MitoQ is special among antioxidants because it can concentrate in the mitochondria, the source of most free radicals. In animal trials, it delayed aging and protected the heart, liver, and brain. However, clinical evidence hasn’t yet supported these preliminary findings. Read on to learn the potential MitoQ benefits, along with suggested dosage, user reviews, and side effects. What is MitoQ?
MitoQ (mitoquinone) is a CoQ10 lookalike, an antioxidant that is attracted to the source of most free-radicals: the mitochondria . Unlike most other antioxidants, it can concentrate hundreds of times in the mitochondria [ 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 ].
The health of our mitochondria is vital. They provide energy to our hardest-working cells, including those in the heart, liver, and brain. And when they are stressed by inflammation or free radicals, they can kill the cell they live in (apoptosis) [ 5 , 6 ].
Mitochondrial damage is a problem in many conditions, from heart and liver disease to Alzheimer’s . It is also seen in aging, osteoporosis, and hair loss [ 2 , 7 ].
When free radicals are removed in the mitochondria (by catalase ) mouse lifespan is increased by 10%. It is proposed that MitoQ might achieve similar results in humans, but clinical trials to back this up are lacking [ 8 ].
Proponents: Supports mitochondrial function
Combats oxidative stress
May delay aging
May protect the brain and heart
May improve metabolism
Skeptics: Clinical evidence is scarce and not reliable
Health claims seem promotional
Long-term safety unknown
May not help with Parkinson’s
May increase cell acidity
CoQ 10 is a mitochondrial antioxidant, but the body does not easily absorb it. When taken as a supplement, a lot of it does not reach the mitochondria. MitoQ might solve these problems, though it is not quite as powerful an antioxidant as CoQ 10 [ 9 , 4 ].
It also does not replace CoQ 10 ‘s essential role in making energy [ 10 ]. Health Benefits
No valid clinical evidence supports the use of MitoQ for any of the conditions in this section. Below is a summary of up-to-date animal studies, cell-based research, or low-quality clinical trials which should spark further investigation. However, you shouldn’t interpret them as supportive of any health benefit. 2) Liver Protection
MitoQ reduced liver enzymes in a trial of 30 patients with hepatitis C. However, the authors didn’t report the effects on liver function and disease progression [ 11 ].
However, we should take the results with a huge grain of salt because [ 11 ]: The study was funded by a pharmaceutical company that owns MitoQ
Some study authors are connected to the company and hold share options
In a study on rats, MitoQ protected the liver from damage due to alcohol (by lowering free radicals and HIF1α) [ 12 ].
MitoQ prevented liver fibrosis from free radicals in mice [ 13 ].
No clinical evidence supports the use of MitoQ for any of the conditions listed in this section. Below is a summary of the existing animal and cell-based studies; they should guide further investigational efforts but should not be interpreted as supportive of any health benefit. Free-Radical Damage, Cell Death, and Aging
A meta-analysis of 27 animal studies summarized the effects of MitoQ on aging-related biomarkers. The authors concluded it “ may be of some benefit in alleviating oxidative stress related to aging ” [ 14 ].
MitoQ raises glutathione and prevents DNA damage and cell death (apoptosis) from free radicals in human cells [ 9 , 1 , 15 , 4 ].It also protects fats from free radicals in rat cells [ 16 ].In human cells, MitoQ is 800 times stronger than idebenone (another CoQ 10 analog) at preventing cell death from free radicals [ 17 ].According to a review of preclinical trials, MitoQ prevents mitochondrial DNA damage from UV better than resveratrol , curcumin , or NAC [ 18 ]. Heart Protection In studies on rats, MitoQ prevented heart failure from cocaine or chemotherapy use by decreasing free radicals, preserving energy production, and lowering inflammation ( TNF-alpha ) [ 19 , 20 , 21 ].During shock, MitoQ protected heart muscle in rats and mice [ 21 ]. Blood Flow and Blood Pressure MitoQ lowered high blood pressure in a study on rats [ 22 ].The blood vessels harden as we age. In mice, MitoQ improved blood flow by increasing the elasticity of blood vessels and protecting them from free radical damage (by raising MnSOD ) [ 23 ].In a study on rats, MitoQ helped with infections by decreasing inflammation and helping cells make enough energy [ 27 ].Scientists observed its potential to decrease inflammation from infections in human cells [ 28 ]. Alzheimer’s Disease In mice models of Alzheimer’s , MitoQ prevents cognitive decline, nerve loss, injury from free radicals, and build-up of amyloid-beta [ 29 ].In worms with Alzheimer’s-related genes, it extended lifespan by 14%. However, it did not do so in normal worms [ 30 ]. Multiple Sclerosis MitoQ slowed disease progression, reduced inflammation, and saved spinal cord neurons in a multiple sclerosis mouse model [ 31 ]. Weight Gain and Metabolic Syndrome In studies on rats and mice on high-fat diets, scientists examined the potential of MitoQ to decrease weight gain and lower blood insulin and sugar levels [ 32 , 33 ].Cardiolipin is crucial for the health of mitochondria . Free radicals can destroy cardiolipin in aging, diabetes, heart failure, thyroid disease, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) [ 34 , 35 , 36 ].MitoQ increases cardiolipin in the livers of rats on high-fat diets [ 37 ]. Lifespan Extension MitoQ increased lifespan and reduced telomere shortening in human fibroblast cells under oxidative stress , but did not help in normal conditions [ 38 ].MitoQ extended lifespan in transgenic worms with Alzheimer’s genes but did not do so in normal worms. It also didn’t extend life in normal flies [ 30 , 39 ]. It’s important to note that the observations made in test-tube studies […]