Featured Article

Featured article | April 2024

Mitochondrial Dysfunction and Neurodegenerative Disorders: Role of Nutritional Supplementation

Mantle, D., Hargreaves, I.P.
International Journal of Molecular Sciences

Mitochondrial dysfunction has been implicated in the pathogenesis of several neurodegenerative disorders, including Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), multisystem atrophy (MSA), and progressive supranuclear palsy. 

The article provides a concise overview of the role of specific nutrients in addressing mitochondrial dysfunction in these disorders, as well as the potential benefits of nutritional supplementation.

Discussed in the article:

  • Patients with Parkinson’s disease have been found to have a deficiency in CoQ10 status in the cerebral cortex. Reduced levels of CoQ10 have also been reported in the plasma and platelets of Parkinson’s disease patients, and depleted levels of CoQ10 in blood are associated with an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Selenium deficiency in brain tissue has been linked to the pathogenesis of Parkinson’s disease, while depleted selenium levels in blood or brain tissue are associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Furthermore, blood levels of selenium are inversely associated with the occurrence of ALS. Both reduced and excessive tissue levels of selenium have been implicated in the development of these neurodegenerative disorders.
  • Reduced levels of vitamin B1 (thiamine) have been reported in the blood and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of Parkinson’s disease patients, and deficiency of vitamin B1 has been implicated in the pathogenesis of Parkinson’s disease. Vitamin B1 deficiency has also been reported in blood and autopsied brain samples from Alzheimer’s disease patients, as well as in the blood and CSF of ALS patients. 
  • Decreased blood levels of vitamin B2 (riboflavin) are associated with an increased risk of developing ALS, and reduced blood levels of B2 have been reported in Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease patients. 
  • Reduced levels of vitamin B3 (niacin) are observed in Parkinson’s disease, and niacin intake is inversely related to the risk of cognitive decline and development of Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Decreased blood levels of L-carnitine have been found in Parkinson’s disease patients, and reduced levels of acyl-L-carnitine in plasma have been reported in Parkinson’s disease patients as well. Levels of L-carnitine have been reported to be low in the CSF from early Alzheimer’s disease cases.
  • Low circulatory vitamin D3 levels are associated with an increased risk of Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and ALS.

“In this review, we have therefore provided a rationale for a combination of CoQ10, B-vitamins/NADH, L-carnitine, vitamin D, and alpha-lipoic acid to support the future treatment of these neurodegenerative disorders. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first review to systematically correlate evidence for the depletion and potential symptomatic benefit of these key mitochondrial metabolites in this range of neurodegenerative disorders.”

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