Why take CoQ10?
Co-enzyme Q10 plays a vital role in energy production, but the body’s ability to produce it declines with age and can be slowed by statin use.
Co-enzyme Q10 is a fat-soluble substance that is very similar to a vitamin. Unlike vitamins though, our bodies can produce it themselves. Our ability to do so peaks between the age of 20 and 30 and declines as we age. Statins, which are commonly prescribed to people with high cholesterol, block CoQ10 production and contribute to reduced CoQ10 levels later in life.
Co-enzyme Q10, discovered by American scientists in 1957, goes by many names including CoQ10, Coenzyme Q, ubidecarenone, and ubiquinone. The latter refers to its ubiquitous nature, as it is present in every single cell of our bodies.
British biochemist Peter Mitchell was awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1978 for determining how CoQ10 functions within our cells. Since then, research has been conducted to examine its role in human health.
Most of the energy your body needs to function is produced in the mitochondria, the powerhouse of our cells. This process is CoQ10 dependent, so the highest CoQ10 levels are found in cells with high energy requirements, in our brain, heart, liver, and kidneys, for example. As well as making it ourselves, we can also absorb small amounts of CoQ10 from food. Rich sources include organ meats (e.g. liver) and vegetables such as soybeans.
Energy production is not the only function of CoQ10. It also acts as a powerful antioxidant and is particularly good at preventing lipid peroxidation, the process by which free radicals damage our lipid cell membranes. That means it may contribute to the proper functioning of the endothelium, the inner lining of the blood vessels and lymph vessels.
Apart from statin therapy, lower levels of CoQ10 have been observed in connection with several different health conditions, such as heart disease and hypertension, asthma, periodontal disease, Parkinson’s disease, mitochondrial myopathies, and HIV. Studies have shown that it may help with insulin resistance, assist rheumatoid arthritis patients and contribute to an improved IVF success rate.
There is ongoing research into the effectiveness of CoQ10 supplements for managing conditions related to CoQ10 deficiencies. Research is also being conducted on its usefulness for conditions that have no immediate link to a CoQ10 deficiency, such as certain neurological disorders or type 2 diabetes.
Adequate CoQ10 levels are essential for the proper functioning of our cells, but due to its natural structure it is poorly absorbed. A highly bioavailable supplement that changes this compound from fat-soluble to water-soluble results in significantly higher absorption of this critical co-enzyme.