WHAT IS COQ10?
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a naturally occurring, fat-soluble antioxidant used for cell growth and support. It is an essential nutrient for the health of all human tissues and organs .
The enzyme is found throughout the body, especially in the inner membrane system of the mitochondria and is a fundamental part of the body’s ATP cycle: ATP is adenosine triphosphate and this is the form of energy used by cells.
Major organs such as the heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, spleen, pancreas, and adrenal glands are rich in CoQ10. Although the body synthesizes CoQ10, components such as nutritional deficiencies, genetic defects, illness, and aging can significantly decrease CoQ10 levels.
Without the powerful antioxidant capacity of CoQ10, free radicals formed in the cell are able to damage DNA, proteins, and lipids: resulting in oxidative stress. Antioxidants, such as CoQ10, are enzymatic and nonenzymatic agents that are able to prevent the formation of or completely remove free radicals after they are formed.
It is well-known today that CoQ10 is one of the most effective lipid antioxidants that is able to prevent the generation of free radicals and modifications of proteins, lipids, and DNA . In addition to reducing and neutralizing free radicals, CoQ10 regenerates local antioxidant agents such as tocopherol (Vitamin E).
Individuals with conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, migraines, and statin-induced myopathy will benefit significantly by incorporating a CoQ10 supplement into their diet.
CoQ10 is found in many foods, such as oily fish, meats, whole grains, and nuts.
COQ10: THE SUPER MOLECULE
The body is unable to synthesize enough CoQ10 for optimal health. Extra amounts must be ingested through food or supplementation.
CoQ10 helps to increase the number of lymphocytes (white blood cells to fight diseases and infection) as well as improve endothelial function by increasing nitric oxide release from endothelial cells which contributes to overall cardiovascular health.
The immune system and physical performance also relies on the use of CoQ10. The tissues and cells that are a part of the immune system are energy dependent and require an adequate supply of CoQ10 for optimal function .
CoQ10 offers protection from statin-induced myopathy.
Cardiovascular disease, such as atherosclerosis, ischemic heart attacks, stroke and other maladies are the number one health problem in the modern world. Generally, first-line treatment of high cholesterol in western countries is a prescription of statins. Statins have been very successful in the treatment of high levels of cholesterol.
Cholesterol has been directly linked to cardiovascular disease. Statins work by reducing serum low-density cholesterol levels (LDL). These act to stop the synthesis of cholesterol and to also increase the hepatic low-density lipoprotein receptor activity. But, they also reduce levels of CoQ10 in the human body.
The best way to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease is to consume a healthy diet. However, many physicians assume patients will be non-compliant with dietary changes, resulting in medications being prescribed that bear serious side effects.
For statins, these include severe damage to cellular mitochondrial function along with muscle pain, fatigue, weakness, and cramping. 5 to 10% of people taking statins to control cholesterol will have such side-effects.
CoQ10 is a key substrate for energy metabolism and essential for cell membrane stability. The cell membrane is where many cellular functions occur. In the face of CoQ10 deficiencies, muscle cells are prone to damage, disease, and in the worst case scenario, total destruction.
The risk for statin induced myopathy can be reduced through orally supplementing coenzyme Q10, which has been demonstrated to be a safe intervention to help with muscle pain.
CoQ10 is depleted by statins and replacement is necessary. Statins are one of the most commonly prescribed drugs in the world. The statin drugs include Crestor (rosuvastatin), atrovastatin, fluvastatin and simvastatin among others. Statins exert their effect on cholesterol by reducing the activity of a key enzyme (HMG-CoA reductase).
However, anything downstream of this enzyme is also reduced. CoQ10, a ubiquinone antioxidant, is downstream of this enzyme’s activity. Thus, not only is LDL reduced, but so is CoQ10. Muscle cells are prone to damage in the face of a CoQ10 deficiency; this results in myositis or myopathy.
For two groups of people on statin with statin-induced muscle pain, the group that took CoQ10 had a significant reduction in muscle pain. As well, muscle fatigue, cramping, weakness and tiredness also decreased. The dosing recommended is usually 150mg to 200mg each day.
COQ10: PROMOTES OPTIMAL HEALTH AND AGING
Naturally, as one ages, CoQ10 levels in the cell membranes significantly decrease. The shortage of CoQ10 dramatically affects the lipid composition and functionality of the cell membranes which further impacts the chemical structure of integral enzymes and the metabolic process.
This is one of the factors that cause what we term “aging.” What we commonly call ‘aging’ is really just the end-result of long-term accumulation of free radical damage and low-grade chronic inflammation. Persistent and chronic inflammation will deplete our natural production of CoQ10.
Certain drugs that are common in older persons will as well. Such drugs include statins which are prescribed to lower levels of cholesterol.
Damage to the cells from free radicals is another main component of aging. CoQ10 is one of the most powerful antioxidants and it can regenerate our own antioxidants and others. It is able to effectively integrate into the cell membrane for protection.
About 80% of our normal use of oxygen happens in the mitochondria. Here, oxygen is used with food molecules to create usable fuel, or energy, for cellular functions. The mitochondria are also the major source of reactive oxygen species (ROS), or ‘free radicals’ because they are a byproduct of that energy production.
Free radicals damage DNA, proteins and lipids; this is what we now call ‘oxidative stress’. It is very well-known that CoQ10 can stop the damage to the cell membrane, proteins and DNA through its strong ability to neutralize the free radicals.
Including CoQ10 as a part of your supplement regime can help to prevent or treat conditions such as: cardiovascular diseases, high blood pressure, cancer, periodontal diseases, mitochondrial disorders, radiation injury, obesity, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, AIDS, gastric ulcers, allergy, migraines, kidney failure, muscular dystrophy, and aging .
The common denominator of all of these diseases is oxidative stress and free-radical damage to the cell and the mitochondria. CoQ10 should be a part of a strategy to reduce these problems of the modern age and diet. References