I want to take some time to answer yet another subject that is asked often here... What is Coenzyme Q10? (And "What good does it do?"; "Should I be taking it?"; and "How much should I take?") I can't imagine not taking it every day. Once you learn more, you may feel the same way...
Coenzyme Q10 is a relatively new substance in the eyes of the American research community. It was first discovered in the United States in 1957 by Dr. Frederick L. Crane and his colleagues at the University of Wisconsin Enzyme Institute. In 1958, Dr. Karl Folkers, while at Merck, Inc., first synthesized it. Folkers would become a leading research scientist and authority on coenzyme Q10 in the United States.
Quantities were limited, so few research studies were conducted in the 1960s. It wasn’t until the mid-1970s that the Japanese started to produce CoQ10 in significant quantities. In the early 1980s, research into CoQ10's clinical applications ramped up. Since then, hundreds of studies have shown the importance of supplemental CoQ10 in human health and disease.
Coenzyme Q10 (ubiquinone/ubiquinol) is a fat-soluble quinone with a structure similar to that of vitamin K. It is a powerful antioxidant both on its own and in combination with vitamin E and is vital in powering the body's energy production (ATP) cycle. CoQ10 is found throughout the body in cell membranes, especially in the mitochondrial membranes and is particularly abundant in the heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, spleen, pancreas and adrenal glands.
The total body content of CoQ10 is only about 500-1500 mg and decreases with age. Our lives and environment also affect coenzyme Q10 levels; stressful lives and polluted environments can deplete coenzyme Q10 from body tissue.
Coenzyme Q10 has received particular attention in the prevention and treatment of various forms of cardiovascular disease. It is highly effective in preventing the oxidation of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL) that leads to atherosclerosis. Several studies have shown that patients with congestive heart failure and other cardiovascular diseases have significantly lower levels of CoQ10 in their heart tissue than do healthy people and supplementation with as little as 100 mg/day has been shown to markedly improve their condition. CoQ10 is now approved in Japan for the treatment of congestive heart failure.
Some other rather stunning benefits to consider:
Many overweight people have very low levels of CoQ10 and supplementation may enable them to lose weight due to the effect of CoQ10 in speeding up the metabolism of fats. Yes, you heard right — it can help you burn fat more efficiently.
Some very recent, highly intriguing research carried out at the Institute of Neurosciences in Argentina has shown that brain activity and alertness is enhanced in hypertensive patients within one hour of oral administration of 100 mg of CoQ10.
CoQ10 has been used with success in combating periodontal diseases, especially gingivitis (gum disease). Tissue affected by gingivitis is deficient in CoQ10 and experiments have shown that supplementation with as little as 50 mg/day can decrease inflammation.
Research carried out in Denmark has provided some tantalizing evidence that CoQ10 may also be effective in the fight against certain cancers. A trial involving the treatment of 32 breast cancer patients with mega doses of vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids and coenzyme Q10 (90 mg/day) in addition to conventional therapy showed a highly beneficial effect of the supplementation. Two of the patients in the trial whose tumours had not regressed had their CoQ10 dosages increased to 390 mg/day and 300 mg/day respectively with the result that their tumours disappeared completely within three months. CoQ10 supplementation is also very important for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy with heart toxic drugs such as adriamycin and athralines.
Another reason you might be better off not using cholesterol-lowering drugs:
Recent research has also shown that certain cholesterol-lowering drugs (lovastatin, etc.) block the natural synthesis of CoQ10 so supplementation with 100 mg/day is recommended for patients taking these drugs
So how much do you need?
The body can synthesize coenzyme Q10 and it is also found in several dietary sources, notably organ meats. The level of CoQ10 in human organs peaks around the age of 20 years and then declines fairly rapidly. The decrease in CoQ10 concentration in the heart is particularly significant with a 77-year-old person having 57 per cent less CoQ10 in the heart muscle than a 20-year-old.
Some experts involved in CoQ10 research believe that many people, especially older people and people engaging in vigorous exercise may be deficient in CoQ10 and may benefit from supplementation. The recommended daily dosage for health maintenance is 30 mg; however, considerably higher amounts are required in the treatment of the various diseases for which supplementation has been found beneficial.
CoQ10 should be taken with a meal containing some fat or even better, in combination with soy, olive, or nut oils which enhances its absorption quite substantially. The body readily absorbs CoQ10 supplements and no toxic effects have been reported for daily dosages as high as 300 mg. The safety of CoQ10, however, has not been established in pregnancy and lactation, so caution is advised here until more data becomes available.
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