Co Enzyme Q 10

Co Enzyme Q 10 - also known as ubiquinone, or CoQ10 - is a vitamin-like compound similar in structure to vitamin E, says Dr Sarah Brewer. It is now known to be essential for life. CoQ10 is present in all body cells, with the heart, liver cells and sperm cells containing the greatest amount.

Why you need Co Enzyme Q 10

CoQ10 is needed by cells to process oxygen and generate energy-rich molecules. Without CoQ10, the energy hidden in food molecules could not be converted into a form of energy that can be used by cells. It has been compared to a fuel injector in an engine that helps to concentrate fuel inside a cell, so it can ignite and release energy. As CoQ10 improves oxygen utilization and energy production in muscle cells, including those of the heart, it is used to improve physical energy levels, endurance and strengthen muscles.

CoQ10 is also an antioxidant, which works together with vitamin E to prevent oxidation damage of body fats - including those in the circulation. Like other antioxidants, CoQ10 seems to protect against hardening and furring up of the arteries (atherosclerosis) by preventing oxidation of harmful LDL-cholesterol.

Levels of CoQ10 start to decrease after you're 20, as dietary CoQ10 is absorbed less efficiently from the intestines, and its production in your body cells starts to fall. Low levels of CoQ10 mean that cells do not receive all the energy they need, so they function at a sub-optimal level and are more likely to become disease, age and even die. Research suggests falling CoQ10 levels play a significant role in age-related medical conditions such as coronary heart disease, and possibly cancer.

Research

Studies have found that CoQ10 supplements can normalize high blood pressure, improve heart function, reduce heart disease, fight cancer and even prolong your life-span.

Biopsies of heart muscle from patients with various forms of heart disease have shown that 50 per cent to 75 per cent of them are deficient in CoQ10. At least one study has found that the more severe the heart disease, the lower the levels of CoQ10. CoQ10 has therefore been used by some doctors to help treat patients with coronary heart disease and in heart failure.

In Japan , for example, CoQ10 is an approved treatment for congestive heart failure, yet few physicians in the West are aware that it even exists.

Uses

CoQ10 seems to reduce the size and stickiness of platelets - blood fragments involved in clotting - and may help to reduce the risk of abnormal blood clots.

Treatment with CoQ10 has been shown to reduce blood pressure by up to 10mm Hg - possibly by improving the ability of blood vessel walls to respond to changes in blood flow. In one trial, half of patients taking high dose CoQ10 were able to stop at least one (and in some cases up to three) of their antihypertensive drugs.

CoQ10 is vital for production of the energy that sperm need for mobility. Men with reduced sperm motility showed significant improvements in sperm function when they took CoQ10 supplements,
and in fertility treatments their sperm were over twice as likely to fertilize an egg.

CoQ10 supplements - both given alone and with vitamin B6 - increase the number of antibodies made after vaccination, as well as the number of certain immune cells that boost immunity.

CoQ10 is now also being added to skin-care preparations to reduce skin damage that leads to premature wrinkles, especially following UVA irradiation.

CoQ10 may be useful in weight loss by stimulating lipid metabolism in mitochondria. Two groups of obese individuals were placed on a controlled reducing diet. The only difference between the two groups was that one group also took CoQ10. Within nine weeks, the group on CoQ10 lost an average of 30 pounds, compared with an average of 13 in the other.

CoQ10 can help to protect against gum disease. Diseased gum tissue has been shown to have significantly reduced levels of CoQ10, compared with healthy gum tissue from the same patients. And when CoQ10 supplements have been combined with periodontal treatments, periodontal disease improved enough to save teeth scheduled for removal.

When CoQ10 was studied in 25 Finnish top-level cross-country skiers, those taking supplements showed significant improvement in all measured indexes of physical performance. Ninety five per cent of the athletes felt CoQ10 had improved their performance and recovery time compared with only 33 per cent of those taking an inactive placebo.

Sources

CoQ10 is made in the liver, and its synthesis is dependent on good supplies of vitamin B6. It is also found in almost every food, including:

  • meat
  • fish
  • wholegrain
  • nuts
  • green vegetables

How much you need

The optimal dietary intake of COQ10 is unknown. Average adult dietary intakes of CoQ10 are estimated at 3mg to 5mg daily among meat eaters, and 1mg daily among vegetarians.

Commercially available dietary supplements recommend 10mg to 90mg CoQ10 daily. Intakes of up to 180mg daily are recommended for general use by some researchers. Higher doses of 300mg to 600mg daily are used to treat illnesses such as heart disease and high blood pressure.

It usually takes three weeks, and occasionally up to three months, before the beneficial effect and extra energy levels are noticed. To utilize CoQ10 to the full, you also need to ensure a good intake of vitamins B and C.

No serious side effects have been reported, even at high dose -- only occasional and transient, mild nausea.


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