10 linked to blood sugar issues like, prediabetes? And, more importantly, what can we do to eliminate the risk of future health problems. Let’s take a closer look.
Prediabetes – in which blood sugar levels are elevated, but not high enough to meet the clinical threshold for diabetes – is extremely common in the United States. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 37 percent of adults over age 20 and 57 percent of those over age 65 have this preliminary condition.
WARNING: If untreated, prediabetes can lead to type 2 diabetes – which carries increased risks of heart disease, cataracts, and kidney damage. Now, recently published research shows that having low levels of the nutrient coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) markedly raises your risk of developing insulin resistance and prediabetes.
CoQ10 protects our health in MANY ways
CoQ10, a vitamin-like molecule found in every cell of the body, is responsible for converting nutrients into energy – by way of a molecule called ATP (Adenosine triphosphate). CoQ10 is an essential component of mitochondria – the tiny organelles that function as the “powerhouses” of the cells – and a certain amount of this nutrient is needed to maintain mitochondrial function and facilitate the flow of electricity within the cell.
In addition to promoting energy production, CoQ10 is also a potent antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and vasodilator, with the ability to relax and widen blood vessels and promote blood flow.
Unfortunately, levels of CoQ10 decline sharply with normal aging.
And, it should be noted: statin drugs, commonly used to lower elevated cholesterol, can deplete the body’s stores of CoQ10 – setting the stage for deficiency and potentially raising the risk of some diseases.
Study says: Restoring healthy coenzyme Q10 levels can reverse prediabetes
In research published this month in the journal eLife, scientists found that body fat and muscle tissue taken from subjects with insulin resistance – a marker of prediabetes – had lower concentrations of CoQ10.
The good news: replenishing CoQ10 in mitochondria had the effect of restoring normal insulin sensitivity, thereby reversing insulin resistance and prediabetes.
From previous studies, the team knew that insulin resistance is linked with reactive oxygen species, also known as oxidants. Harmful byproducts of energy production, oxidants can damage cells and tissues and promote disease. Because CoQ10 is a potent antioxidant, it helps to protect against this type of damage – thereby helping to improve insulin resistance.
The team concluded that replenishing CoQ10 could provide an “invaluable” preventive measure for insulin resistance – and help ward off “prediabetes-linked” diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancer and dementia.
This relatively new study is not the only research to document the beneficial effects of CoQ10. Its findings were supported by a 2014 study published in the Journal of Diabetes and Metabolic Disorders, in which researchers found that supplementation with CoQ10 significantly lowered fasting plasma blood sugar and hemoglobin A1C levels.
Be careful: Low levels of CoQ10 trigger disease-causing inflammation
Other research has demonstrated that low levels of CoQ10 are linked to chronic inflammation, which many researchers believe is at the root of such conditions as prediabetes, diabetes, cancer and heart disease.
In a study published in Heart and Vessels, researchers measured CoQ10 in heart patients diagnosed with a variety of serious conditions that included ischemic cardiomyopathy, venous thromboembolism, and aortic disease.
The team found that lower levels of COQ10 were linked with higher levels of C-reactive protein, a biomarker of inflammation linked with heart disease. And, the researchers discovered that patients with lower levels of CoQ10 not only had a greater risk of inflammation – but were more likely to die while hospitalized.
In yet another study, CoQ10 supplementation significantly lowered levels of CRP and the pro-inflammatory cytokine interleukin-6 – while increasing levels of adiponectin, a beneficial anti-inflammatory protein.
Is CoQ10 supplementation right for me?
Risk factors for prediabetes – which is generally defined as fasting glucose levels between 100 and 125 milligrams per deciliter – include being over 45 years old, having high blood pressure, suffering from sleep apnea, having chronic inflammation or having family members with a history of diabetes.
Eating a diet high in toxic fats and processed sugars can also raise risk, as can taking certain medications, such as corticosteroids.
If you are at risk for insulin resistance or prediabetes, supplementation with coenzyme Q10 could be a wise choice. As always, consult with your integrative healthcare provider, who can help advise a dosage that is right for you.
Of course, it is possible to raise your dietary intake of coenzyme Q10 with grass-fed beef, sardines, poultry and organ meats, such as liver. Vegans and vegetarians can increase their dietary consumption by eating cruciferous vegetables such as Brussels sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower. but, in many cases, supplementation may still be necessary to address severe deficiencies.
Bottom line: as recent research has revealed, maintaining healthy coenzyme Q10 levels may be one of the best things you can do to ward off prediabetes. It is obvious that scientists have only begun to explore the true disease-fighting and anti-aging potential of this extraordinary micronutrient.
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