Super Antioxidant CoQ10 – aka Coenzyme Q10

CoQ10 Enzyme SupplementsFound in every cell Coenzyme Q10 essential for energy production. Cellular Enzymes and coenzymes break down protein, fat, and sugar you eat to produce energy. Caution: If you are taking any cholesterol lowering drugs like Lipitor it’s essential that you monitor your Coenzyme Q10 production as these drugs interrupt the production of CoQ10. Elevated cholesterol is a symptom not a disease. You need to treat the cause not the symptom.

Coenzyme Q10 Benefits of CoQ10

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CoQ10 is essential to energy production in the body. Without sufficient CoQ10, none of the systems in the body can function optimally because they simply do not have enough fuel to do their job. The systems most sensitive to deficiencies are those with high energy needs such as the cardiovascular and immune systems. In addition to energy production, CoQ10 also offers important antioxidant protection in the cells. It is believed that the combination of antioxidant protection and energy production creates the clinically documented benefits people experience when they supplement with CoQ10. As with all nutrients, the most bioavailable form is that found in whole food. A recent study concluded that whole food CoQ10 offered 9.6 times more antioxidant activity than the isolated chemical USP form found in almost all supplements.

CoQ10 is a vitamin-like substance required by the body to transform food into cellular energy. Amazingly, it is so essential to life processes that, without it, life would cease to exist in a matter of minutes! How can this be? To answer this question, let’s back up a few steps and take a microscopic look at the cells in our body. Each of our cells are self-contained little units with their own tasks, agendas and needs. Just as the whole body requires energy to work, so does each individual cell. Our cells produce energy to fuel their work and that, in turn, fuels the entire body. The mitochondria within each cell are the energy generators. If our cells (or bodies) were automobiles, the mitochondria would be the engines, and food would be the gasoline.

This is when CoQ10, also known as ubiquinone, enters the picture. During digestion, much of what we eat is converted to glucose to be used as fuel. However, the mitochondria must further reduce the glucose before it is usable by the cells. To accomplish this, the cell and its mitochondria use several complicated processes and substances that convert glucose to ATP, or cellular energy. CoQ10 is required for these processes.

Although CoQ10 may be synthesized in the body and found in food, deficiencies do exist. Refining and processing robs our food supply of this essential nutrient. Moreover, to synthesize CoQ10, the body must have a healthy liver and an adequate supply of other nutrients that are also often lacking in the diet. Consequently, after about age 35, CoQ10 levels in the body begin to diminish. Studies have shown that if levels decline by 25%, our bodies won’t have enough cellular energy to stay healthy. A decline of 75% is fatal.

To understand the enormous impact CoQ10 levels have on our health, we must keep in mind that diminished cellular energy is different from our colloquial use of the word “energy”. In common language, we often say “I don’t have the energy to______.” Rarely are we referring to life sustaining activities. The statement usually refers to leisure activities, housework, an evening out, or physical exercise. While any of these things may improve our health, our immediate survival does not depend upon them. Such is not the case with cellular energy. Our lives do, literally, depend upon our cells having enough energy to do their work. Consider for a moment heart cells. Heart cells have one job-to sustain rhythmic contraction and release in the heart muscle so that oxygen and nutrient rich blood is delivered to the cells and oxygen-depleted, carbon dioxide rich blood is carried away. If these cells don’t have enough energy to do their work, you have an immediate, major, life threatening problem. Your heart cells don’t have the luxury of reclining on the sofa until their “energy” returns!

When scientists and researchers first began to study CoQ10, they found the highest concentrations in the heart, the immune system and the liver. This makes sense as these are also the cells that require the most energy. Focusing on these CoQ10 hungry cells, research and clinical trials began to reveal some very impressive findings and results. They first found that people with poor health have insufficient levels of CoQ10 in their systems while healthy people have normal levels of this vital nutrient. This finding lead scientists to explore the effects of supplementing with oral CoQ10. Truthfully, their findings have been remarkable. A multitude of clinical trials demonstrated that CoQ10 is very useful in the treatment and prevention of congestive heart failure, angina, arrhythmia, myocardial degeneration and high blood pressure. In one study 80% of patients with severe congestive cardiomyopathy showed significant improvement after they began supplementing daily with CoQ10. In another, over 50% of high blood pressure patients were able to eliminate their hypertension medications after 5 months of daily CoQ10 use.

