Overview of Coenzyme Q10
15 August, 2013
Coenzyme Q10, also referred to as CoQ10 or ubiquinone, is a vitamin-like compound which is present in all cells. It occurs naturally in the body and is found in highest amounts in the mitochondria, where cellular energy is created. CoQ10 levels are highest in the hardest-working tissues of the body, especially the heart.
Coenzyme Q10 is an antioxidant, that is, it helps to protect cells from damage caused by the body's own free radicals. The body produces free radicals in the normal course of energy production. However as we get older our bodies generate an excess of free radicals. This can be deleterious for individuals whose bodies are not producing enough Coenzyme Q10 and other antioxidants to control these free radicals.
Coenzyme Q10 has several different actions in the body. Its most notable effects are:
- Antioxidant - it scavenges free radicals
- Improves the efficacy of cellular energy production in the mitochondria (energy factories) of the cell
- Regulates genes concerned with energy production
- Stabilizes membranes
As we age there is a decline in the amount of CoQ10 our body produces. It is not possible to get large amounts of CoQ10 from diet alone. Therefore taking a daily supplement, especially as we age, can increase cell energy levels and strengthen the body's antioxidant defence network.
What is ubiquinol?
Until recently most CoQ10 supplements on the market offered the ubiquinone form of CoQ10. However, in order for this standard CoQ10 (ubiquinone) to be properly utilized in the body, it must be first converted to its active antioxidant form called ubiquinol. Ubiquinone (CoQ10) levels within the body typically begin decreasing as early as age 20, suggesting that it has a close connection with aging. Since our ability to convert CoQ10 becomes very poor as we age, the best way to achieve optimal benefits of CoQ10 is the ready-to-use activated form – ubiquinol, the biologically superior form of CoQ10. In Canada, Innovite is the company that has an excellent ubiquinol product and is found on our Living Science website here
Compared to standard CoQ10 supplements, ubiquinol is absorbed in the bloodstream up to 8 times better; it reduces exercise-induced fatigue by 90% more and slows aging 40% better. In experimental studies ubiquinol also shown to achieve 3.75 times higher plasma concentrations after 8 hours than standard CoQ10.
Figure 1 shows how little ubiquinol is needed to provide the same blood plasma levels of CoQ10 that are achieved in response to far greater amounts of ubiquinone.
Who should consider taking Ubiquinol?
Supplementing with ubiquinol rather than standard CoQ10 (ubiquinone) is especially important for individials who may have difficulty with the natural conversion of CoQ10 to ubiquinol such as:
- The late middle-aged to elderly
- Individuals suffering from specific conditions especially related to oxidative stress including diabetics, those with liver disease and with heart disease.
How much Inno-Q-Nol (ubiquinol) should you take?
The recommended dose of Inno-Q-Nol varies based on each individual's needs and the specific condition treated. However, those who are older may want to start supplementing with 100-200 mg of Inno-Q-Nol per day. 50-100 mg per day is a good maintenance dose for others.
As the reduced and more absorbable form of Coenzyme Q10, ubiquinol will have all of the same powerful benefits associated with CoQ10 that have been well established over the past three decades such as increase energy production, stamina leading to a better level of health. Some areas of research where benefits have been observed include:
People with heart failure have been found to have lower levels of CoQ10 in their heart muscle cells.
Double-blind research suggests that CoQ10 may reduce symptoms related to heart failure, such as shortness of breath, difficulty sleeping, and swelling. CoQ10 is thought to increase energy production in the heart muscle, increasing the strength of the pumping action. In one study, 641 people with congestive heart failure were randomized to receive either CoQ10 (2 mg per kg body weight) or a placebo plus standard treatment. People who took the CoQ10 had a significant reduction in symptom severity and fewer hospitalizations.
One of the most remarkable studies on CoQ10 involved the significant improvement of individuals expected to die of heart failure. When these patients were supplemented with CoQ10, this miracle nutrient astounded physicians by improving blood pumping capabilities and reducing heart size, surpassing researcher's expectations. Since this study many more clinical trials have been conducted to unveil CoQ10's immense value in treating heart patients.
High Cholesterol Treatment
Levels of CoQ10 tend to be lower in people with high cholesterol compared to healthy individuals of the same age. In addition, certain cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins (such as atorvastatin, cerivastatin, lovastatin, pravastatin, simvastatin) appear to deplete natural levels of CoQ10 in the body. Taking CoQ10 supplements can correct the deficiency caused by statin medications without affecting the medication's positive effects on cholesterol levels. Plus, studies show that CoQ10 supplementation may decrease the muscle pain associated with statin treatment. CoQ10 and Statins
-Statin drugs, or HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors, are a class of drugs used to lower cholesterol. Research suggests that statin drugs interfere with the body's production of CoQ10. A Columbia University study in New York found that 30 days of statin therapy (80 mg/day) decreased Co q10 levels by half.
Note: If statin drugs strip your body of CoQ10, you can imagine what is happening to your heart. Some health professionals are blaming statin drugs for accelerating heart failure in patients with congenital heart disease. Talk to your doctor about CoQ10 supplementation if you are taking statins.