With just a glance at its label, it is clear that Midogen, a supplement which aims to improve energy and longevity through actions at the mitochondrial level of cells, demands a closer look not just from the potential buyer or from the average reviewer, but from anyone who is interested in the applications of geriatrics.
There is a host of dietary supplements out there which claim to improve energy levels (and general well-being) through a more harmonious digestion or by supplying the body with a miraculous cocktail of vitamins and minerals, however, there are few products that target the cellular level and target the improvement of the very building blocks of life.
In this review, we will assess the plausibility of Midogen’s purported benefits by taking a closer look at its ingredients and the existing research on the intricacies of mitochondrial activity, while also bearing in mind the reputation of Live Cell Research (the California-based manufacturer of Midogen) and the current body of reviews and testimonials.
Live Cell Research
Index of Contents
Live Cell Research is a manufacturer of dietary supplements which takes the organic metaphor awfully serious. Their primary belief is that for an organism to achieve a state of overall health, the cellular level should be targeted first. As every serious company should, Live Cell Research has declared five essential principles which guide the manufacturing of their products and interaction with clients. These policies range from exceptional quality of ingredients used for their supplements, to having a battery of tests performed by third parties, to a genuine care and concern for their customers.
Naturally, the company does not bother with offering further details on what these third-party tests might entail (such as the names and qualifications). Furthermore, their interest for the customer is nothing more than a 90-day money back guarantee and customer center available 12 hours a day, Monday through Friday, and 10 hours a day on the weekends.
The heartstrings of the consumer are further stimulated by Live Cell Research’s insistence upon American quality delivered through American ingredients, emphasizing that all their products are made in the USA and are proud to be in accordance with good manufacturing practices standards.
Before we move on to presenting the official data about Midogen, we should mention that Live Cell Research produces 8 other nutritional supplements and that Midogen is not their flagship product. As is evident from the arrangement of their website, Niagen is their principal product, a supplement whose workings are related to those of Midogen, claiming to boost biological communications in the cell between the nucleus and the mitochondria through the delivery of a compound called NAD+, which stops or even reverses the aging process, at least at the cellular level.
Vital Stem is another product which encourages the production of adult stem cells in the bone marrow, a process which aims to counteract specific age-related ailments in the bones and muscles. Cerastim is a nootropic supplement that boasts of containing only the most potent strains of bacteria, in order to improve mood, focus, and memory. Pro Krill 1000 supplies a healthy dosage of omega-3 fatty acids in a recipe which also has its fair share of antioxidants and is far more innocuous than your ideal fish oil supplement, with its target being the improvement of heart and brain activity. Advanced Adult Probiotic is a supplement that promises optimum digestive health through the intake of 15 different strains of probiotics having a CFU-count of 30 billion. Advanced Joint Repair is an entirely natural concoction (containing black pepper extract, Boswellia extract, white willow, turmeric extract and eggshell membrane) promising significant relief of age-induced joint pain through curative actions upon the damaged tissue. Nervestim is a supplement which builds on the renown of Lion’s Mane (a species of Chinese mushroom with remarkable properties) and purports to help individuals with symptoms of neuropathy through the regeneration of the damaged nerves. LA-3 is just as full of promise because it stimulates the appearance of an enzyme called AMPK, responsible for converting the stored body fat into energy, a process which naturally could lead to countless benefits.
This summary of the products manufactured and marketed by Live Cell Research shows that the company mainly addresses the elderly, or at least patients with age-related issues, promising to alleviate said ailments through the implementation of cutting-edge research of cell biology into their dietary supplements. Let us become acquainted with the science behind Midogen.
What first strikes the potential consumer when exploring the section dedicated to Midogen on the Live Cell Research website is that the label of the product is posted, a single aspect which should not carry much significance, however, it is more than many other manufacturers bother with their products online.
As anticipated, the gist of the Midogen pitch is the scientifical novelty approach coupled with an instance of the organic metaphor. Cells are supposed to be organisms in miniature, with a decrease in energy at the cellular level impacting the whole body. Though that approach is a bit far-fetched, it is not without its degree of plausibility. The ingredients in Midogen come to the rescue by stimulating the mitochondria in cells, the parts of the cells which assimilate nutrients and thus produce energy to keep the cell functioning. The production of more energy does not merely assure an optimum operation of the cell but also aids the healing process and prolongs its life.
In addition to reinvigorating and proliferating mitochondria, Midogen is rich in antioxidants, providing further benefits to the consumer’s tissues, a claim made by a majority of dietary supplements. Other arguments in favor of trying out this supplement laid out on the Live Cell Research website include:
- third-party testing, though it does not care to elaborate on the matter;
- quality packaging which reduces the chances of spoilage;
- minute chances of causing side effects, though Cell Live Research does advise the customer to consult a doctor before taking Midogen;
- compatibility with all kinds of diets and supplements, due to it being gluten- and lactose-free, while also functioning in an entirely different manner than all other supplements;
- links to studies supposedly confirming the potential benefits that the ingredients in Midogen deliver.
Mitochondrial Intricacies and Midogen Components
Mitochondria are unusual structures that most cells possess. They are organelles, which means they are structures that have explicit functions within the cell, yet they are also relatively autonomous. In the case of mitochondria, they have their own genetic sequences and their division (proliferation) process is independent of the global division process of the cell they inhabit. The cause for this anomaly is probably a by-pass in the evolutionary process, where the separate single cell organisms which exhibited a penchant for energy production have been incorporated into larger organisms in a mutually beneficial symbiosis.
