February marks the start of Heart Health month which means I’m often asked about prevention, detection, and solutions for all things heart related. A ‘hearty’ dose of Coq10 may just be what the doctor ordered. Here is what you need to know about this supplement and more.
Some frequently prescribed medications, such as statins, are known to lower CoQ10 levels in the body. Proper CoQ10 levels are important for heart health and cellular energy. Studies have shown that CoQ10 supplementation can help individuals maintain healthy CoQ10 levels while on such prescription medications.
What is CoQ10?
Antioxidants are necessary for a healthy heart. CoQ10 is a coenzyme and an important antioxidant that acts as an essential component of your heart’s energy producing system. While working out, it is important to maximize energy, especially in the cells of your muscles. CoQ10 is present in every muscle cell where it is involved in the process that produces cellular energy. CoQ10 can be found in two structural forms: ubiquinone and ubiquinol.
How does CoQ10 work?
A coenzyme helps an enzyme perform its function and an enzyme is a protein that acts as a catalyst or trigger. Proteins are found in different structural forms from long fibrous proteins found in muscle and hair cells to round, globular proteins that are referred to as enzymes. When a protein (enzyme) acts as a catalyst the end result is an accelerated chemical reaction. Enzymes are necessary to allow chemical reactions in the body to occur at the rate required to sustain life.
CoQ10 can also be used as an antioxidant. Free radicals wreak havoc on the body and damage cells. Antioxidants act as scavengers, quenching free radicals. The body is able to recharge or recycle CoQ10 so that its antioxidant capabilities can be reused.
Why is it important?
CoQ10 participates in the body’s generation of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the energy on which the body runs. This production of energy is needed for growth, health, and maintenance of our cells.
What are the benefits?
- A combination of CoQ10 and Carnitine supports healthy heart and blood vessel function
- CoQ10 helps support a healthy cardiovascular system, heart health, and is an important antioxidant and essential component of your heart’s energy producing system
- CoQ10 is a structural component of a cell’s membrane and plays an important role in normal cell metabolism
- Supplementation with CoQ10 may be useful in increasing circulating Q10 level
- CoQ10 may work with other antioxidants like vitamin E to protect the body from free radicals
Is it found in foods?
Yes, particularly seafood and beef. To view information from the National Institutes of health related to CoQ10 click here.
What is the difference between ubiquinone and ubiquinol?
In chemistry-terms, ubiquinone is the oxidized form of CoQ10 and ubiquinol is the reduced form of CoQ10. Ubiquinone is a bioavailable form of CoQ10 which the body converts to Ubiquinol to be utilized. Ubiquinol is the advanced bioavailable antioxidant form of CoQ10. This form does not require the additional steps of metabolism that Ubiquinone requires. Check the label of your bottle of CoQ10. If you don’t see the word Ubiquinol explicitly stated on the bottle, it is likely that the more common and standard form of Ubiquinone is what you have received.
Talk to your doctor to determine your age related needs. As we age, physiological changes occur across all body systems. They can be influenced by multiple factors: genetics, illness, environment, lifestyle. It is known that CoQ10 levels progressively decline after the age of 40 (Kalen et al., 1989; Soderberg et al., 1990). If you are seeking the advanced bioavailable form of CoQ10, choose ubiquinol.
Kalen, A., Appelkvist, E.L. and Dallner, G. (1989) Age-related changes in the lipid compositions of rat and human tissue. Lipids 24, 579-584.
Soderberg, M., Edlund, C., Kristensson, K. and Dallner, G. (1990) Lipid composition of different regions of the human brain during aging. Journal of Neurochemistry 2, 415-423.