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Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a lipid-type structure with vitamin-like activity. Various types of coenzyme species (otherwise known as ubiquinones) exist, but the one found naturally occurring in all human cells is CoQ10. CoQ10 is made in the body, but production falls off as we get older. CoQ10 is also found in foods (especially meat), but cooking and processing methods tend to destroy it.
CoQ10 functions at a very fundamental biochemical level as a carrier in the "electron transport" chain. This chain is the final stage in the vastly complex process of energy production from food, and results in the formation of ATP (adenosine triphosphate) which is the immediate energy currency of each and every cell.
The Japanese have been using supplemental coenzyme Q for many years. It was first used on a case by case basis in 1963, but not until 1974 was pure coenzyme Q obtained in large enough quantities for the Japanese to initiate organised trials on patients. However by 1982, coenzyme Q had reached a level of consumption in Japan close to that of the top five drugs.
Below are listed some of the areas in which CoQ10 has been investigated:
Very many conditions have shown positive response to CoQ10. These include congestive heart failure (1), ischaemic heart disease (2), rheumatic heart disease and irregular heart beat. Well-documented evidence exists for the use of CoQ10 in conjunction with conventional medications for congestive heart failure (3-6). It has also been suggested as a treatment for Hypertension (7-9). CoQ10 can also prevent heart damage brought on by certain types of cancer chemotherapy.
Periodontal (Gum) Disease:
Investigations have shown that diseased gums tend to have lower levels of CoQ10 than healthy ones, and that giving CoQ10 supplements can halt deterioration of the gums (10).
In those who are overweight and who appear to have a CoQ10 deficiency, CoQ10 supplements may speed up weight loss (11). However there is no effect in those who are not CoQ10 deficient.
CoQ10 has been shown to be effective against ailments associated with poor oxygenation (10) - including stomach Ulcers.
There are reports of CoQ10 improving aerobic performance in certain individuals (12). This has obvious implications for athletes, and may also be beneficial to Angina sufferers (13,14).
Energy Booster and Immune Enhancer:
A supplement of CoQ10 not only benefits people with specific health problems; many people who simply feel tired and run down can benefit from this energy-producing nutrient (11).
Coenzyme Q10 is also thought to act as an immune enhancer - having an antioxidant effect and directly stimulating the formation of antibodies and white blood cells (15).
CoQ10 is required for all energy - dependant processes in the sperm cell. Supplementation with CoQ10 may result in an improvement in sperm function and motility (16).
CoQ10 may be effective for treating nutritional depletion and side effects caused by certain types of medication. This has been demonstrated for cholesterol-lowering drugs such as lovastatin (Mevacor), simvastatin (Zocor), and pravastatin (Pravachol) (17,18,19).
CoQ10 is usually effective at levels of 30-90mg but 100mg plus has been used without any toxicity problems or side effects whatsoever. People with severe heart disease should not take CoQ10 without medical supervision.
INTERACTIONS AND CONTRA-INDICATIONS
There are no known drug interactions or other contra-indications for CoQ10.
1. Baggio E, et al Italian multicenter study on the safety and efficacy of coenzyme Q10 as adjunctive therapy in heart failure. CoQ10 Drug Surveillance Investigators. Mol Aspects Med, 15 suppl:S287-294 1994.
2. Yokoyama H. et al. Coenzyme Q10 protects coronary endothelial function from ischemia reperfusion injury via an antioxidant effect. Surgery, 120:189-196 1996.
3. Morisco C, et al. Effect of coenzyme Q10 therapy in patients with congestive heart failure: A long-term multicenter randomized study. Clin Invest 71(Suppl. 8): S134-S136, 1993.
4. Hashiba K, Kuramoto K, Ishimi Z, et al. Heart (in Japanese) 4: 1579-1589, 1972. As cited in Werbach M. Nutritional influences on illness. CD-ROM. Tarzana, CA: Third Line Press, 1998.
5. Hofman-Bang C, et al. Coenzyme Q10 as an adjunctive treatment of congestive heart failure. J Am Coll Cardiol 19: 216A, 1992.
6. Sinatra ST. Refractory congestive heart failure successfully managed with high-dose coenzyme Q10 administration. Mol Aspects Med 18(Suppl.): S299-S305, 1997.
7. Digiesi V, et al. Effect of coenzyme Q10 on essential arterial hypertension. Curr Ther Res 47: 841-845, 1990.
8. Langsjoen P, et al. Treatment of essential hypertension with coenzyme Q10. Mol Aspects Med 15(Suppl.): S265-S272, 1994.
9. Digiesi V, et al. Coenzyme Q10 in essential hypertension. Mol Aspects Med 15(Suppl.): S257-S263, 1994.
10. "The Miracle Nutrient Coenzyme Q10", Dr E G Bliznakov & G L Hunt, Thorsons, 1988.
11. "Handbook of Dietary Supplements", Pamela Mason, Blackwell Science, 1995.
12. Ylikoski T, et al. The effect of coenzyme Q10 on the exercise performance of cross-country skiers. Mol Aspects Med, 18 suppl:S283-290 1997.
13. Kamikawa T, Kobayashi A, Yamashita T, et al. Effects of coenzyme Q10 on exercise tolerance in chronic stable Angina pectoris. Am J Cardiol 1985;56:247.
14. Mortensen SA. Perspectives on therapy of cardiovascular diseases with coenzyme Q10 (ubiquinone). Clin Invest 1993;71
15. Folkers K, et al. The activities of coenzyme Q10 and vitamin B6 for immune responses. Biochem Biophys Res Commun, 193;1:88-92 1993.
16. Lewin A, Lavon H. The effect of coenzyme Q10 on sperm motility and function. Mol Aspects Med, 18 suppl:S213-219 1997.
17. Bargossi AM, et al. Exogenous CoQ10 supplementation prevents plasma ubiquinone reduction induced by HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors. Mol Aspects Med 15(Suppl.): S187-S193, 1994.
18 Ghirlanda G, et al. Evidence of plasma CoQ10-lowering effect by HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors: a double-blind, placebo-controlled study. J Clin Pharmacol 33(3): 226-229, 1993.
19. Mortensen SA, et al. Dose-related decrease of serum coenzyme Q10 during treatment with HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors. Mol Aspects Med 18(Suppl.): S137-S144, 1997.