Combining two sports supplements may delay the rate at which essential brain cells die off in people with Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disease. If you extrapolate Cornell neurologists’ animal study findings to humans, creatine and Q10 [structural formulas shown below] extend the life expectancy of people suffering from Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disease – and this may work for healthy people too.
There are no medicines yet for Parkinson’s or Huntington’s disease. That’s why researchers are studying the protective effects of nutrients on nerve cells, in the hope of finding a way of delaying the course of these diseases.
At present, trials are being conducted in which people with Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disease are being given creatine [Amino Acids. 2011 May; 40(5): 1305-13.] or Q10.
This research may also be interesting for people without neurodegenerative diseases. Animal studies have shown that creatine not only extends the lifespan of mice with the equivalent of Parkinson’s, but also that of normal mice. One theory is that the course that Parkinson’s and Huntington’s diseases take is a speeded up form of the aging processes that occur in healthy humans.
In 2010 researchers working under Flint Beal published in the Journal of Neurochemistry results of experiments they did with R6/2 HD mice. A genetic modification makes these mice resemble humans with Huntington’s disease, where a genetic defect leads to design errors in key proteins in the brain cells. The researchers also experimented with R6/2 mice whose genes had not been manipulated.
Some of the R6/2 HD mice were given food containing 2 percent creatine; others were given food containing 1 percent Q10. Yet another group got food containing both 2 percent creatine and 1 percent Q10.
The researchers made the animals run on a rotating axle and recorded how long it was before they fell off. The quicker that happens, the worse the state of the brain and nerve cells in the animals. As you can see, the supplements reduce the speed with which the diseases develop.
The lifespan of the R6/2 HD mice that were given creatine increased by 17 percent. Q10 supplements increased the lifespan by 14 percent, and the mice that were given both supplements had a 22 percent increase in lifespan.
“If both Q10 and creatine show efficacy in Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s disease clinical trials, then future studies of the two compounds in combination may be warranted”, the researchers conclude. “A combination of the two compounds would also be a promising approach for treating presymptomatic individuals, since both compounds are natural products and are well tolerated with few side effects.”
And just in case you were wondering: the research was funded by the American government, not by a supplements manufacturer.
Combination therapy with coenzyme Q10 and creatine produces additive neuroprotective effects in models of Parkinson’s and Huntington’s diseases.
Coenzyme Q(10) (CoQ(10)) and creatine are promising agents for neuroprotection in neurodegenerative diseases via their effects on improving mitochondrial function and cellular bioenergetics and their properties as antioxidants. We examined whether a combination of CoQ(10) with creatine can exert additive neuroprotective effects in a MPTP mouse model of Parkinson’s disease, a 3-NP rat model of Huntington’s disease (HD) and the R6/2 transgenic mouse model of HD. The combination of the two agents produced additive neuroprotective effects against dopamine depletion in the striatum and loss of tyrosine hydroxylase neurons in the substantia nigra pars compacta (SNpc) following chronic subcutaneous administration of MPTP. The combination treatment resulted in significant reduction in lipid peroxidation and pathologic alpha-synuclein accumulation in the SNpc neurons of the MPTP-treated mice. We also observed additive neuroprotective effects in reducing striatal lesion volumes produced by chronic subcutaneous administration of 3-NP to rats. The combination treatment showed significant effects on blocking 3-NP-induced impairment of glutathione homeostasis and reducing lipid peroxidation and DNA oxidative damage in the striatum. Lastly, the combination of CoQ(10) and creatine produced additive neuroprotective effects on improving motor performance and extending survival in the transgenic R6/2 HD mice. These findings suggest that combination therapy using CoQ(10) and creatine may be useful in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease and HD.
PMID: 19476553 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE] PMCID: PMC2866530