(NaturalNews) CoEnzyme Q10 has been promoted as a supplement for supporting cardiovascular health and increasing energy as well as a potent antioxidant. In addition, many supplement companies worldwide are making claims that CoEnzyme Q10 can improve cardiovascular health and increase your overall energy levels. Even more so, it has been promoted as a natural adjunct for people taking statin drugs.
In view of such promising claims in our current world of information overload, especially when it comes to health supplements (this is after all a multi billion dollar industry and has become another avenue for reaping large profits from consumers who are genuinely eager to improve their health and longevity), any savvy consumer, should consider some key points. Ask yourself:
1. Do I really need it?
2. What will this supplement do for me?
3. Is the supplement in its ideal biochemical form and dosage for it to be effective and easily assimilated in my body?
4. Can I get enough from my current diet, and if so, how effective is the absorption?
Let's take a closer look at another hyped supplement CoEnzyme Q10t?
CoEnzyme Q10, also known as Ubiquinone or Ubidecarenone, and more simply CoQ10, is a powerful antioxidant was discovered in 1957 at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Enzyme Institute by Fred L. Crane and colleagues. Since 1960, universities and researchers have published over 1,600 articles in medical journals demonstrating CoQ10's benefits and importance. In 1978, Peter D. Mitchell won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry for his discovery of the significance of CoQ10
in energy production.
The name ubiquinone refers to the ubiquitous presence of these compounds in living organisms found in all animal and every human cell; therefore this gives us an insight as to CoQ10 important role in cellular energy
Coenzyme Q10 is a fat-soluble compound primarily synthesized by the body and also consumed in the diet, primarily meat, fish and poultry. All animals, including humans, can synthesize ubiquinones; hence, coenzyme Q10 technically cannot be considered a vitamin.
Coenzyme Q10 is soluble in lipids (fats) and is found in virtually all cell membranes, as well as lipoproteins.
The organs with the highest CoQ10 concentration are the heart, lungs and liver. It is interesting to note that these three organs work 24 hours a day and perform multiple life supporting functions. Ninety five percent of our body's energy demands require the aid of CoQ10.
Do we really need it and why?
The answer is most definitely, as CoQ10 is critical in generating the energy "currency" of all your cells, in the form of adenosine triphosphate (ATP). In other words, your cells require CoQ10 to help produce the energy you need to live.
CoQ10 is responsible for energy production in every living cell, and because it acts as a powerful antioxidant it helps to slow down the ageing process. In addition, it helps support the immune system and even helps protect brain cells because it is powerful antioxidant.
One of the reasons CoQ10 is becoming so popular, even from the medical community, is because it is promoted as an adjunct supplement
for anyone taking statin drugs, (cholesterol lowering drug). Statin drugs are used by millions of people around the world. For example, 16 million Americans now take Lipitor, the most popular statin drug, and drug company officials claim that 36 million Americans are candidates for statin drug therapy.
The link between the enzyme and statin drugs is based on the fact that statins work to lower your cholesterol in the same biochemical pathway your body
uses to produce CoQ10. So CoQ10 supplementation is used to compensate for one of the major side effects of the statin drugs, that they impair the bio-pathways and energy production of CoQ10.
CoQ10 also provides your body with an added defense against oxidation, stress to your cells, tissues and organs and supports muscle recovery from intensive workouts/exercise.
CoQ10 in Food Sources
Based on food frequency studies, the average dietary intake of coenzyme Q10 in Denmark was estimated to be 3-5 mg/d. Most people probably have a dietary intake of less than 10 mg/d of CoQ10. Rich sources of dietary CoQ10 include mainly meat, especially high in organ meats (liver and heart) poultry, and fish.
Other sources include soybean and canola oils, and nuts. If these are promoted for their CoQ10 levels it is important to remember that they are not ideal choices of CoQ10. Soy beans, for example, need to be in fermented forms such as tempeh and miso, and canola is high in omega 6 fatty acid, and our Western diet already has an imbalance of Omega 6 over beneficial Omega 3 fatty acids.
Another factor to consider is that canola oil oxidises easily in the human cells. What is oxidization again? The very process of accelerated cell death and hence accelerated ageing.
Other sources such as vegetables, eggs, and dairy products contain moderate amounts of CoQ10. One study showed approximately 14%-32% of CoQ10 was lost during frying of vegetables and eggs, but the Co Q10 content of these foods did not change when they were boiled. Some relatively rich dietary sources and their CoQ10 content in milligrams (mg) are listed in the table below.
