You might not familiar with the term ‘coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)’; it is a member of the ubiquinone family of compounds, a vitamin-like element, which all animals can synthesize within the body naturally. CoQ10 was discovered by Dr. Fredrick Crane in 1957 and scientists have found many extraordinary benefits of this molecule in health and disease treatment.
CoQ10 is required by almost every cell in the body for many daily functions, it also has been used in medicine practices as a supplementation to treat cardiovascular disease, cancer and neurodegenerative disease.
What is coenzyme Q10?
CoQ10 is a fat-soluble molecule which present in almost every cell within human body. Because our body can make small amount of CoQ10 on its own, it’s not considered to be a vitamin. It is required by mitochondria to generate over 90% of cellular energy. Remember, the mitochondria are essentially the battery of the cell, where energy is produced. Therefore, the organs with high energy requirement have the highest CoQ10 concentration, such as heart and liver.
CoQ10 also acts as a powerful antioxidant, fights off damaging particles known as free radicals from oxidation. Oxidation is one of the main causes of aging and many chronic conditions, including cancer and heart disease. As a strong antioxidant, CoQ10 can neutralize free radicals and prevent cellular damages.
Who needs coenzyme Q10?
Unfortunately, our body produces less and less CoQ10 as we age. Also, the synthesis process of CoQ10 is very complicated, which requires amino acid tyrosine, eight types of vitamin and several minerals to complete. A deficiency in any one of these nutrients can affect body’s natural production of CoQ10. Many studies have found that people with cancer, heart disease, Parkinson’s disease and diabetes tend to have decreased amounts of CoQ10. Certain drugs such as statin can also cause lower levels of CoQ10.
CoQ10 supplementation is recommended to people who with following conditions:
Over 40 years old
On statin drugs
Coenzyme Q10 health benefits:
1. Supports energy production
CoQ10 plays a vital role in sustaining natural energy production to perform body functions. Mitochondria are organelles in every cell, they take food sources (fats, carbs and proteins) and turn them into usable energy called ATP. This conversion process needs the presence of CoQ10. Therefore, CoQ10 is critical for a consistent, clear, high level of energy, sharp mind, and maintenance of physical fitness.
2. Antioxidant functions
CoQ10 is an effective fat-soluble antioxidant. It can protect cell membranes and DNA from the oxidative damage which is a leading cause to many health conditions. As mitochondria are the major sites of free radical production, and makes CoQ10 an excellent free radical scavenger.
3. Improves heart health
The heart is not a complicated organ. It is primarily a muscle that pumps blood throughout the body consistently at all times, therefore a remarkable high energy is required. Since CoQ10 is essential for mitochondria to create energy and act as a powerful antioxidant, many medical investigators started to use CoQ10 supplements to control and treat heart-related conditions. Studies and real-life examples showed promising improvements from the patients, while it doesn’t cure them, but certainly hinders the progress of the disease.
4. Cancer prevention
To understand how CoQ10 can play in cancer prevention and management, we need to know that cancer is the result of long term free radical damage related to inflammation. It’s not surprising that medical researchers turned CoQ10 as an effective cellular protectant, to neutralize free radicals and protect normal cells from chemotherapy toxic effects.
Recommended daily intake of CoQ10 is 60mg for average adult to achieve optimum health. Higher doses may be recommended for specific conditions.
CoQ10 deficiency is uncommon in developed countries. Most people probably have a dietary intake of less than 10mg daily, but supplements may help people with health conditions such as congestive heart failure, cardiomyopathy and cancer.
Food sources high in CoQ10: beef, chicken, herring, sardine, pork, soybean oil, olive oil, canola oil, peanuts, pistachio nuts, broccoli, cauliflower, strawberries