None of us are getting any younger. And the truth is, as we age, we end up spending more time on body maintenance than our younger selves did. Along the way, most of us learn to identify and fine-tune what keeps us in our optimal health zone.
The benefit of all those years as they add up? We acquire a certain level of body wisdom.
Still, it’s a good thing that science is almost as keen on aging-related topics as we are. Case in point? The Journal of Gerontology’s recent study on age-related bone loss.
Looking at the specialized tissue that supports our teeth – the alveolar bone – the authors evaluated the effect of a life-long low coenzyme Q10 dosage along with one of two types of unsaturated fat based diets: polyunsaturated (omega-6), or monounsaturated (omega-6/omega-3 ratio).
Need a quick primer on omega-6 vs. omega-3 fatty acids? Here you go.
Fats are a hot topic these days. Much of what folks have believed over the last 40 years is being turned on its head. In 2013, the British Medical Journal stunned with a study that showed that “replacing saturated animal fats with omega-6 polyunsaturated vegetable fats is linked to an increased risk of death among patients with heart disease.”
And the American Heart Association was left scratching its head.
It’s not that omega-6 fatty acids are “bad” in and of themselves.. But they must be in a balanced ratio with omega-3 fatty acids for optimal health.
Similarly, saturated fats are turning out to be not at all the demon that the mainstream medical industry has made them out to be. In fact, a diet too high in polyunsaturated fatty acids and too low in saturated fats may actually cause oxidative damage to weak cell membranes.
In addition to heart disease, a high level of omega-6 fatty acids has also been correlated with bone loss and periodontal disease. Turns out, when it comes to your body’s ability to remodel its bone, too much omega-6 diminishes your ability to produce prostaglandin. Prostaglandin is critical to bone development.
And this is where our CoQ10 study comes in.
Results [showed] that exacerbated age-related alveolar bone loss previously associated to n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acid diet was attenuated by coenzyme Q10.
In other words, CoQ10 may mitigate the bone damage seen with high omega-6 diet. Gene expression analysis suggested that CoQ10 might increase that little powerhouse in your cells known as your mitochondria, restoring their ability to adapt to aging in gingival cells. This is likely due to an increase cell turnover and better oxidative and respiratory balance.
Considering that the typical American diet contains up to 25 times more omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3s, increasing CoQ10 intake could help a lot of people. But considering how badly it tends to drag down health overall, adjusting diet so you get a more balanced intake of omega-6 and omega-3 seems the more sensible route for long-term health and well-being.
However you approach your body’s maintenance, remember that reaching your goals requires daily habits that support the outcome you desire. When it comes to oral health, the daily habit of good nutrition combined with effective brushing and flossing techniques go a long way to keeping you at the level you consider to be optimal for you.