Dementia, despite its prevalence, remains largely a mystery to doctors and scientists, who have yet to find a foolproof way to prevent or treat the illness. We’ve all heard that foods like blueberries and those containing omega 3s can reduce your risk to a degree, but one of the more exciting developments in the fight against dementia in recent years is the ability of coenzyme Q10, or coQ10, to significantly lower your risk.
A study that was published in the Atherosclerosis journal highlighted this ability after looking at adults aged between 40 and 69. They compared those who developed dementia with control subjects who were the same age but did not develop the disease, measuring the serum CoQ10 levels of everyone involved.
They discovered that those individuals whose levels of CoQ10 were within the top 25 percent of all those measured enjoyed a remarkable 77 percent lower chance of developing dementia than those who fell into the lowest quarter of CoQ10 levels. In addition, those with the highest levels of CoQ10 also had healthier levels of cholesterol.
Why is CoQ10 so useful in this regard? According to experts, it lowers oxidative stress in the brain, along with amyloid plaque. It also helps to heal the mitochondrial impairment that stands in the way of energy production.
Could you use more CoQ10?
Your body naturally produces the antioxidant CoQ10, which is also known as ubiquinone. Its main job is helping your body convert the food you eat into the energy needed to power your brain and your body in general, but it also serves other purposes, such as preventing blood clots.
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As you age, your CoQ10 levels will decrease naturally, and they also drop very low if you have heart disease, dementia, Parkinson’s, HIV/AIDS, or cancer. Deficiencies can also be seen in those who take statins. Unfortunately, having low levels of CoQ10 has been linked to a host of illnesses like cancer progression and melanoma metastasis.
Because nearly every cell in your body depends on CoQ10, it’s important to ensure you are getting enough of it – especially if you are hoping to reduce your chances of developing dementia later in life, along with other brain diseases like Parkinson’s.
You can find CoQ10 in oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and tuna, which also have the benefit of containing lots of healthy fats. It can also be found in soybeans, peanuts, spinach, cauliflower, and broccoli.
It’s difficult to get enough CoQ10 from your diet, so many people enlist the help of supplements to ensure their levels are adequate. In fact, CoQ10 supplements have proven useful in lowering cancer risk and helping to heal heart disease. The supplements can also help those suffering from high blood sugar and even diabetes.
Because it’s made naturally by your body, it is considered generally quite safe to take as a supplement, as long as you are getting a pure product from a trustworthy source. Studies haven’t found any serious side effects, although some people may experience mild effects like nausea, heartburn, headaches or insomnia. Some people might want to steer clear, however, such as those who are pregnant or taking blood thinners, chemotherapy medications, or beta blockers.
Although we are still only scratching the surface when it comes to understanding this puzzling disease, it’s encouraging to know that there are safe and natural ways you can reduce the chances you’ll develop dementia.