When Will Stow first started as MitoQ’s Chief Scientific Officer, only around half a dozen people were working at the company’s head office in New Zealand. Now, in 2021, the ‘MitoQCrew’ keep in touch across multiple countries and serve customers around the globe. For Will, the science behind MitoQ continues to be as exciting as it was the day he started.
“MitoQ itself has so much potential across almost every kind of area – so I’m spoilt for choice, really”, tells Will. “You can name a health topic and there’s going to be some kind of potential there with MitoQ.”
On a day-to-day basis, Will oversees MitoQ’s research and development – among a long list of other responsibilities. Over the past five years, Will has been involved in both internal and external collaborative research projects carried out on MitoQ, and he has developed a thorough knowledge of the benefits of our world-first antioxidant. With this in mind, we thought: who better to answer all of your frequently asked MitoQ questions?
Why is cellular health important?
Will: Cellular health is important because your entire body is made up of cells. Everything except your hair and nails is made up of cells and even those things are made by cells. So, keeping your cells healthy means that your organs function properly, all your different bodily systems function like they should and integrate with each other.
Basically, healthy cells are at the core of a healthy person. You can’t have a healthy person without healthy cells.
How can you improve cellular health?
Will: There are a few ways. There are several processes that are known to damage cellular health – too much sun, smoking, etc. - so it’s important to reduce or avoid those things. Obviously, a healthy diet is important because your cells are literally made out of the food you eat. Exercise, sleep - all of those things that we know are good for us - are good for us because they’re good for our cells.
What are mitochondria and what are their main function?
Will: Mitochondria are organelles – which is kind of like, if the cell is a body then the organelle is an organ of the cell – and their main job is to produce energy. They convert the air we breathe and the food we eat into a form of energy that cells can use to function and grow. They have a whole host of other functions too – but energy production is their main gig.
Can you repair damaged mitochondria?
Will: Yes – to an extent. If they become too damaged there are processes that cause them to die and to be absorbed back into the cell. However, they do have their own repair processes. So, if you can stop the damage that’s occurring then there can be some repair.
Mitochondria can form new mitochondria – so, if you can stop that damage, it stops damage from being sent on to the next generation of mitochondria.
What can MitoQ be used for?
Will: The main thing MitoQ does is reduce oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is when the balance of your body’s antioxidants and free radicals gets ‘out of wack’ and tips in favor of the free radicals. Excess Free radicals are damaging, so, being a really potent antioxidant, MitoQ is a great way to keep that balance in check and make sure that your body has got plenty of antioxidant reserves. When you take MitoQ, you’re topping up your natural reserves so that balance doesn't get tipped the wrong way.
Some people take it for energy. Because it’s optimizing your mitochondria, many people get an energy boost out of it.
A lot of people take it for exercise because it’s not only great for energy but also for recovery.
Other people take it just to feel and look young! People who understand what it does know that it’s good for the skin and that it’s helping to keep them looking and feeling young.
But really, there are a huge range of reasons why people take it. On a cellular level, it’s great for your overall wellbeing and can also be taken to support mental focus and clarity.
Can you support your nervous system by taking MitoQ?
Will: Yes, you can. Nerve cells contain lots and lots of mitochondria. They require a huge amount of energy. It's often said that your brain is only 2% of your body’s weight but it uses 20% of your body’s energy needs. Any cells that have lots of mitochondria/use a lot of energy also produce a lot of free radicals. So MitoQ is excellent at supporting your nervous system.
Why does MitoQ/CoQ10 need to be taken with statins?
Will: Statins are prescription medications that people take to lower cholesterol. In your body, CoQ10 is synthesized from the same type of precursor as cholesterol. What statins do is they inhibit that route of synthesis. So, by lowering your cholesterol, you actually end up lowering your body’s CoQ10 levels. When that happens, you can start running into problems like low energy and muscle pains. Your oxidative stress goes up because you’re reducing your antioxidant levels. So, for those reasons, it’s recommended that people take CoQ10 when they’re taking statins just to boost those levels. We always recommend taking MitoQ as well, just to reduce that oxidative stress.
Is MitoQ safe to take while on medication?
Will: There are no known interactions with medications. That being said, there are thousands of medications and it’s impossible to test MitoQ against all of them. So, while there are no known interactions: if you are taking a medicine, we always recommend talking to your health professional before taking MitoQ.
Is there any research on MitoQ and COVID-19?
Will: Yes - there have been a couple of independent research papers published in that area.
Ouyang L & Gong J. Med Hypotheses. 2020 Aug 5;144:110161. DOI: 10.1016/j.mehy.2020.110161
Wood E et al. Chronic Dis Transl Med. 2021 Mar;7(1):14-26. DOI: 10.1016/j.cdtm.2020.110.002
How quickly does MitoQ work?
