Coenzyme Q10 (ubiquinone or ubiquinol) is a fat soluble, vitamin – like substance synthesized and found in virtually all cells of the human body, especially the heart, kidneys and liver. It is most often connected to Dr. Karl Folkers, often referred to as the “father of Co-Q10”, who published a great deal of research on this molecule since 1958. Co-Q10 is made from acetyl CoA of which pantethine (vitamin B5) is a precursor.
The best sources of Co-Q10 in the diet are from organ meats taken from beef, pork and chicken. The best vegetarian sources are broccoli, spinach, soybean oil and palm oil. Supplement manufacturers make Co-Q10 from mainly yeast and bacterial fermentation.
Preventive And Therapeutic Applications
Research indicates that Co-Q10’s most important application is in the prevention and treatment of any and all cardio- vascular problems. Its basic mechanism of action occurs in the mitochondria of the heart cell and vascular endothelial cells to reverse oxidative stress otherwise known as free radical damage. It protects LDL (the “bad”) cholesterol from becoming oxidized and damaging to the blood vessels.
Studies indicate that Co-Q10 in a dose of 100 mg twice daily for a period of two weeks can lower blood pressure an average of 20 points within 12 weeks. It may therefore be an important way of controlling mildly elevated blood pressure.
Cardiac Drug Protection
Statin drugs are used to lower blood levels of cholesterol. Unfortunately, they also deplete the body of Co-Q10. This produces painful muscle damage that can often be at least partially offset by Co-Q10 supplements. I usually recommend at least 200 mg of Co-Q10 to anyone on any cardiac drug simply because it just makes the drugs work better with fewer side effects.
Beta-blockers, commonly used for angina, high blood pressure and arrythmias can also deplete body stores of Co-Q10. Supplementation of 100 - 200 mg daily is warranted.
Several small studies seem to indicate that Co-Q10 can help with cancer, especially breast cancer. While not a proven cure, doses of 400 mg or more a day have been used with success in curtailing the spread of breast cancer.
Co-Q10 also has a place in therapy for people who are being given chemotherapeutic drugs because supplementing Co-Q10 at the same time will help prevent damage to the heart caused by the drugs.
Co-Q10 supplementation can reduce insulin requirements in diabetics. Taking high doses of Co-Q10 may induce hypo- glycemic reactions in some diabetics. Prescription medications used for diabetes such as glyburide can reduce the body stores of Co-Q10, so supplementation is warranted.
Co-Q10 can protect brain cells from oxidative stress. Recent studies have shown that Co-Q10 can improve symptoms in Parkinson’s disease at dosages of 1200 mg a day.
There is research that is currently being conducted for the use of Co-Q10 in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington’s chorea and muscular dystrophy.
Studies done in 2004 showed that the occurrence of migraine headaches can be reduced by 50% with a daily dose of Co-Q10 of 100 mg daily over a period of 3 months.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)
CFS victims can benefit from daily doses of 200 mg of Co-Q10 over a period of 3 months. Most people who suffer from any degree of fatigue will benefit far earlier than that.
Gum disease caused by bacterial damage can be improved dramatically with Co-Q10 supplementation of at least 200 mg daily.
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