Introduction to CoQ10
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a vitamin-like substance in the body characterized by solubility in fat, hydrophobicity, and its involvement in electron transport and energy production. It combines with other enzymes to enable the formation of component amino acids which feed, fuel, repair, and maintain the health of the body.
Since vitamins are essential precursors to enzyme systems, and CoQ10 is needed by the body, it is often considered a vitamin although it is not. When we say “essential,” we mean that it must be consumed and is physiologically necessary. However, Coenzyme Q10 is not truly “essential” because your body can produce it. If the body were unable to produce it, it would have been called “Vitamin Q.”
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CoQ10 as an essential component of energy production
Coenzyme Q10 is an integral part of the membranes of the mitochondria, the “powerhouses” of the cell. It is involved in the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is the basic energy molecule of the cell. ATP is the energy needed to breathe, sit, stand, run, exercise, walk, digest, laugh, whistle or mow the lawn, and even think. Everything you do requires energy and comes at the cost of your ATP stores.
Supplementing Coenzyme Q10 helps the body sustain cellular respiration and cellular production. Without CoQ10, our bodies could not survive because it is necessary in the synthesis of ATP (Pizzorno 1999). Once body levels decline, our general health does the same. According to scientists, once body levels of CoQ10 reach below the 25% deficiency levels, health problems such as cardiovascular disease, immune system depression, periodontal problems, lack of energy, and weight gain begin to flourish. Any of these can become a contributing factor to the aging process (Pizzorno 1999).
Coenzyme is a nutrient that is necessary to make every cell in our body function, and now you know why. When an organ tissue has a greater oxidative stress, it follows that it has a greater need for CoQ10. The heart, in particular, is one organ that demonstrates this relationship between energy demand and CoQ10 supply (Pizzorno 1999).
Coenzyme Q10 and cholesterol
As we age, especially starting at age of 30, our production of Coenzyme Q10 begin to decline significantly. Because of this, supplementation becomes increasingly important as we grow older. Since CoQ10 production occurs in the same metabolic pathway as cholesterol, it is safe to say that the increased cholesterol synthesis that occurs as we age may be the cause of the drop in CoQ10 levels (Hendler 2001).
The increasing need for supplementation
As we grow older, we tend to have lower levels of Coenzyme Q10 in the body and we start to have different kinds of age-related diseases. Can we control our age? No. Can we prevent these diseases from affecting us? Yes. Can we prevent already occurring diseases from progressing? Yes. Supplementing our normal diet with CoQ10 can significantly increase our CoQ10 body levels, thus making us stronger and healthier at the cellular level. The required dosage is around 50 to 300 mg per day, depending on your health condition. Consult your physician to find out the best dosage for you.