Will: It starts working within half an hour of you taking it. It goes into your bloodstream and is rapidly absorbed by your cells. How quickly do you feel it? That’s another story. Some people feel it straight away on their first day of taking it. For others, it’s a more gradual effect. They start feeling it over time. Some people never really feel it, but they often notice a difference if they stop taking it – for them, it’s a subtle difference. It depends on your levels of oxidative stress, which correlate with your general health and lifestyle. It depends on what else is going on in your body, too.
The short answer is, it can range from one day to several months. That’s why we suggest people take it for three months so that they can give it the full chance to do its thing.
What is MitoQ made of?
Will: MitoQ is a modified version of COQ10. The active part of the MitoQ molecule is exactly the same as the active part of the CoQ10 molecule – but the rest of the molecule has been changed so that it’s smaller and has a positive charge that allows it to be absorbed and act in a much more potent way. Basically, it’s based around the CoQ10 molecule but with significant improvements to improve absorption and efficacy.
Most supplements are derived from natural products, but MitoQ doesn’t seem to be. So, is it a pharmaceutical?
Will: The short answer is no. MitoQ is not a pharmaceutical. Pharmaceuticals are substances that have gone through the drug approval process, whereas MitoQ is classed as a dietary supplement. MitoQ doesn’t occur naturally but the active part of the MitoQ molecule is identical to the active part of naturally occurring CoQ10. However, the molecule has been modified in other ways to improve absorption. So, while it’s based on nature, we like to think we’ve improved on the naturally occurring CoQ10.
When is the best time to take MitoQ? Why?
Will: We recommend taking it in the morning because studies have shown that, if you take it with food, it reduces the absorption into your body. When you wake up your stomach is at its most empty – so that’s a great time to take it.
MitoQ helps give you energy – so you may as well make the most of that first thing in the morning when you're up, awake and doing things. For some people, that energy effect can be quite pronounced and can actually keep them awake.
It’s fine to take any time – some people split the dose between morning and afternoon for an afternoon pick me up. As long as you’re not taking it with food, you’re good.
Is it ok to have coffee with MitoQ?
Will: Sure! I enjoy taking MitoQ with my coffee in the morning, it gives me an extra boost! No problems at all – it's only food that inhibits the absorption. MitoQ is a great addition to your morning coffee.
Should you stop taking MitoQ after a few months if you feel it’s not helping, or will it be working at a level you’re not aware of?
Will: Even if you can’t feel something directly, MitoQ is always working away to keep that antioxidant and free radical balance in check. While you might not feel it, it is working. Yes, you can stop, but the MitoQ is always doing something - even if you can’t feel it.
Why does MitoQ need to be taken consistently? How much of an impact will it make if someone takes a break from taking MitoQ?
Will: Anything you take, your body removes at a certain rate. MitoQ is great for daily dosing but if you go a number of days without it, levels will drop off again. Depending on the causes of oxidative stress in your body, you can end up back where you started. Free radicals are being constantly produced and there’s no way around that. So, if you do stop taking MitoQ, there’s a good chance that you’ll end up back where you were when you started it. That’s why we recommend taking it every day.
Do you have any tips for someone who doesn’t know which product to take?
Will: If you’re new to MitoQ, the best way to try it is to start with the MitoQ by itself. It’s the entry point product into our range and it’s the best way to see if it’s the MitoQ itself that is helping you. So, I always recommend starting with that.
That being said, if you do have a specific concern or health need, then there is the range for you to choose from. Everything in our range contains the MitoQ but some of them have extra ingredients to help with specific areas. So, it does depend on what your needs are but, almost always, my recommendation is to start with the MitoQ 5mg by itself.
After taking the 5mg after 90 days, would you recommend changing it up by using one of your other supplements?
Will: It depends on the benefits you’re getting from the 5mg. You might not need to change it up but there would be no harm in doing so because all of our other products have the same amount of MitoQ as our core 5mg formula. In taking one of our other supplements, you will be getting those extra benefits of the additional ingredients. While our other products are designed to assist with certain areas, they do have whole-body benefits as well. So, even if you take the liver product, for example, it’s still helping the whole body too. I certainly recommend trying one of our other supplements if you want to, but it really just depends on what you’re looking to get out of the product.
Can people take multiple MitoQ formulas at once?
Will: Yes, they can. The only thing to watch out for with this is that some of our products do have vitamins and minerals in them, so it’s a good idea to keep an eye on your intake levels of those. People often take multivitamins on top of MitoQ, so it’s just a case of keeping those vitamins and minerals within the recommended range. In terms of taking multiple formulas of MitoQ at once – that's fine. Studies have shown MitoQ to be safe well beyond the recommended dose.
Are there any side effects of taking MitoQ long-term?
Will: Feeling great?! (laughs). No, we don’t know of any long-term side effects of taking MitoQ. Only benefits.