Background: Inflammation is central to the pathogenesis of many diseases. Supplementation with selenium and coenzyme Q10 has been shown to reduce cardiovascular mortality, and increase cardiac function in elderly persons with a low intake of selenium. There are indications that one of the mechanisms of this positive effect is a decrease in inflammation.
Methods: Osteopontin, osteoprotegerin, sTNF receptor 1, sTNF receptor 2 and the tumor necrosis factor-like weak inducer of apoptosis called TWEAK, were determined in plasma after 6 months and 42 months in 219 community-living elderly persons, of whom 119 received supplements of selenium (200 μg/day) and coenzyme Q10 (200 mg/day), and 101 received a placebo. Repeated measures of variance were used to evaluate the levels, and the results were validated through ANCOVA analyses with adjustments for important covariates.
Results: Significantly lower concentrations of four of the five biomarkers for inflammation were observed as a result of the intervention with the supplements. Only TWEAK did not show significant differences.
Conclusion: In this sub-analysis of the intervention with selenium and coenzyme Q10 or placebo in an elderly community-living population, biomarkers for inflammation were evaluated. A significantly lower concentration in four of the five biomarkers tested could be demonstrated as a result of the supplementation, indicating a robust effect on the inflammatory system. The decrease in inflammation could be one of the mechanisms behind the positive clinical results on reduced cardiovascular morbidity and mortality reported earlier as a result of the intervention. The study is small and should be regarded as hypothesis-generating, but nonetheless adds important data about mechanisms presently known to increase the risk of clinical effects such as reduced cardiovascular mortality, increased cardiac function and better health-related quality of life scoring, as previously demonstrated in the active treatment group .
Trial registration: The intervention study was registered at Clinicaltrials.gov, and has the identifier NCT01443780 and registered on 09/30/2011.
Keywords: Coenzyme Q10; Elderly; Inflammation; Intervention; Selenium.