Touted as a wonder supplement, coenzyme Q10 is said to enhance stamina, aid weight loss, combat cancer and AIDS, and even stave off ageing.
Although these claims may be extravagant, this nutrient does show promise for heart disease, weak gums and other ailments.
What it is
Coenzyme Q10, a natural substance produced by the body, belongs to a family of compounds called quinones. When it was first isolated in 1957, scientists called it ubiquinone, because it is ubiquitous in nature.
In fact, coenzyme Q10 is found in all living creatures and is also concentrated in many foods, including nuts and oils. In the past decade, coenzyme Q10 has become one of the most popular dietary supplements around the world.
Proponents of the nutrient use it to maintain general good health, as well as to treat heart disease and a number of other serious conditions. Some clinicians believe it is so important for normal body functioning tht it should be dubbed ‘vitamin Q’.
What it does
The primary function of coenzyme Q10 is as a catalyst for metabolism – the complex chain of chemical reactions during which food is broken down into packets of energy that the body can use.
Acting in conjunction wiht enzymes (hence the name ‘coenzyme’), the compound speeds up the vital metabolic process, providing the energy that the cells need to digest food, heal wounds, maintain healthy muscles and perform countless other bodily functions. Because of the nutrient’s essential role in energy production, it’s not surprising that it is found in every cell in the body.
It’s especially abundant in the energy-intensive cells of the heart, helping this organ to beat more than 100 000 times each day. In addition, coenzyme Q10 acts as an antioxidant, much like vitamin E, helping to neutralise the cell-damaging molecules known as free radicals.
Coenzyme Q10 may play a role in preventing cancer, heart attacks and other diseases linked to free-radical damage. It’s also used as a general energy enhancer and anti-ageing supplement. Because levels of the compound diminish with age (and with certain diseases), some doctors recommend coenzyme Q10 supplementation from about the age of 40.
Coenzyme Q10 has generated much excitement as a possible therapy for heart disease, especially congestive heart failure or a weakened heart.
In some studies, patients with poorly functioning hearts have been found to improve greatly after adding the supplment to their conventional drugs and therapies.
Other studies have shown that people with cardiovascular disease have low levels of this substance in their hearts. Further research suggests that coenzyme Q10 may help to protect against blood clots, lower high blood pressure, diminish irregular heartbeats, treat mitral valve prolapse, lessen the symptoms of Raynaud’s disease (poor circulation in the extremities) and relieve chest pains (angina).
A few small studies suggest that coenzyme Q10 may prolong survival in those with breast or prostate cancer,though results remain inconclusive. It also appears to aid healing and reduce pain and bleeding in those with gum disease, and to speed recovery following oral surgery.
The supplement shows some promise against Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases and fibromyalgia, and it may improve stamina in those with AIDS.
Some practitioners believe that the nutrient helps to stabilise blood sugar levels in people with diabetes.
There are many other claims made for this supplement: that is slows ageing, aids weight loss, enhances athletic performance, combats chronic fatigue syndrome, relieves multiple allergies and boosts immunity. But more research is needed to determine the effectiveness of coenzyme Q10 for these and other conditions.
- Improves the heart and circulation in those with congestive heart failure, a weakened heart muscle (cardiomyopathy), high blood pressure, heart rhythm disorders, chest pain (angina) or Raynaud’s disease.
- Treats gum disease and maintains healthy gums and teeth.
- Protects the nerves and may help to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
- May help to prevent cancer and heart disease, and play a role in slowing down age-related degenerative changes.
- May improve the course of AIDS or cancer.
How to take it
The general dosage is 50 mcg twice a day. Higher dosages of 100 mcg twice a day may be useful for heart or circulatory disorders, or for Alzheimer’s disease and other specific complaints.
Guidelines for use
Take a supplement morning and evening, ideally with food to enhance absorption. Coenzyme Q10 should be continued long term. It may be eight weeks or longer before you notice results.
Possible side effects
Most research suggests that the supplement is harmless, even in large doses. In rare cases, it may cause upset stomach, diarrhoea, nausea or loss of appetite. But it appears to be very safe overall.
Pregnant or breast-feeding women should consult with their health care professional before using coenzyme Q10, as the nutrient has not been well studied in this group. That is not to say that it would be of value to take during these times.
Patients with cardiomyopathy (enlarged heart) are often deficient inCoQ10. Studies show that oral supplementation with this nutrient maylead to extraordinary clinical improvements in these patients,including increased tolerance for physical activity and extended lifeexpectancy.
According to Australian researchers, oral CoQ10 therapy before cardiacsurgery also improves energy production,improves post-operative heart function, and shortens hospital stay.
If you keep up with the latest news and research, you have probably been hearing more and more exciting updates about the benefits of an antioxidant with the abbreviated name CoQ10.
Recent scientific research has linked this nutrient with an incredible list of benefits.
Here are a few!
Coenzyme Q10 has generated a lot of excitement over the past fewyears for its hugely beneficial effects on the treatment of heartdisease and cardiovascular dysfunction. Indeed all patients with anycardiovascular disease, especially if you are on Statin Drugs, shouldconsider the use of Coenzyme Q10.
It has been hypothesised that the intracellular depletion of CoEnzyme Q10 (CoQ10) due to statins, may play a role in myopathy and worsening of diabetes mellitus.
This open, randomised, four-phased crossover study compared the efficacy and safety of high dose pitavastatin (4 mg) or atorvastatin (20 mg), espeically regarding plasma levels of CoQ10, in 19 Japanese patients with heterozygous familial hypercholesterolaemia (FH).
Pitavastatin and atrovastatin caused signficiant and almost comparable reductions in serum levels of total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and triglyceride, and signfcantly increased serum levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol.
Myocardial deficiency of Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) has been demonstrated in patients with heart failure, and the severity of the deficiency correlates with the severity of symptoms.
The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between plasma CoQ10 and survival in patients with chronci heart failure (CHF).
Plasma samples from 236 patients (median age 77 years) admitted to hospital with CHF, with a median follow-up after 2.69 years (range: 0.12 to 5.75 years), were assayed for low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, total cholesterol and total CoQ10.
Ubiquinol a more bioavailable—or body ready—form of CoQ10 (Coenzyme Q10) and its now available for the first time in Australia.
CoQ10 is an important nutrient found throughout the body, but your body must break it down into a usable form. That usable form is ubiquinol, and over 90% of the CoQ10 found in your body is stored in the form of ubiquinol, a “ready-to-go reserve” of CoQ10 power.
The human body gradually loses its ability to synthesize CoQ10 as we age.
Supplementation with CoQ10 supports normal heart function, protect DNA from free radical induced oxidative damage, and maintain healthy energy levels.
Ubiquinol has the statistically significant benefit of improved absorption when compared with ubiquinone, which means it may be given at lower doses than ubiquinone to produce the same clinical effects.