The American Heart Associations rank the severity of a patient’s heart disease with a class system. This system ranges from mild Class I heart disease to severe Class IV heart disease. Often clinical trials use this ranking system when evaluating their participants’ progress. In England, an eight year clinical trial of patients with various cardiovascular diseases found 58% of the participants improved by one Heart Association Class; 28% improved by two classes! This same study also found significant improvement in the thickness of the left ventricular wall of the heart and mitral valve flow. CoQ10 is such a powerful ally in heart health that Japanese physicians recommend it regularly to over 12 million of their patients. Imagine the positive effects of supplementing with CoQ10 before serious problems develop! The Medical Hypotheses journal published in England suggested that preventative supplements would be more useful as “insurance” if CoQ10 was regularly included.

Studies on CoQ10 and the immune system have resulted in similar findings. Like the cardiovascular system, the immune system is highly energy-dependent. After all, it has a huge job. Conditions such as allergies, Candida overgrowth, cancer, AIDS, chronic fatigue, and periodontal disease are all a result of immune system dysfunction. Immune system function does decline with age, stress and poor nutrition. Fortunately, studies reveal that CoQ10’s effect on the immune system is as beneficial as its effect on the cardiovascular system. Numerous clinical trials have documented an overall improvement in immune system function among the participants using CoQ10 daily.

CoQ10 improves function of the cardiovascular and immune systems simply by providing the cells with the raw material they need to function optimally. It allows the cells, and therefore the systems, to express their full potential. Without sufficient CoQ10, these systems (along with many others) are handicapped. There is simply no way they can perform their jobs at the level needed to sustain good health-they don’t have the energy!

CoQ10 protects our health in yet another profoundly significant way. As CoQ10 levels decline, the incidence of symptoms we associate with aging tend to increase. This is related not just to insufficient cellular energy, but also to CoQ10’s antioxidant activity. Too little oxygen in a cell results in a lack of energy; too much results in free radical damage. CoQ10 balances the oxygen through adding or subtracting oxygen from biologically active molecules. This is why it is important to actually have more CoQ10 in the cell than is required for ATP production. The excess CoQ10 is able to offer superior antioxidant protection while at the same time enabling the cell to produce its full capacity of energy.

Supplementing the diet with any nutrient is always a tricky business. There is no question among researchers, scientists and healthcare providers that the safest, most effective forms of nutrients are those in whole food forms. The reason for this is actually quite simple. In food, no one compound occurs in isolation. A multitude of compounds travel together, supporting and enhancing each other’s efficacy and efficiency. This cooperation naturally produces checks and balances that promote safety and potency. Conversely, in most supplements, what you find is one, chemically manufactured, isolated USP compound. Sometimes companies add a few other ingredients to support the active ingredient, but that does not even begin to replicate the complexity and synergy found in whole food. This lack of complexity and synergy makes it necessary to take much higher doses of isolated nutrients than one actually needs. This is due to the fact that we are not certain how much of an isolated nutrient the body is able to absorb and utilize; neither are we certain how much a nutrient’s efficacy may be diminished by the absence of its traveling companions.

Thankfully, it is now possible to purchase supplements that are 100% whole food. In these supplements, there are no compounds in isolation. All the nutrients are traveling with the support of their naturally occurring companions and allies. The synergistic benefits inherent in this “companionship” are multiple. Dr. Joe Vinson, Professor of Chemistry at University of Scranton, found that whole food CoQ10 offered 9.6 times more antioxidant activity than an identical potency of isolated USP CoQ10. That is a significant difference! Not only is whole food CoQ10 more bioavailable and active in the body, it also provides the health-enhancing compounds found in the naturally occurring co-factors or “companions”.

The body’s need for CoQ10 never diminishes. As long as we are breathing, we need CoQ10. After a deficiency has occurred, studies indicate that it takes some time for tissue levels to rebuild. For this reason, it is advisable to supplement with CoQ10 for at least 5-6 months before evaluating its beneficial effects.

Eliza Secrist is a Certified Nutritionist and Wellness Consultant. The former Director of a Women’s Resource Center and the Clinic Manager of a Women’s Health Center, she has been teaching and counseling for 10 years.

Side Effects of CoQ10

Side effects have been reported as “not serious”. We believe all side effects including those side effects of CoQ10 have the potential to be serious. Side effects in our research are typically noted as “insomnia, dizziness, gastrointestinal”. The prevalence of side effects is low, however no one should supplement without the help of a qualified medical professional. We believe the best choice for supplementation is a state licensed Naturopathic Physician whose practice emphasizes Nutritional Therapy. There is no point in supplementing any substance until you have been adequately tested for deficiency.

Posted by on Jul 11th, 2008 and filed under Antioxidants, Nutrition. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response by filling following comment form or trackback to this entry from your site

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