Science Current Events | Science News | Brightsurf.com
 

UC Santa Barbara chemist goes nano with CoQ10

July 25, 2008
(Santa Barbara, Calif.) -- If Bruce Lipshutz has his way, you may soon be buying bottles of water brimming with the life-sustaining coenzyme CoQ10 at your local Costco.

Lipshutz, a professor of chemistry at UC Santa Barbara, is the principal author of an upcoming review, "Transition Metal Catalyzed Cross-Couplings Going Green: in Water at Room Temperature," which will be published in Aldrichimica Acta in September. In it, Lipshutz and post-doctoral researcher Subir Ghorai discuss how recent advances in chemistry can be used to solubilize otherwise naturally insoluble compounds like CoQ10 into water.

Never heard of CoQ10? Lipshutz says you're not alone. "If you don't know anything about it," Lipshutz said during a recent interview, "that's not surprising to me. Much of the public hasn't heard of it." But he's on a mission to correct what he views as a major oversight. "In a sense, I'm just a messenger. People need to not only know about CoQ10, they need to take it."

Like vitamin C, CoQ10 is a compound that's vital to our survival. It's a coenzyme that our cells synthesize, albeit in 21 steps, and it's in every cell. This contrasts with a vitamin, such as vitamin C, which is not made by the body. Both CoQ10 and vitamin C are "compounds of evolution," Lipshutz said. "Everybody accepts the importance of vitamin C. The reason the public does not fully appreciate it is that there's no Linus Pauling for CoQ10. There is no champion."

Pauling, a Nobel Prize-winning scientist, was also an advocate for greater consumption of vitamin C. "CoQ is not really in that category of public awareness yet," Lipshutz said.

While the body produces its own CoQ10, that production decreases with age. "Nature gave us, through 2.5 billion years of evolution, a number of fundamental anti-aging, free-radical scavengers that helped us to survive, on average, only to about 40 years of age, until modern medicine came along," Lipshutz said.

A large percentage of the body is made up of water, "but there are also the lipophilic portions of our cells that make up the non-aqueous part," Lipshutz explained. At some point in our evolution, the water-soluble antioxidant vitamin C was produced in vivo, or what would technically be "coenzyme C." Eventually, "a mutation took place that now prevents humans from making it," he said. "However, evolution chose not to mutate out CoQ10."

If one doesn't get vitamin C, the consequences can be dire. "It's essential for several cellular processes. For example, everyone knows about scurvy," Lipshutz said. "You can last 30 days, maybe 60 days, as your cells deteriorate."

On the other hand, CoQ10 - much of which is in the mitochondria of our cells - is essential for cellular respiration and ATP (adenosine triphosphate) production. "You wouldn't last 30 minutes without CoQ10," he said. "Thus, evolution teaches us that CoQ10 is as important as vitamin C. But who's teaching this to our aging population? Nobody."

Lipshutz has a history of CoQ10 research at UCSB. Initially, he retooled the chemistry that would produce the supplement via synthesis instead of fermentation, which is what Japan used to become the world leader in CoQ10 production. But China's entry into the CoQ10 market only a few years ago changed everything.

"The price of CoQ for over 30 years was about $1,600 per kilo as produced by the Japanese," Lipshutz said. "The Chinese came along and, for the time being, have dramatically altered the market by deciding at the government level that they were going to own this important area of dietary supplements. CoQ10 can now be purchased for as little as $400 a kilo, which in principle is great news for consumers."

When the supply of CoQ10 grew faster than demand, Lipshutz went into the lab to study what else could be done with this life-enriching compound. After all, CoQ is now readily available. At Costco or drug stores, you can buy CoQ10 formulated into softgels that deliver the nutrient in various strengths. It's marketed as helping to provide a boost in energy as well as a healthy heart. But, Lipshutz notes, you absorb only10-15 percent of CoQ10 in the softgel form. How, he asked, could this become more available and bioefficient?

"The future is not about access to CoQ10 anymore," he said. "It's not about, 'Do we have the best synthesis?' or 'Can we compete with the Chinese?' It's about getting it into water, so that we can get it into our mitochondria."

Quite a challenge since CoQ10 is water insoluble. The answer? Go nano.

"We do it with nano-micelle-forming technology," Lipshutz said. He starts by putting a known, inexpensive molecule called PTS into water, which spontaneously forms a nanosphere about 25 nanometers (one nanometer is equal to one billionth of a meter) in diameter. This sphere has a lipophilic portion tied to a hydrophilic portion through a linker. The lipophilic portion, which is actually vitamin E, goes to the center. "The vitamin E portion associates in the middle with itself because it doesn't have any solubility, any energy-lowering interactions, with the water around it," Lipshutz said. "But the external or hydrophilic portion associates with water.

