Leverage the Power of CoQ10 for Longevity and Physical Performance
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10 or Ubiquinol) has become quite a popular supplement in the past decade or so, especially in aged populations who stand to benefit the most from its consumption. However, many people fail to appreciate the full beauty of this pseudo vitamin, how it improves their life, and how it can be made even better.
Standing next to the side of every superhero is a sidekick—in the case of CoQ10 that often underestimated sidekick is named shilajit, a rather unorthodox exudate that shares a look and consistency of tar, obtained seemingly from rocks native to the Himalayas.
But before we delve into this dynamic duo, let’s take a quick refresher on them, shall we?
The Hero: CoQ10
CoQ10 is a fat soluble co-enzyme, closely related to vitamins and produced naturally by virtually all cells that respire, but of particular density in the mitochondria. CoQ10 is integrally involved in the process of ATP production (ATP is the primary energy currency of mammalian cells), and is an important part of the electron chain transport cycle. This cycle is responsible for the transporting electrons into the mitochondria, where ATP production is the goal.
CoQ10 also does much more however, as it also exerts a powerful anti-oxidant actions on these micro-organelles1, and is believed to have a strong relationship with the rate of cellular aging.2 This effect of increased energy production and oxidation buffering is very beneficial on the heart, helping reduce the rate of cardiovascular death by as much as half.
The Sidekick: Shilajit
Shilajit is interesting to say the least, used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine and native to the Himalayan regions. With its appearance resembling tar, it can best be considered a gum and a natural organic exudate, associated with a species of cactus endemic to this region.
Modern science has also confirmed the utility of shilajit3, for its role on promoting energy metabolism, reducing inflammation and protecting against numerous neurodegenerative conditions, including Parkinson’s and Alzheimers.4 Thus, shilajit is also believed to offset mitochondrial dysfunction, a strongly associated link to aging.
Shilajit and CoQ10 in Tandem
While CoQ10 by itself elicits measurable benefits of mitochondrial health and longevity,5 taken in conjunction with shilajit the results are nothing short of phenomenal.
Shilajit, it was found, works synergistically with CoQ10 thanks to its presence of fulvic and humic acid. Humic acid is found in humic compounds, which comprise the organic parts of soil, coal, rock, and more. These two compounds have very different functions, however, as the fulvic acid is believed to be responsible for making the energy extracted by the mitochondria more efficient, while the humic acid component enhances electron chain transport (speeding its transport).6
In turn, this makes shilajit comparable to a high-performance fuel additive for your car. Think of it this way; it improves energy efficiency, reduced the harmful and damaging effects of premature wear on the engine (your mitochondria) and promotes efficient buffering of waste materials. This translates to particular benefit on two of the largest energy consumers in our body; the brain and heart,7 and justifies why there appears to be such meaningful benefit on these two organs.
But why is it important to address mitochondrial dysfunction? Because, like anything in this life, repeated use leads to breakdown. Supplementation with CoQ10 and shilajit addresses all probable elements of mitochondrial dysfunction, which include:
- CoQ10 supplies the “manpower” that actually promotes electron transfer. Think of this as the literal workforce.
- Shilajit increases the speed of electron transfer
- This makes more electrons available for CoQ10 to transport into the mitochondria.
This Duo Improves Physical Performance
The key to improving your physical performance is to improve the efficiency of ATP production, which is necessary for your body to work at a high aerobic capacity. Under “normal” (or sub-optimal) conditions, the body is able to produce enough ATP to support your vital functions. But following a period of increased workload, things don’t go so well. Because the amount of ATP stored in the body at any one time is of finite quantity (and averages about 85g in a normal bodyweight adult male), it takes time for this production to ensue and for you to be able to continue performing at a high intensity.
Following consumption of exogenous CoQ10 and shilajit, the speed and efficiency of ATP production is increased, so that shorter rest periods are needed to recuperate in between working sets and sessions. So, if you work out multiple days per week, or with back to back sessions, you are bound to appreciate the difference you feel.
This Duo Can Improve Longevity
Longevity is a touchy topic, because it involves multiple gears turning simultaneously to result in a one-sided outcome. However, what is true is the fact that a brain that is experiencing accelerated aging will make you an old biologically, regardless of your chronological age.
In case you haven’t linked the association, diminished mitochondrial energy production has a very strong association with a degenerating brain, with Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s a stone’s throw away. A growing body of evidence shows that this dynamic duo can actually reverse these changes, one postulated mechanism being an increase in acetylcholine levels in the brain,8 with low levels a known associative factor in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.
Add that to findings like reduced accumulation of proteins in the brain that predispose one to Alzheimer’s, such as the beta-amyloid and tau proteins, and an increase in brain dopamine levels, and what you have is a powerful neuroprotective cocktail.
But no longevity promoting mix would be complete without cardio-protection. We know that the heart benefits from CoQ10 supplementation thanks to reduction of dangerous biomarkers, such as the c-reactive protein, but also for its blood pressure reducing actions9 and protective effects in people with cardiovascular disease or heart failure.
If you add shilajit to that mix not only does it favorably alter your heart rate, respiration, and blood pressure, 10 but can also minimize damage following a heart attack. Damage to heart muscle during a heart attack paves the way for heart failure and a miserable life—don’t wait for that to happen.
1. Duberley KE, Abramov AY, Chalasani A, et al. Human neuronal coenzyme Q10 deficiency results in global loss of mitochondrial respiratory chain activity, increased mitochondrial oxidative stress and reversal of ATP synthase activity: implications for pathogenesis and treatment. J Inherit Metab Dis. 2013 Jan;36(1):63-73.
2. Cadenas E, Davies KJ. Mitochondrial free radical generation, oxidative stress, and aging. Free Radic Biol Med. 2000 Aug;29(3-4):222-30.
3. Karbowski M, Neutzner A. Neurodegeneration as a consequence of failed mitochondrial maintenance. Acta Neuropathol. 2012 Feb;123(2):157-71.
4. Maruszak A, Zekanowski C. Mitochondrial dysfunction and Alzheimer’s disease. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2011 Mar 30;35(2):320-30.
5. Lanza IR, Nair KS. Mitochondrial function as a determinant of life span. Pflugers Arch. 2010 Jan;459(2):277-89.
6. Visser SA. Effect of humic substances on mitochondrial respiration and oxidative phosphorylation. Sci Total Environ. 1987 Apr;62:347-54.
7. De Pauw A, Tejerina S, Raes M, Keijer J, Arnould T. Mitochondrial (dys)function in 15. adipocyte (de)differentiation and systemic metabolic alterations. Am J Pathol. 2009 Sep;175(3):927-39.
8. Schliebs R, Liebmann A, Bhattacharya SK, et al. Systemic administration of defined extracts from Withania somnifera (Indian Ginseng) and Shilajit differentially affects cholinergic but not glutamatergic and GABAergic markers in rat brain. Neurochem Int. 1997 Feb;30(2):181-90.
9. Sander S, Coleman CI, Patel AA, et al. The impact of coenzyme Q10 on systolic function in patients with chronic heart failure. J Card Fail. 2006 Aug;12(6):464-72.
10. Joukar S, Najafipour H, Dabiri S, Sheibani M, Sharokhi N. Cardioprotective effect of mumie (shilajit) on experimentally induced myocardial injury. Cardiovasc Toxicol. 2014 Sep;14(3):214-21.