Coenzyme Q10 is a naturally occurring substance which has a number of important functions within the human body involving energy production and antioxidant activity.
Coenzyme Q10 is associated with the manufacture by the body of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) the basic energy molecule of cells. The mitochondria, which are the most active part of a cell, use the enzyme as a fuel. Coenzyme Q10 is important for energy production as it is thought to be a free radical scavenger with properties that help to maintain the health of cells in the body. Coenzyme Q10 is a co-factor in the biochemical pathway that is involved in cellular respiration, from which ATP and metabolic energy are derived. Coenzyme Q10 helps to prevent damage to cell membranes.
The heart muscle contains the greatest concentration of Coenzyme Q10 in the body. It may have a role in the management and prevention of certain types of heart disease. Clinical studies indicate that Coenzyme Q10 may be effective in helping patients with stroke, congestive heart failure, hypertension, angina and in the prevention of atherosclerosis. Coenzyme Q10 is thought to have a protective action on the cells of the heart. Studies have revealed that this nutrient helps keep the blood thin allowing it to flow easily to all areas of the heart. Coenzyme Q10 may help prevent cholesterol from becoming harmful (oxidising) in the body and forming plaques in the arteries (atherosclerosis). Coenzyme Q10 should not be used to treat heart disease without medical supervision.
The results of some studies suggest that certain drugs used to treat high cholesterol (statins) decrease the levels of Coenzyme Q10 in the body. Some of these studies have also found that supplementation with Coenzyme Q10 can increase or restore these levels.
Decreased levels of coenzyme Q10 in the body have been observed in many diseases (e.g. heart disorders, neurodegenerative diseases, AIDS, cancer) associated with intensive generation of free radical molecules and their harmful action on cells and tissues.
Coenzyme Q10 is reported to help increase stamina and endurance for athletes. The benefits attributed to Coenzyme Q10 are said to be a result of the nutrient's ability to increase energy production and the transport of oxygen via blood to muscle cells.
A person with recurring infections, HIV or who is generally 'run-down' may benefit from Coenzyme Q10. It is thought to have a positive effect on the immune system by protecting cells from damage and improving the blood's ability to carry oxygen to vital organs and tissues in the body. Coenzyme Q10 may also have beneficial effects on the nervous system, menopausal symptoms and weight control. More research is needed to confirm these possible uses.
- Coenzyme Q10 may decrease the effectiveness of warfarin.
Foods containing Coenzyme Q10 include rice bran, soy beans, nuts (hazel, pistachio), fish (mackerel, sardines), sesame seeds, vegetables (cabbage, spinach, potato, onion, carrot). Note: Coenzyme Q10 is easily destroyed by light.
DOSAGEIt is important to remember that when Coenzyme Q10 is taken as a supplement, it should be taken with food rather than on an empty stomach.