Coenzyme Q10, Life’s Vital Link

energyWith cardiovascular disease being the number one killer in the United States, it is important to know about all the nutrients that have been proven to benefit the heart. One such nutrient is a substance called ubiquinone, otherwise known as Coenzyme Q10 (Co Q10). I have mentioned this in previous articles but have not written in depth about it. This article will detail Co Q10 to give you a better understanding of its applications in heart disease.

Professor F. L. Crane and his colleagues at the University of Wisconsin first discovered Coenzyme Q10 in 1957. Following this discovery Dr. Karl Folker of the University of Texas has become the person most responsible for the ongoing research of this substance. Originally found to be present in beef heart, Coenzyme Q10 is found in every plant and animal cell. It got its name from the root word “ubiquitous” because the enzyme is present in every cell of your body. It is naturally occurring and is part of the process of the production of cellular ATP. ATP is the energy fuel of the cells of the body. Because the body must have available energy to carry out normal body functions, such as breathing, Co Q10 is essential for all cells, tissues, and organs.

Although the body can synthesize Co Q10 (mainly in the liver), deficiencies can exist. These deficiencies could be a result of other nutritional deficiencies, genetic or acquired defects in the body’s ability to manufacture it, or the use of toxic substances that interfere with the production of it. Coenzyme Q 10 is considered to be one of the life extension nutrients. As we age, it has been discovered that the levels of Coenzyme Q 10 decrease.  Because of its far reaching effects on all body systems, research has shown that it is beneficial for the following conditions: Angina, cardiomyopathy, mitral valve prolapse, congestive heart failure, elevated cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, HIV, cancer, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, Muscular Dystrophy and periodontal disease.

Coenzyme Q10 has been the topic of numerous global conferences in the last decade with over 200 research studies having been conducted on it. Clinical evidence has shown it to be effective in all the disorders mentioned above. Its use with treating cardiovascular disease has been well documented. Due to the fact that oxygen is the life of a cell, making oxygen more available to cell structure will have an improvement on life functions. It is considered a potent antioxidant. The result of repeated insult to the heart muscle such as low oxygen, inflammation, and other dietary factors can be reversed with the use of Co Q10.

Congestive heart failure is the inability of the heart to pump blood effectively. This can be caused from long-term high blood pressure, disorders of the valves or cardiomayopathy. It is very common in elderly people. Conventional drug therapy utilizes digitalis, diuretics and vasodilators. One problem associated with congestive heart failure is arrhythmias, fluid build up in the lungs, shortness of breath, sweating, palpitations, vertigo, and cyanosis (bluing of the skin). Double blind placebo controlled studies using Coenzyme Q10 at dosage levels of 100 mg daily for a period of three months have been combined with conventional treatments and have shown to decrease the above symptomology.

Coenzyme Q10 has been shown to stabilize arrhythmias, the build- up of plaque due to high cholesterol, improve blood circulation, help lower blood pressure by normalizing the sodium to potassium ratios, improve performance during exercise, and increase stamina.

Coenzyme Q10 has also been shown to improve the immune, neuro-muscular, and digestive systems. The following substances enhance the function of Co Q10:

- Carnitine
- Selenium 
- Patothenic acid
- Methionine 
- Biotin          

According to the book Drug Induced Nutrient Depletion Handbook, factors that interfere with the function of Co Q10 are:

  • Beta-blockers
  • Hmg-CoA reductase inhibitors — mevacor, pravachol, zocor, lipitor, for example. Cholesterol lowering drugs.
  • Tricyclic anti-depressants
  • Phenothiazines

Other factors that affect Co Q10 are that it is easily destroyed by heat and light. It is present in numerous foods including these good sources: Canola oil, rice bran, wheat germ, soy beans, walnuts, filberts, almonds, peanuts, mackerel, salmon, yellowtail, sesame seeds, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, garlic, onion, carrot and potato. The cooking of these foods will destroy a certain percentage of the enzyme. In a healthy body and if you eat wholesome natural foods, your body will produce enough. Lifestyle is a factor. One study showed that a diet consisting of no Co Q10 showed that blood plasma levels had dropped 50% in a one-week period of time.

Let’s look at some dosage levels and its bioavailability. The average body requirement for maintenance to prevent deficiency is 5 mg. Therapeutic doses for a basically healthy individual range from 50-150 mg per day. Many of the clinical trials were using 100 mg daily. If a person is using Co Q10 for treating more serious conditions, upwards of 200-600 mg doses have been recommended. A more accurate measurement is to supplement 2 mg per 2.2 pounds of body weight. Because Coenzyme Q10 is generally well tolerated and no serious side effects have been reported with long-term use, it can be safely taken. It is always a good idea to consult with your health care practitioner when considering any substance for therapeutic applications.

It is available in loose powder, 7.5-200 mg capsules, sublingual tablets and sprays. It is also available in toothpaste and skin lotions.

Because it is poorly absorbed in the intestines, you need to eat when supplementing this nutrient. Do not take it on an empty stomach. It is assimilated better if it is combined with an oil, which makes the gel cap form a better choice. Gel caps contain soy oil combined with Co Q10. The half-life of Co Q10 is 3 days.

A good resource is the book Coenzyme Q-10, Is It The Fountain Of Youth by William Lee, RPh, PhD.

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