"So, on the outside is the water-loving portion, while the lipophilic, or grease-loving portion, is on the inside. When you add the CoQ, it says, 'Where would I rather be?' Since like dissolves like, the CoQ10 goes inside the micelle. It's 25 nanometers and it's crystal clear. And, it's stable at room temperature."

That's nanotechnology. It delivers twice the amount of the compound into the bloodstream, and the concentration in water can be adjusted, he said. This approach can be applied to a broad range of nutraceuticals, including omega-3s, carotenoids like lutein and beta-carotene, and resveratrol. "We can also take pharmaceuticals, like Taxol, an anti-tumor agent, and put them into just water or saline using this PTS," he said.

By taking advantage of this micellar technology, synthetic chemistry can also be done inside the nano-containers. That translates into doing chemistry in pure water, and at room temperature. "That's green chemistry," Lipshutz said.

The amount of heat usually needed in reactions, and the waste created by organic solvents, are dramatically reduced. Lipshutz hopes that when his processes are looked at on a much larger scale, a savings of metric tons of solvent, currently released into the environment, will be realized.

"We aim to get organic solvents out of organic reactions," he said. "And we're already looking into next-generation possibilities. All of our green chemistry has come out of being able to put CoQ10 and other dietary supplements into water."

Lipshutz sees this as his most significant contribution to an already illustrious career as an organic chemist.

"It's an opportunity to affect every person on the planet," he says proudly.

University of California - Santa Barbara


Related Coenzyme Current Events and Coenzyme News Articles


Fatheads: How neurons protect themselves against excess fat
We're all fatheads. That is, our brain cells are packed with fat molecules, more of them than almost any other cell type.

New cancer diagnostic technique debuts
Cancer cells break down sugars and produce the metabolic acid lactate at a much higher rate than normal cells.

Scripps Florida Scientists Develop New Compound that Reverses Fatty Liver Disease
Scientists from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have developed the first synthetic compound that can reverse the effects of a serious metabolic condition known as fatty liver disease.

Berkeley Lab Scientists Help Develop Promising Therapy for Huntington's Disease
There's new hope in the fight against Huntington's disease. A group of researchers that includes scientists from the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have designed a compound that suppresses symptoms of the devastating disease in mice.

Vitamin C and beta-carotene might protect against dementia
Forgetfulness, lack of orientation, cognitive decline- about 700, 000 Germans suffer from Alzheimer's disease (AD). Now researchers from the University of Ulm, among them the Epidemiologist Professor Gabriele Nagel and the Neurologist Professor Christine von Arnim, have discovered that the serum-concentration of the antioxidants vitamin C and beta-carotene are significantly lower in patients with mild dementia than in control persons.

New cause of child blindness identified
One of the mysteries of blindness has been solved. A team of international scientists in collaboration with the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI MUHC) identified a new gene responsible for Leber Congenital Amaurosis (LCA), a devastating genetic form of blindness in newborns.

Study indicates promise in Huntington's treatment
A new study shows that the compound Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ) reduces oxidative damage, a key finding that hints at its potential to slow the progression of Huntington disease.

New studies hint at possible approaches to protect those at risk for Huntington's disease
In Huntington's disease, abnormally long strands of glutamine in the huntingtin (Htt) protein, called polyglutamines, cause subtle changes in cellular functions that lead to neurodegeneration and death.

Statin use appears associated with modest reduction in Parkinson's disease risk
Regular use of cholesterol-lowering statin drugs may be associated with a modest reduction in risk for developing Parkinson disease, particularly among younger patients.

Animal results may pave way to treating rare mitochondrial diseases in children
A human drug that both prevents and cures kidney failure in mice sheds light on disabling human mitochondrial disorders, and may represent a potential treatment in people with such illnesses.
More Coenzyme Current Events and Coenzyme News Articles

The Coenzyme Q10 Phenomenon

The Coenzyme Q10 Phenomenon
by Stephen T., M.D. Sinatra (Author)


How to combat heart disease, mitral valve prolapse, cancer, and much more by supplementing a little-known vitamin-like substance produced by your body.

Nadh: The Energizing Coenzyme

Nadh: The Energizing Coenzyme
by Georg Birkmayer (Author)


A breakthrough treatment for Parkinson's disease.

