View all posts

The Evidence Behind Resveratrol and CoQ10's Effects on Aging

By Diana Licalzi, MS, RD, LDN, June 10, 2020
resveratrol wine coq10 aging longevity

Resveratrol and Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) have risen in popularity as potential supplements to combat aging. While studies focused on humans and longevity remain very limited, both supplements show potential to lower blood glucose, an important biomarker associated with aging and longevity. 

Blood glucose, or blood sugar, is the body's primary source of fuel, and maintaining optimal levels contribute to overall health and longevity. A wealth of peer-reviewed scientific literature suggests that longevity can be predicted by an individual's fasting glucose levels—in fact, one study of more than 5,000 people found that lower glucose levels were correlated with longer lifespan. This relationship has lead to glucose's use as an indicator of one's biological age, or as we call it at InsideTracker, InnerAge. So, if you have trouble regulating your glucose levels, the glucose-lowering effects of resveratrol or CoQ10 supplementation may have beneficial impact on your longevity. Of note, the research of these supplements on longevity remains preliminary, and, as always, always consult a medical doctor before taking any nutritional supplements.

Get our FREE InnerAge eBook

Resveratrol is an antioxidant that may improve elevated blood glucose

Like many other health-promoting antioxidants, resveratrol is a polyphenol produced by some plants in response to stress or injury in a process called xenohormesis. Resveratrol is found in red wine, grapes, cocoa, peanuts, and blueberries, and in the 1990s, scientists discovered its cardioprotective properties. In fact, they hypothesized the antioxidant could explain the heart-healthy benefits of red wine, as one five-ounce glass of red wine contains about 1.8mg of resveratrol. 

Since then, extensive studies of resveratrol have shown it can delay or prevent the progression of various diseases, including cancer, heart disease, and diabetes in animals. In more recent years, resveratrol has gained attention for its role in aging, particularly with the release of longevity scientist Dr. David Sinclair's book Lifespan, in which he details the relationship between the antioxidant and longevity. Lifespan details studies of resveratrol in yeast, worms, and fish, all of which resulted in longer lifespans in the study species. There are several possible explanations for this effect. First, resveratrol activates sirtuins—a class of enzymes involved in longevity and aging. In particular, it activates SIRT1, whose activity results in a biological environment similar to calorie restriction, another proven method for lifespan extension.

Glucose_ReccTo date, no studies have examined resveratrol's effects on lifespan in humans. However, many clinical trials demonstrate its impact on metabolic health outcomes, especially glucose. According to a handful of studies, consistent supplementation of 1 gram of resveratrol can reduce glucose levels by up to 35mg/dL.[1-2] It can also improve insulin sensitivity and reduce oxidative stress in the body.[3] The best way to determine whether a resveratrol supplement is improving your blood glucose levels is through regular blood tests.

 

  • Coenzyme Q10 is an enzyme related to energy metabolism

Coenzyme Q10, also known as "ubiquinone," is a type of enzyme synthesized naturally by the body and found in almost every cell and tissue. CoQ10 works by stimulating our cell's mitochondria to produce energy in the form of adenosine triposhopate (ATP), and, therefore, helping the body convert food into energy more efficiently. Furthermore, CoQ10 works as an antioxidant in both the mitochondria and cell membranes, thereby helping to prevent cellular damage.

CoQ10 levels in our cells naturally decline with age, and lower CoQ10 levels are often associated with many health conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, and neurodegenerative diseases.[5] Fortunately, both dietary and supplement sources can increase CoQ10 levels—the most potent food sources are meat, including beef, pork, and chicken. More specifically, as high-energy body parts, animal organs contain the greatest concentrations of the enzyme. Sardine, herring, and mackerel also contain significant amounts of CoQ10, and extra virgin olive oil, canola oil, soybean oil, peanuts, and sesame seeds make the best vegetarian sources.[5]

 

Sources of CQ10 enzyme

So, how is CoQ10 involved in longevity? One of the proposed theories of aging is a decline in energy metabolism, in which CoQ10 has an important role. And though some studies have shown that supplementing with CoQ10 may improve the mitochondrial function of mice, few studies have examined its effects on longevity in humans.[6-7] In a small randomized controlled trial, older adults were given a combination of selenium and CoQ10 every day for four years.[8] Results showed improvements in vitality, physical performance, and overall quality of life, and after a twelve-year follow-up, participants also displayed reduced cardiovascular mortality compared to the placebo group.[9] And like to resveratrol, additional research exists regarding CoQ10's effect on glucose levels—results of such studies show a low dose of the enzyme (around 10mg) can improve markers associated with diabetes, including glucose and HbA1c levels, which may impact longevity.[10-12] 

 
 

To recap:

 
  • Resveratrol and CoQ10 supplementation extends the life of several organisms, and positively impacts metabolic function in animals. 
  • Further research is needed to fully understand the effects of both supplements and their effects on longevity in humans.
  • Optimal glucose levels are often correlated with a longer lifespan, and multiple studies show that both supplements improve glucose levels.
Get our FREE InnerAge eBook

20170517 Diana Licalzi0312 (1x1)

Diana Licalzi, MS, RD 
  • Diana is a Content Strategist and Team Nutritionist at InsideTracker. As a Registered Dietitian and self-proclaimed "biohacker," Diana enjoys researching and testing the latest trends and technology in the field of nutrition and aging. You'll often find Diana , completing a 24-hour fast, conducting self experiments, or uncovering strategies to increase longevity. Follow her on Instagram at @dietitian.diana.
  •  

 

References

[1] Antihyperglycemic effects of short term resveratrol supplementation in type 2 diabetic patients.

[2] Resveratrol treatment as an adjunct to pharmacological management in type 2 diabetes mellitus--systematic review and meta-analysis.

[3] Effect of resveratrol on glucose control and insulin sensitivity: a meta-analysis of 11 randomized controlled trials.

[4] Resveratrol improves insulin sensitivity, reduces oxidative stress and activates the Akt pathway in type 2 diabetic patients.

[5] https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/dietary-factors/coenzyme-Q10

[6] Schmelzer C, Kubo H, Mori M, et al. Supplementation with the reduced form of coenzyme Q10 decelerates phenotypic characteristics of senescence and induces a peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-alpha gene expression signature in SAMP1 mice. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2010;54(6):805-815. 

[7] Tian G, Sawashita J, Kubo H, et al. Ubiquinol-10 supplementation activates mitochondria functions to decelerate senescence in senescence-accelerated mice. Antioxid Redox Signal. 2014;20(16):2606-2620.  

[8] Johansson P, Dahlstrom O, Dahlstrom U, Alehagen U. Improved health-related quality of life, and more days out of hospital with supplementation with selenium and coenzyme Q10 combined. Results from a double-blind, placebo-controlled prospective study. J Nutr Health Aging. 2015;19(9):870-877. 

 

[9] Alehagen U, Aaseth J, Alexander J, Johansson P. Still reduced cardiovascular mortality 12 years after supplementation with selenium and coenzyme Q10 for four years: A validation of previous 10-year follow-up results.
 
[10]  A meta-analysis of randomized and placebo-controlled clinical trials suggests that coenzyme Q10 at low dose improves glucose and HbA1c levels.

[11] Effects on cardiovascular and metabolic biomarkers in overweight and obese patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus: a pooled analysis.

[12] Effects of Coenzyme Q10 Supplementation on Serum Values of Gamma-glutamyl transferase, Pseudocholinesterase, Bilirubin, Ferritin, and High-Sensitivity C-Reactive Protein in Women with Type 2 Diabetes.