CONDITIONS A-Z

Co-enzyme Q10 Nature's Secret Spark Plug

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Natures_Spark_PlugCo-enzyme Q10 is a naturally occurring nutrient crucial for heart, cholesterol and circulatory health, as well as promoting sustained energy.

CoQ10 has been described by experts as a natural spark plug required for energy production in each and every cell in the body. Co-Q10 also enhances the immune system acting as a powerful antioxidant.

Co-enzyme Q10 is involved in making an important molecule known as adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP serves as the cell's major energy source and drives a number of biological processes. While many people refer to it as a vitamin, this is not strictly true, as it can be synthesised in the liver from the amino acid tyrosine.

Since the 1980s it has been possible to measure normal blood and tissue levels of CoQ10 and consequently identify deficiencies and possible associations with disease. What's harder to quantify is the role of Co-enzyme Q10 in prevention, however many researchers are excited about the prospects.

Heart disease

CoQ10 is directly involved with a healthy cardiovascular system and reduced levels of CoQ10 have been found in the heart cells of people with heart failure. In fact CoQ10 deficiency has been used to predict mortality in chronic heart failure. 1

Researchers believe that the beneficial effect of CoQ10 in the prevention and treatment of heart disease is due to its ability to improve energy production in cells, inhibit blood clot formation, and act as an antioxidant.

Many researchers maintain there is good reason to be excited about the benefit of CoQ10 in heart disease, from both supplementation and nutritional sources. 2

High blood pressure

A number of small studies have suggested that CoQ10 may lower systolic blood pressure by up to 17 mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure by 10 mm Hg. However larger studies are needed to confirm the role of CoQ10 in treating high blood pressure.

Infertility

Low levels of CoQ10 have been found in the seminal fluid of males with reduced fertility. CoQ10 supplementation improved sperm motility. 3

More recently researchers from The Cochrane Library looked at trials of more than 1,000 couples at fertility clinics where most of the men had low sperm counts. The review of existing data found that couples were more likely to conceive if the man took certain vitamins and antioxidants.

Migraine headaches

Co-enzyme Q10 appears to be a good migraine preventative. A small trial found that over 60% of patients had a greater than 50% reduction in number of days with migraine headache and over 90% had a 25% reduction in days with a migraine.4

Neurodegenerative diseases

An early study in 2002 found that 1200mg/day significantly slowed down the progression of Parkinson's disease and a phase III trial of 1200 mg/d and 2400 mg/d should run until 2011.5

There are some interesting reports suggesting possible therapeutic benefit of CoQ10 in Huntington's disease (HD). The suggestion is that the mitochondrial dysfunction found in HD may be improved with CoQ10 supplements. 6

Co-enzyme Q10 and its antioxidant role in anti aging

Scientists believe free radicals contribute to the aging process, as well as the development of a number of health problems. Antioxidants, such as CoQ10, can neutralize free radicals and may reduce or even help prevent some of the damage they cause.

Researchers are enthusiastic about the possible antioxidant effects of CoQ10 on neurodegenerative disorders, Alzheimer's disease, cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and especially aging. 7

Nutritional sources of co-enzyme Q10

Co-enzyme Q10 can be obtained through foods such as organ meats (heart, liver and kidney) oily fish (tuna and salmon) and whole grains. Most people can get sufficient amounts of CoQ10 from dietary sources however supplements may be useful in people with various health conditions or those in higher risk categories.

Co-enzyme Q10 as a supplement

CoQ10 is available as a supplement in several forms, including soft gel capsules, oral spray, hard shell capsules, and tablets. The recommended dose for adults 19 years and over is 30 - 200 mg daily. Coenzyme Q10 appears to be generally safe with no significant side effects, except occasional stomach upset.

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References

  1. Sarah L. Molyneux 2008 Coenzyme Q10 An Independent Predictor of Mortality in Chronic Heart Failure. http://content.onlinejacc.org/cgi/content/short/52/18/1435
  2. Hargreaves IP, Duncan AJ, Heales SJ, et al; The effect of HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors on coenzyme Q10: possible biochemical/clinical implications.; Drug Saf. 2005;28(8):659-76. [abstract]
  3. Mancini A, De Marinis L, Littarru GP, et al; An update of Coenzyme Q10 implications in male infertility: biochemical and therapeutic aspects.; Biofactors. 2005;25(1-4):165-74. [abstract]
  4. Silberstein, S. D. (2006), Current Preventive Therapy: Preventive Treatment Mechanisms. Headache Currents, 3: 112–119. doi: 10.1111/j.1743-5013.2006.00042.x-i1
  5. "Study Suggests Coenzyme Q10 Slows Functional Decline in Parkinson's Disease". 2002. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/news_and_events/press_releases/pressrelease_parkinsons_coenzymeq10_101402.htm.
  6. Yang L, Calingasan NY, Wille EJ, et al; Combination therapy with coenzyme Q10 and creatine produces additive neuroprotective effects in models of Parkinson's and Huntington's diseases. J Neurochem. 2009 Jun;109(5):1427-39. Epub 2009 Mar 28. [abstract]
  7. Dhanasekaran M, Ren J; The emerging role of coenzyme Q-10 in aging, neurodegeneration, cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes mellitus.; Curr Neurovasc Res. 2005 Dec;2(5):447-59. [abstract]
  8. Image Credit: www.visualparadox.com
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