The Health Benefits of Coenzyme Q10
Coenzyme Q10, also known as CoQ10 or just Q10 has become another popular supplement. Is it needed and worth the money or just another waste of money in the supplement market.
What Coenzyme Q10 Is
Coenzyme Q10 was discovered in 1957 and since that time nearly 5,000 studies about it have been published. Coenzyme Q10 is a fat-soluble compound that is synthesized by the body and also consumed in the diet. Coenzyme Q10 is found in every cell and is required by the body for mitochondrial synthesis, mitochondrial synthesis is the energy-producing structures within cells; one of the critical functions is the converting of nutrients into energy. This conversion of nutrients into energy is very important in the heart and heart cells. Coenzyme Q10 is also a well-known antioxidant, which means it is used by our bodies to protect cells from oxidation damage. Coenzyme Q10 is a member of the ubiquinone family of compounds and since we can synthesize coenyzme Q10 in our bodies, it is not considered a vitamin. For coenzyme Q10 to be synthesized in the body, an adequate intake of vitamin B6 is required. CoQ10 works in conjunction with vitamin E as it plays a critical role in maintaining our supply of Vitamin E and its antioxidant abilities. CoQ10 also has the unique ability to increase oxygen utilization in our body.
One recent study in Denmark found that the average daily dietary intake of coenzyme Q10 was between 3-5 mg (milligrams), and most people do not get more than 10 mg per day in their diet. Higher sources of dietary coenzyme Q10 are found mainly in meat, organ meats, poultry, oily fish, trout, spinach, soybean oils and nuts.
Vitamin B6 is very important for coenzyme Q10 to be able to synthesize in the body. Foods with a good amount of B6 are baked potato with skin, bananas, garbanzo beans, chicken breast, pork loin, roast beef, fish, tomato, avocado and sunflower seeds.
How Coenzyme Q10 Supplements Are Beneficial
As we get older, our body’s production of coenzyme Q10 decreases and by as much as 72% in the heart. Because of the antioxidant properties of CoQ10 doctors are now using it in numerous heart related ailments such as arrhythmia, angina, heart attack, high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, mitral valve prolapse, atherosclerosis and congestive heart failure.
In a 1961 study, scientist found that people who had cancer also had very low levels of CoQ10 in their blood. Other research has found that CoQ10 helps strengthen the immune system and could be useful as a secondary treatment for cancer. According to WebMD, three studies examined the use of CoQ10 along with conventional cancer treatment. The three studies were done with 41 women who had breast cancer and in each study, the women improved.
CoQ10 can also help with periodontal health and prevent getting gingivitis and heals any damage from gingivitis.
Dr. Emile G. Bliznakov, MD and past President and Scientific Director of the Lupus Research Institute conducted many studies with coenzyme Q10. His studies showed that CoQ10 doubled the strength of the immune system by cleaning out bacteria from the bloodstream. CoQ10 also boosted the immune system by increasing the white blood cells, which increased the immune systems ability to fight off disease and including virulent flu. In animal studies it defended against malignant tumors, leukemia and retarded the rate at which the thymus gland deteriorated with age, the thymus gland is key to our immune systems. Up to 95% less cell damage has been reported with coenzyme Q10 supplementation.
According to a report issued by the Annals of Neurology (August 1997) coenzyme Q10 might be effective in the prevention and treating of Parkinson’s disease.
There are also claims that coenzyme Q10 boosts energy. In my own experience, the first time I took CoQ10 I noticed a boost in energy when I worked out. This boost of energy was not like caffeine or an energy drink. It was as if my lungs opened up and my heart worked better and I was able to exercise with ease. I believe that the claim of increased energy and what I saw first hand was CoQ10’s ability to increase oxygen utilization.
Normal dosages usually range from 30 mg to 150 mg per day. Since CoQ10 is fat soluble like vitamin E, you should take these with some food that has fat in it. If your meal has no fat in it, a small amount of peanut butter will work.
The Bottom Line
Numerous studies confirm that coenzyme Q10 is healthy for the heart, heart rhythm and the health of our cells, fights cancer and boosts the immune system. I would say coenzyme Q10 is a supplement worth the money.
CoQ10 can reduce the body’s response to the blood thinner (anticoagulant) warfarin (Coumadin), if you are taking a blood thinner talk to your doctor before taking coenzyme Q10.
The cholesterol lowering drugs known as statin drugs can lower the levels of CoQ10 in the blood, for this reason many doctors will supplement patients with coenzyme Q10. This is ironic since statin drugs are given to reduce the risk of heart disease and the lowering of Q10 has been shown to increase the risk of heart disease.
Beta-blockers that are used to lower high blood pressure also lower the amount of CoQ10 in the body and have numerous side effects. Coenzyme Q10 has been shown to dramatically reduce these side effects.
CoQ10 can also decrease the insulin requirements in people with diabetes.
© 2009 Sam Montana
Sources and Helpful Articles
Linus Pauling Institute – Micronutrient Information Center