Coenzyme Q10: Does it Work? (Supplements: Reviewing the Evidence)

Coenzyme Q10: Does it Work? (Supplements: Reviewing the Evidence)


Can coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) make you healthier and more energetic? Or is it a waste of money? How much should you take? This short and simple book reviews the scientific literature to find out.

Coenzyme Q10: The Essence of Energy (Woodland Health)

Coenzyme Q10: The Essence of Energy (Woodland Health)
by Barbara Wexler MPH (Author)


Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a vitamin-like compound that is vital for energy metabolism throughout the body. Also known as ubiquinone because of its ubiquity in all cells, CoQ10 is essential for the basic functioning of every cell in the body. Learn how CoQ10 can provide you with boosted energy and better health with this booklet from the Woodland Health Series.

Coenzyme Q10: Discover the Spark of Life (Healthy Living Guide)

Coenzyme Q10: Discover the Spark of Life (Healthy Living Guide)
by Sherry Torkos (Author)


Inside our bodies, there is a flurry of activity on the cellular level. An instantaneous and dynamic interplay among all the cells helps them carry out the task of keeping us healthy. One specific coenzyme is absolutely critical to providing cells with the energy they need to accomplish their tasks. Not a stimulant, coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a vital nutrient that provides the spark our cells need. Holistic pharmacist and author Sherry Torkos explains how CoQ10 can help prevent and treat some of the most serious illnesses of our time, including heart disease, cancer, Parkinson's disease, type 2 diabetes, and more. Discover why researchers, doctors, pharmacists, and other health care professionals are recommending CoQ10 to their patients.

Coenzyme Q10: All-Around Nutrient for All-Around Health! Latest Research As a Heart Strengthener, Energy Promoter, Aging Fighter and Much More

Coenzyme Q10: All-Around Nutrient for All-Around Health! Latest Research As a Heart Strengthener, Energy Promoter, Aging Fighter and Much More
by Beth M. Ley-Jacobs (Author)


Coenzyme Q10 has literally thousands of scientific studies and clinical trials demonstrating that it can:
- Protect and strengthen the cardiovascular system
- Revitalize the immune system
- Retard aging and possible extend life
- Energize the body and increase stamina
- Normalize blood pressure
- Reduce weight naturally
- Benefit a variety of mitochondrial-related conditions including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s Diseases
- Control and possibly reverse gum-related problems
- Reduce photoaging (wrinkles) when applied directly to the skin. CoQ10 is found in every living cell. It is responsible for producing cellular energy and is essential for life to exist. With age, insufficient levels of CoQ10 become more common, putting us at...

Coenzyme Q10 And The Heart

Coenzyme Q10 And The Heart
by Stephen Sinatra (Author)


Successfully treat most cardiac conditions.

Coenzyme Q10

Coenzyme Q10
by William Lee (Author)


Needed by every cell in the body, our supply of the mysterious coenzyme Q-10 dwindles with age, leading to many degenerative diseases and other effects of aging. This concise guide tells the exciting story of how replenishing the body's store's of Q-10 has relieved many ills and reversed the march of age.

Co-enzyme Q10 to Treat Neurological Disorders

Co-enzyme Q10 to Treat Neurological Disorders
by Oscar Arias-Carrión (Author), Mohamed Salama (Author), Sergio Machado (Author)


Coenzyme Q10 plays a pivotal role in mitochondrial respiratory chain for cell power supply. Coenzyme Q10 serves as a physiological electron (e–) shuttle from complexes I and II to complex III, as well as a potent antioxidant. In different types of neurological disorders, dysfunction of the respiratory chain leads to reduced ATP levels and increased generation of reactive oxygen species. Coenzyme Q10 supplementation has been widely used in such targeted therapies, including aging, stroke, neuromuscular diseases, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer's disease, progressive supranuclear palsy, autosomal recessive cerebellar ataxias, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and Huntington’s disease. This book summarized a large number of experimental and clinical trials for Coenzyme Q10 based therapies...

Methods in Enzymology, Volume 18: Vitamins and Coenzymes, Part A

Methods in Enzymology, Volume 18: Vitamins and Coenzymes, Part A
by Donald B. McCormick (Editor), Lemuel D. Wright (Editor)


The critically acclaimed laboratory standard, Methods in Enzymology, is one of the most highly respected publications in the field of biochemistry. Since 1955, each volume has been eagerly awaited, frequently consulted, and praised by researchers and reviewers alike. The series contains much material still relevant today - truly an essential publication for researchers in all fields of life sciences.

© 2014 BrightSurf.com