Last Updated June 13th, 2021
Understanding coenzyme Q10
A coenzyme is a non-protein substance that plays the role of an assistant in various biological processes. Coenzyme Q10or CoQ10(a vitamin-like substance) is an indispensable nutrient or a natural antioxidant synthesized by the body. In the human body, it is present in every cell. It is present in higher levels in the heart, liver, kidneys, and other vital organs.
Role of coenzyme Q10 in your body
- It plays an important role in processes that involve energy production.
- The cells of the body use this coenzyme for growth and maintenance.
- The antioxidant nature of this coenzyme protects the cells from damage caused by infectious bacteria and viruses.
- Low levels of this coenzyme impact the heart, cognitive functions, vision, hearing, etc.
- 95% of the body’s energy generation is via the involvement of coenzyme Q10.
- Levels of coenzyme Q10 decrease with age.
- 50% of overweight individuals show low levels of coenzyme Q10.
- A 75% loss in coenzyme Q10 can result in death.
Why is coenzyme Q10 deficiency caused?
There are many factors contributing to the deficiency or the deficit of the coenzyme Q10 levels.
- Vitamin B6 deficiency – The body needs vitamin B6 to synthesize coenzyme Q10.
- Defects in the gene involved in the synthesis or utilization of coenzyme Q
- Due to a disease, there can be increased utilization of coenzyme Q10 by tissues.
- Mitochondrial diseases; mitochondria is a cell organelle that is involved in energy production and respiration. It contains coenzyme Q10 to assist with the cellular processes. If the mitochondria get affected, the role of coenzyme Q10 also gets affected.
- Statins are medications that are prescribed to lower the cholesterol levels in your body. As the statin treatments increase, they decrease the efficiency of the mitochondria. This negatively affects the coenzyme Q10
Amazing benefits of coenzyme Q10
Coenzyme Q10 for the heart
Blood pressure results in heart diseases. This results in inflammation of the veins and arteries. There is a disruption in heart contraction and relaxation. The pumping of blood gets disrupted eventually. Certain treatments for heart failure reduce the coenzyme Q10 .Studies involving patients of heart failures show that coenzyme Q10 treatment improves their condition and reduces the death risk.
Coenzyme Q10 for fertility
Female fertility decreases with age due to a decline in the number and quality of eggs. This is because as a body age, the age-related damage also increases. As a man ages, the sperms become more weak to the effects of the age. This results in poor sperm count, poor motility and poor quality. On supplementing the body with coenzyme Q10, the antioxidant nature of coenzyme Q10 counters this damaging impact.
Skin and aging
The skin is more exposed to the damaging substances that are involved in aging. This results in reduced skin moisture and makes your skin more vulnerable to further damages causing the skin layers to thin out. There are skincare products in which coenzyme Q10 is used. These products are applied to the skin. Some studies show that the use of coenzyme Q10 can minimize the intensity of wrinkling.
Coenzyme Q10 – the secret immunity builder
Immune cells are highly dependent on energy. The presence of optimal levels of coenzyme Q10 can boost your immune cells to function. That is why the treatment of conditions such as cancer with coenzyme Q10 is applied.
Brain function and coenzyme Q10 are interlinked
The brain functions are energy consuming in nature. They require more oxygen and this makes them more prone to oxidative damage. Coenzyme Q10 meets the needs of the energy requirement in the brain and also acts as an antioxidant.
Damage of the mitochondria will impact the coenzyme Q10, many complex brain ailments such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, show reduction in this coenzyme.
Coenzyme Q10,lung function, and exercise
The lung is a vital internal organ that is involved in the oxygenation of the blood. During exercise or any muscular activity, the body will become hypoxygenic (low oxygen levels) and thus, the oxygen consumption is more. So, the tendency for muscle cramps becomes more. Presence of coenzyme Q10 or administration of the supplements enhances the heart rate and muscular energy metabolism. This improves lung functions. Coenzyme Q10 also offers protection to the lung tissues from damage arising from cellular activities.
A “2 in 1” benefit for Type 2 diabetes and obesity
Type 2 diabetes is a condition where insulin does not function properly. Related researches also point out to abnormalities in the mitochondrial function and low levels of coenzyme Q10.
Administration of coenzyme Q10supplements helps in restoring the mitochondrial function. This urges the cells to produce more insulin. Blood glucose levels reduce and this promotes the utilization of fats for energy.
Ward off your migraine with coenzyme Q10
Abnormalities in the mitochondria can lead to:
- Increased calcium uptake by the cells
- Decreased antioxidant protection
- Low energy production
This can result in headaches or even migraine and inflammations. The presence of coenzyme Q10 enhances energy production, antioxidant activity and lowers the inflammation occurring during a migraine attack.
Treatment of gingivitis
Gum diseases are characterized by swelling, bleeding, pain, and redness of the gums. The treatment that includes coenzyme Q10 helps in tissue repair and faster healing.
Coenzyme Q10 in the supplement form
Normally the serum levels of coenzyme Q10 ranges from 0.36 to 1.59 µg/mL.
Coenzyme Q10 is available as a supplement in two forms:
- ubiquinol (active antioxidant form)
- ubiquinone (oxidized form, which the body partially converts to ubiquinol)
It interacts with blood-thinning drugs and renders them less effective. The supplements are generally regarded as safe but they must not be consumed by pregnant or breastfeeding women.
There are some mild side effects associated with coenzyme Q10supplements which are enlisted below:
- Stomach upset
- Upper abdominal pain.
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea and vomiting
- Light sensitivity
The side effects can be reduced if you distribute the total daily dose in smaller amounts for 2 or 3 times in a day instead of taking a large dose at once. You can take an oral supplement of coenzyme Q10of 90 – 200 mg per day to treat coenzyme Q10 deficiency. Coenzyme Q10 is a fat-soluble compound so the absorption into your body is slow and limited. If you consume the coenzyme Q10 supplements along with your food, your body will be able to absorb it 3 times faster.
What are the food sources which contain coenzyme Q10?
While you can easily consume CoQ10 as a supplement, this coenzyme can also be found in some foods. The absorption of coenzyme Q10 in food and in supplement form is similar. The following foods contain CoQ10:
- Beef and pork (in the heart, liver, and muscle)
- Chicken breast, wings, and thighs
- Some muscle meats: Pork, beef, and chicken
- Fatty fish: Trout, herring, salmon, mackerel, and sardine
- Vegetables: Spinach, cauliflower, parsley, and broccoli
- Fruit: Oranges, apple, grape, banana, and strawberries
- Legumes: Soybeans, lentils, and peanuts
- Nuts and seeds: Almond, walnut, peanut, sesame seeds, and pistachios
- Oils: Soybean, sunflower, canola oil, olive, and grapeseed
Is it the right supplement for you?
Coenzyme Q10 a natural antioxidant works on getting your body pumped up on energy too. It is naturally present in your body and also present in the nature around you through the food sources such as soybean, sunflower oil, apples, beef, etc. Depending on the levels of coenzyme Q10 in your body and the medical scenarios, your doctor will tailor the coenzyme Q10 supplements accordingly.
Statins, though prescribed for cholesterol level reduction also impact the mitochondrial functions and thus affect the coenzyme Q10 levels. Supplements of coenzyme Q10 are safe to use and cause mild side effects. The benefits of coenzyme Q10 on the cellular level can be looked at as a “twinkles of energy production” without which the mitochondria (a cellular organ) cannot commence its function.
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