CO-ENZYME Q10 – ANTIOXIDANT AND ENERGY TONIC
Coenzyme Q10 is an antioxidant, that is, it helps to protect cells from damage caused by the body’s own free radicals. The body produces free radicals in the normal course of energy production. However as we get older our bodies generate an excess of free radicals. This can be a problem for individuals whose bodies are not producing enough Coenzyme Q10 and other antioxidants to control these free radicals.
Low levels of B-vitamins and trace minerals needed for synthesis of CoQ10 are one cause of low levels. Another cause is increased demand for CoQ10 to neutralize environmental toxins and free radicals generated during vigorous physical activity and living in a world with increased environmental pollution. Using statin drugs to treat high cholesterol further depletes stores of CoQ10. Finally, levels of CoQ10 naturally fall as one ages and this may contribute to several chronic degenerative conditions including heart disease, cancer, immune disorders, periodontal disease, muscular dystrophy, infertility, and neurodegenerative diseases.
According to New York cardiologist Stephen Sinatra, M.D., a failing heart is an “energy-starved heart.” Examination of heart muscle samples taken from patients with congestive heart failure revealed extremely low levels of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the energy-rich currency of cellular metabolism.
Supplementation with CoQ10, a key factor in the production of ATP, in patients with end stage heart failure is vital.
Other maladies of the heart that may benefit from CoQ10 supplementation are angina (heart cramp), arrhythmia (irregular beat), high blood pressure, cardiomyopathy (damaged heart muscle), mitral valve prolapse, preventricular contractions (PVC), and recovery from heart surgery. Doctors who practice complementary medicine often include CoQ10 supplementation to increase energy to the heart, along with standard medical therapy.
Doctor Karl Folkers determined the chemical structure of CoQ10 in 1958. He and others found that cancer patients have much lower levels of CoQ10 than normal people. They attributed this to inadequate biosynthesis of CoQ10 and the four bases that make up DNA. This leads to insufficient cellular energy to defend against cancer progression and a lack of ability to repair DNA mutations that lead to cancer.
In addition, Dr. Bruce Ames has shown that deficiencies of folic acid, niacin, vitamins B6, B12, C, E and the minerals iron and zinc, cause DNA damage that may lead to cancer and neurodegenerative diseases. Paradoxically, many of these nutrients are also required for synthesis of CoQ10. Even cancer treatments themselves can severely deplete CoQ10 reserves.
CoQ10 supplementation alone or in combination with vitamin B6 has been shown to affect immune cell activity. An improved immune competence is important in the battle against cancer, HIV infection, AIDS-related complex, and Hepatitis B.
CoQ10 may play a role in diseases such as muscular dystrophies, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disease and Friedreich’s ataxia. These conditions involve either impaired energy production and/or excessive oxidative damage.
Since the mid 1970s, patients with periodontal disease have benefited from CoQ10, applied either directly to gum tissue or taken internally. Gingival tissue cells are particularly sensitive to energy deficits.
Being a large fat-soluble molecule that can be difficult to absorb, the most effective supplement is soft gelatin capsules containing solubilized CoQ10 and with improved production techniques there has been a significant drop in Co-Enzyme Q 10 prices over the past couple of years
Michael is head consultant at Planet Naturopath - Functional Medicine and Nutrition Solutions. As Seen