Energy produced by mitochondria is the result of a chemical process involving the oxidation of pyruvic acid, glucose and a co enzyme called NAD (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide) in a complex sequence of events involving the inner core of the mitochondria, eventually resulting in ATP (adenosine triphosphate). ATP is then transported through the whole cell because it is the form of energy that can be processed by all cells in the body.
While the production of ATP is the primary function of mitochondria, they also play a few secondary parts in cellular life, which we will mention in passing. As different tissue have different structures and functions, so do the mitochondria in those tissues. For example, mitochondria found in the cells of brown adipose tissues can produce heat through the synthesis of a protein called thermogenin. Mitochondria also store calcium, this particular mineral playing an important role in most nervous signals received and transmitted by the cell. Though not currently sufficiently researched, it is accepted that mitochondria have a crucial function in regulating the whole metabolism of cells, with their capacity for synthesis not being limited to the production of ATP. 
The importance of proper mitochondrial function is evident and has been emphasized by scientists since the 1950’s. A large number of studies have been undertaken and results show that alterations in the workings of mitochondria are responsible, at least in part, for a large number of disorders, such as neurological conditions (especially autism, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder), several types of myopathy, endocrinological diseases including diabetes. Links between disorders and mitochondrial dysfunction are particularly difficult to point out with high degrees of reliability because of mitochondria’s own genetic material.
The possible benefits of Midogen are predicated on three separate studies involving the actions of its ingredients. Firstly, one capsule of Midogen contains 10 mg of NADH – nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, plus hydrogen. As we have mentioned in the previous section, nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide is an essential part in the synthesis of ATP at the mitochondrial level. A supplement of NADH may be useful for a significant number of various conditions – chronic fatigue syndrome (by boosting energy production at the cellular level), high blood pressure, depression, lowering the levels of cholesterol (through a better assimilation of sterols) or Parkinson’s disease. A number of studies concerned with the effects of NADH in patients suffering from age-related mental decline have proved ineffective. The chief problem with NADH supplementation is dosage – the standard 10 mg per day has shown itself to be safe across a variety of ages and conditions, yet ineffective in the treatment of most conditions, only proving mildly beneficial in increasing athletic performance in the short term. Between these aspects and pronounced anti-aging effects, there is still a long road ahead.
The cited on the Live Cell Research website in relation to the benefits of NADH does not offer medical certainties on the substance. It reviews the crucial role played in the energetic make-up of cells, something we have also done here however schematically, with the primary purpose of the article being the discussion of a test done on patients with ischemic brain damage who seem to have benefited greatly from the nasal administration of NADH supplementation. 
The second essential ingredient in Midogen is Japanese knotweed (or fallopia japonica), a herb that is indigenous to East Asia, which contains trans-Resveratrol. Each capsule of Midogen has 300 mg of Japanese knotweed, providing 150 mg of trans-Resveratrol. The information on the website notes that the compound has a strong anti-oxidative effect, preventing damage at the cellular level that is inherent to the energy-releasing oxidating process. Other sources from which Resveratrol is usually harvested for supplements are red grapes and berries, a fruit whose antioxidant properties are common knowledge. The current stance on the benefits of resveratrol stresses its potential in reducing the rate at which certain malignant tumors spread and positive effects on the level of cholesterol. Other dietary supplements containing resveratrol propose a dosage between 250 mg and 500 mg.
The study cited by Live Cell Research in order to back up their claims concerning the antioxidant properties of resveratrol proves that the flavonoid does neutralize the oxidative damage resulting from oxidation mediated by peroxynitrite and/or ferryl myoglobin. Nevertheless, the underlying purpose of the study was to confirm the hypothesis of cardiovascular benefits brought on by a moderate consumption of red wine.
The last active ingredient in Midogen is pyrroloquinoline quinone, PQQ for short. The actions of this compound are supposed to inhibit the aging process through the creation of new mitochondria in cells while also increasing the performance of existing mitochondria. This all sounds a bit over the top and, at further inspection, PQQ supplementation does have some promising results in vitro and in some animal testing, however, definitive results in humans have shown only antioxidative effects. A study performed at University of California, Davis, on the actions of PQQ is cited on the Live Cell Research Website in order to support their claims distinctly states that promising results exist in rats concerning mitochondrial biogenesis, yet extrapolating these results would constitute a mistake from a scientific point of view.
The Bottom Line
As is the case with every dietary supplement, always make sure to check with your doctor before embarking on a long-term consumption and, because they are not medicine and therefore not expected to treat any particular disease, do not expect wonders!
With these common sense warnings in place, it should be noted that Midogen does not appear to be a scam. Of course, there will always be a little exaggerating in the product description and rather aggressive calls to action. But that is expected of any sales campaign.
The main arguments in favor of Midogen are the absence of recurring inadvertencies or outright contradictions in the description of the ingredients and their actions. Furthermore, the citing of serious scientifical studies (although the relation between the studies and Midogen is a bit far-fetched) is a major plus. So is the fact that Live Cell Research publishes the product label directly on the website.
On the other hand, there are a few websites which claim to be independent, third-party reviewers, yet they eulogize the product more than the manufacturer. Again, this is not wholly unexpected or even a downside necessarily. There are more nagging aspects such as statements regarding the “purest ingredients” or the ever-present “third-party tested” that are not elaborated upon.
Keeping all these in mind, Midogen probably will not prove to be a fountain of youth via mitochondrial regeneration, yet it seems to be a supplement designed with the needs of the consumer in mind and there are certainly much less exciting products on which to spend $50 for a month’s supply.
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