Coenzyme Q10 is a substance that has been getting a lot of press lately due to the benefits that it has on our health. But what exactly is it and what does it do?
What is Coenzyme Q10?
Coenzyme Q10 or CoQ10 is a vitamin-like compound that is present in all cells. It occurs naturally in the body and it is found in the highest amounts in the mitochondria, the part of the cell where energy is created. CoQ10 levels are highest in the hardest working tissues of the body, especially in the heart. CoQ10 is an antioxidant and, as such, it protects the cells from the damage caused by the free radicals in the body. Free radicals are produced during the normal process of producing energy, however, as we get older, the body starts producing too many of these free radicals. This can be damaging for people whose bodies are not producing enough CoQ10 and other antioxidants to control these.
As we get older, the amount of CoQ10 that the body produces decreases. Levels of CoQ10 are especially low in people that suffer from heart disease, and low levels of this compound means that the heart does not have the energy that it needs to keep it running normally.
What is Coenzyme Q10 Found In?
CoQ10 is found in beef muscle and heart, chicken, pork, fish, and eggs. It is also found in smaller amounts in spinach, broccoli, grains, beans, nuts and corn, rapeseed, sesame and soybean oils. Wheat germ and rice bran are also sources. There are also varying forms of supplementation available.
What Can Coenzyme Q10 Help With?
CoQ10 can help with the following:
- cardiovascular disease including angina, hypertension, cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, heart attack, mitral valve prolapse, arrhythmias, and heart surgery
- periodontal disease
- muscular dystrophy
- Alzheimer’s disease
- male infertility
- chronic fatigue syndrome
- athletic performance
- as part of an antioxidant regime
CoQ10 has very low toxicity levels and no serious side effects have been reported from patients taking it. People that are taking CoQ10 for congestive heart failure should not stop taking it suddenly as sudden withdrawals can make the symptoms of the heart failure worse. Certain drugs, such as those used to lower cholesterol or blood sugar levels, can also reduce the effects of CoQ10. It can also change the way that the body responds to warfarin (a blood thinning medication) and insulin, so it is a good idea to get advice from your doctor before you begin taking it.