Food Serving CoQ10. (mg)
Beef, cooked 3 ounces 2.6
Herring, marinated 3 ounces 2.3
Chicken, cooked 3 ounces 1.4
Rainbow trout, steamed 3 ounces 0.9
Peanuts, roasted 1 ounce 0.8
Sesame seeds, roasted 1 ounce 0.7
Pistachio nuts, roasted 1 ounce 0.6
Broccoli, boiled 1/2 cup, chopped 0.5
Cauliflower, boiled 1/2 cup, chopped 0.4
Orange 1 medium 0.3
Strawberries 1/2 cup 0.1
Egg, boiled 1 medium 0.1
A 3-ounce serving of meat or fish is about the size of a deck of cards or 90 grams.
Supplemental doses of CoQ10 range from 30-100 mg/d, which is considerably higher than normal dietary CoQ10 intake. Therapeutic doses for adults generally range from 100-300 mg/d, although doses as high as 3000 mg/d have been used to treat early Parkinson's disease under medical supervision.
Absorption of CoQ10 decreases with increasing supplemental dose - total intestinal absorption is likely less than 10% in humans. CoQ10 is fat-soluble and is best absorbed with fats in a meal.
CoQ10 Need increases with age
Critical CoQ10 levels decline as you age. In addition, your capability to convert CoQ10 to ubiquinol also declines. It becomes more and more difficult for you to produce the ubiquinol you need to keep your energy levels high.
As a supplement, CoQ10 now comes in two forms, ubiquinone and ubiquinol. To benefit from the form of the nutrient needed to produce cellular energy, your body must convert the ubiquinone to ubiquinol. This form can be significantly more absorbable than ordinary ubiquinone. The reason is quite simple - with ubiquinol, you're not as dependent on your body to convert ubiquinone to ubiquinol - it's already in the active state your body needs.
But not everyone needs the ubiquinol formula. If you're younger, under 30, your body should absorb regular CoQ10 just fine. In fact, research studies show that younger people don't absorb ubiquinol as well as older age groups. So, if you're young, sticking to a regular formula makes more sense. Or just increase the amount of lean beef. As long as it is organic and grass fed, it would be healthy for increasing CoQ10 levels.
Although coenzyme Q10 supplements are relatively safe, it is important to note they may decrease the anticoagulant efficacy of warfarin.
In summary, when taking any supplement it is important to know what it will do and how effective it is as a supplement. While CoQ10 sounds very promising and is popular even among the mainstream medical community because it is very much needed in our body all the time, let's remember where it is abundantly found in our cells of the body - in our heart, liver and lungs - energy producing organs.
Because there are literally hundreds of CoQ10 supplements on the market today choosing the right one would be very important as this supplement is expensive. It is important to get the form that's readily assimilated in the body such as ubiquinol, unless of course you are under 30 and can use the regular ubiquinone form which is relatively less expensive.
To date, the safety and reliability reports on the Co0 as a supplement remain solid as we can see below:
From the American Cancer Society: "Few serious reactions to CoQ10 have been reported."
From the University of Maryland Medical Center: "Coenzyme Q10 appears to be generally safe with no significant side effects…"
From the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH): "No serious side effects have been reported from the use of Co Q10."
If statin drugs are used then it would also make a lot of sense to replenish CoQ10 levels in the body as statin drugs impair the bio-pathways and energy production of CoQ10.
This also raises a number of interesting questions as to how effective statin drugs would be then if they, in fact, diminish the very same pathway that is so crucial in overall cardiovascular health and in supporting the heart in its own energy production. Let's remember that there is lots of CoQ10 in the heart organs, so maybe eating some organic lean beef more frequently is not such a bad idea for supporting your heart health after all.
Another issue to note here is that often people on statin drugs are strongly advised to avoid eating red meat, eggs and other sources of saturated fats, yet some of the rationale for this would not fit coherently into the basic biochemistry of our human body and its energy production. For example, 50 per cent of the fat around the heart, is in fact saturated and that is because your heart requires this form of protection and insulation in the form of saturated fat during times of stress. What is stress? A factor of daily life that is always there, and does in fact cause premature ageing and lots of oxidization if it goes on for longer than the body can cope with. As CoQ10 is another powerful antioxidant it would be beneficial in supporting the body in times of stress yet it would be even more beneficial to look at the stress behind it all.
Health Coach/Kinesiologist/Nutritionist M.A., B.A., Dip Health Science,
Dip Clinical Nutrition.
Dangers of Statin Drugs: What You Haven't Been Told About Popular Cholesterol-Lowering Medicines by Sally Fallon and Mary G. Enig, PhD http://www.westonaprice.org/moderndiseases/statin.html
Langsjoen PH, Langsjoen PH, Folkers K (1985). "Long-term efficacy and safety of coenzyme Q10 for idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy." Am J Cardiol 65: 521-523, qtd. in Pizzorno: 666-667.www.mercola.com
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