Coenzyme Q10

CoQ10 is a 1,4-benzoquinone, where Q refers to the quinone chemical group, and 10 refers to the number of isoprenyl chemical subunits in its tail.

Also known as ubiquinone.

This oil-soluble, vitamin-like substance is present in most eukaryotic cells, primarily in the mitochondria.

Found in all cell types throughout the body, but especially the heart, liver, kidney, and brain.

CoQ10 helps turn the energy we consume from carbohydrates into adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the form of energy our cells can actually use to carry out many critical functions.

ATP is essential for healthy metabolism, bones, and neurological and muscle functioning.

CoQ10 functions as an antioxidant with vitamins E and C and selenium to help prevent free radical damage to our cells.

The body naturally produces coenzyme Q10.

There are no symptoms related to CoQ10 deficiency that have been observed.

About 25% of the CoQ10 in a person’s blood is believed to come from dietary sources, with the rest produced internally.

Meat, poultry, and fish are the predominant food sources of coenzyme Q10

The amount of the antioxidant in meat, poultry, and fish foods are not high enough to significantly boost levels in the body.

A fat soluble quinine with properties similar to vitamins.

Fat soluble and carried in a lower density lipoproteins.

It is a component of the electron transport chain and participates in aerobic cellular respiration, generating energy in the form of ATP.

Ninety-five percent of the human body’s energy is generated in the form of ATP.

Ubiquinol is the reduced form of COQ10 and acts as a phenolic antioxidant and undergoes hydrogen abstraction by free radicals acting like a chain breaking antioxidant.

Organs with the highest energy requirements, including the heart, liver, pancreas and kidney, have the highest CoQ10 concentrations.

There are three redox states of coenzyme Q10.

Fully oxidized CoQ10 (ubiquinone), semiquinone (ubisemiquinone), and fully reduced (ubiquinol).

In its completely oxidized form it functions in the electron transport chain.

In its completely reduced form it functions as an antioxidant.

Functions as a cofactor in the mitochondrial respiratory chain.

May have gene regulatory properties that may account for its effect on the overall tissue metabolism.

The highest concentration is found on the inner membrane of the mitochondrion.

CoQ10 also located in endoplasmic reticulum, peroxisomes, lysosomes, and vesicles.

Is fat-soluble and has mobility in cellular membranes.

Functions as an electron carrier in every cell of the body to synthesize energy.

Creates cellular energy for cell growth and maintenance activities.

The antioxidant nature derives from its energy carrier function.

As an energy carrier, the molecule is continually going through an oxidation-reduction cycle.

As it accepts electrons, it becomes reduced, and in its reduced form it easily can give up one or both electrons and acts an antioxidant.

A redox coenzyme of the respiratory chain.

As it gives up electrons, it becomes oxidized.

Inhibits both the initiation and the propagation of lipid and protein oxidation.

Works by a direct regulatory role on succinylcholine and the reduced form of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide dehydrogenase, catalyzes and regulates cytochrome bc1 complex, and has membrane stabilizing properties.

Regenerates other antioxidants such as vitamin E.

The circulating CoQ10 in LDL prevents oxidation of LDL, and may provide benefit in cardiovascular diseases.

May alleviate the statin side effect of rhabdomyolysis.

Statins decrease the production of coenzyme Q10 but supplementation does not decrease the risk of myopathy (Banach M et al).

Meta-analysis of several randomized controlled trials found no significant benefit for improving individuals’ muscle pain associated with statin use.

Genes involved in CoQ10 biosynthesis include PDSS1, PDSS2, COQ2, and COQ8/CABC1.

Available as a crystalline powder that is insoluble in water.

Absorbed by pancreatic enzymes and bile required for lipophilic substances.

Well absorbed, but slowly so, with peak plasma levels 5-10 hours following ingestion.

Food intake stimulates biliary excretion of bile acids and greatly enhances the absorption of CoQ10 in the small intestinal tract.

Metabolized in all tissues, and the major route for its elimination is biliary and fecal excretion.

Deficiency occurs by reduced biosynthesis, and increased utilization by the body.

Biosynthesis is the major source of CoQ10.

Biosynthesis requires at least 12 genes, and mutations in many of them cause CoQ deficiency.

Levels can also be affected by other genetic defects that are not directly related to the CoQ10 biosynthesis.

Some chronic disease conditions are also thought to reduce the biosynthesis and increase the demand for CoQ10, but no definite data to support these claims exist.

Some adverse effects, largely gastrointestinal, are reported with very high intakes, otherwise such high doses tolerated well.

Plasma levels reflect dietary intake rather than tissue status.

CoQ10 levels can be measured in cultured skin fibroblasts, muscle biopsies, and in blood mononuclear cells.

Shares a biosynthetic pathway with cholesterol.

The synthesis of an intermediary precursor mevalonate, is inhibited by some beta blockers, blood pressure-lowering medication, and statins.

Statins can reduce serum levels of coenzyme Q10 by up to 40%.

The plasma peak can be observed 2–6 hours after oral administration, and in some studies, a second plasma peak is also observed at about 24 hours after administration.

Elimination half-time of 33 hours.

Normal plasma levels 0.64-1.07 mcg/ mL.

Males with higher levels and older patients have lower levels.

There is evidence of CoQ10 deficiency in heart failure, and plasma concentrations have been demonstrated as an independent predictor of mortality in chronic heart failure.

Standard supplementation therapy in CHF.

Beneficial in hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

The content of ubiquinol in human LDL protects against the oxidative changes of LDL, thus lowering their atherogenic potency.

May have a beneficial effect on migraine headaches, and may be effective in its prophylaxis.

A meta-analysis concluded it can lower systolic blood pressure by up to 17 mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure by up to 10 mm Hg without significant side-effects.

May slow decline in agents with Parkinson’s disease.

Meat and fish are the richest source of dietary CoQ10.

Levels over 50 mg/kg can be found in beef, pork and chicken heart, and chicken liver.

Dairy products are much poorer sources of CoQ10 compared to animal tissues.

Vegetable oils are also quite rich in CoQ10, and of the vegetables, parsley, and perilla are the richest.

Broccoli, grape, and cauliflower and avocado are modest sources.

Most fruit and berries a poor to very poor source.

Estimated daily intake of CoQ10 has been determined at 5-10 mg per day, primarily from meat.

Cooking by frying reduces content by an estimated 14–32%.

Widely used as a food supplement.

In the US is regulated as a food component.

Total amount in the adult human body is approximately 2 g and 0.5 g must be replaced daily by endogenous synthesis and diet intake.

Our Bodies Need CoQ10

Potentially promising uses for CoQ10 supplements, with varying levels of supporting evidence, include:

Helping treat high blood pressure and heart failure

Enhancing immune system function in people with HIV or AIDS

Improving symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome

Reducing high cholesterol levels in the blood

Assisting in the treatment of cancer or the protection of organs

Protection from toxic chemotherapy drugs

Treating gum disease

Treating age-related macular degeneration (AMD)

Helping patients with Alzheimer’s disease

Treating Parkinson’s disease

Increasing sperm count and motility

Preventing or treating migraine headaches

None of these uses for CoQ10 supplements have been proven to work.

Few side effects, but may be associated with nausea, insomnia, elevated LFTs, rash, dizziness, epigastric abdominal pain, heartburn, headache photophobia, and irritability.

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