Coenzyme Q10 may prevent damage to the liver caused by alcohol

May 02, 2011

Chronic alcoholics suffer from a build up of fat in their liver. When alcohol is metabolized in the liver it churns out free radicals that can damage the power plants in each liver cell known as mitochondria. This prevents them from using sufficient amounts of oxygen to produce energy. Moreover, the hypoxia (the low oxygen condition) worsens the damage to these power plants promoting the formation of fatty deposits in the liver; a condition referred to as steatosis.  Fatty liver can lead to liver cancer and cirrhosis (liver failure).

Giving a form of Coenzyme Q10 aimed at the mitochondria intercepts and neutralizes the free radicals before they can damage the mitochondria blocking the cascade of effects that leads to fatty liver. University of Alabama at Birmingham researchers fed rats alcohol daily for six-weeks. As predicted alcohol abuse led to liver cell ballooning and steatosis. Coenzyme Q10 reduced steatosis and completely blocked the elevation of H1F1alpha – an enzyme thought to be necessary for fat accumulation in the liver and for developing fatty liver disease. Coenzyme Q10 also blocked aldehyde formation; these are associated with hangovers. The study is published online April 21st, 2011 in the journal Hepatology.