The Coenzyme Q10, also known as ubiquinone, is a nutrient that provides energy to the cells. The body produces this coenzyme naturally but its production drops as we grow old. Fortunately, we can obtain coenzyme Q10 through food or dietary supplementation.
Some diseases, like diabetes, heart and brain disorders and cancer have been related to low coenzyme Q10 levels.  However, it is not clear if they are these diseases are the cause or the result of low coenzyme Q10 levels.
But there is something that we can be sure about: the clinical studies have proven that coenzyme Q10 has many benefits for our health. We will explain all you need to know about coenzyme Q10 in this article.
What is the Coenzyme Q10?
It is an element that is produced by our body and it is stored in the cell mitochondria.  The mitochondria is in charge of producing energy for the body. Moreover, they also protect the cells against the oxidative damage, bacteria and pathogen viruses. 
Coenzyme Q10 is an essential nutrient that has an antioxidant effect in the body. Its active form is called ubiquinone or ubiquinol.
This coenzyme is naturally produced by the body and it is used to perform important functions like: supplying cell energy, transporting electrons and regulating the blood pressure. (1) The reason why it is not a “vitamin” is because all animals, including humans, produce little amounts of it.
The production of coenzyme Q10 drops with age, which is why the elderly tend to suffer a deficiency of this element.
Other factors that can trigger a coenzyme Q10 deficiency are: 
- Malnourishment and a vitamin B6 deficiency
- Genetic defects in the synthesis or utilization of coenzyme Q10
- Higher need of Coenzyme Q10 for the tissues due to certain diseases
- Mitochondrial diseases
- Oxidative stress due to aging
- Side effects of statin treatments
Effects and benefits of Coenzyme Q10
The research has proven that coenzyme Q10 performs several essential tasks in the body. One of its main functions consists of supplying energy to the cells. In addition, it is involved in the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) which is also involved in the energy transfer between cells.
It also plays an important role as an antioxidant and protects the cells against oxidative damage.  An excess of free radicals cause oxidative damage that can hinder a normal cell function and trigger many health problems. 
Some chronic diseases are related to low coenzyme Q10 levels. This is due to the fact that ATP is necessary to perform all the bodily functions and prevent oxidative damage.
Coenzyme Q10 helps to treat a heart failure
Heart failure happens when the heart can contract itself, relax or pump blood regularly. Unfortunately, some treatments for a heart insufficiency have harmful side effects, like triggering a hypotension; while others drop the coenzyme Q10 levels even further.
A coenzyme Q10 treatment can improve the health, relieve the symptoms and reduce the risk of dying due to heart problems. This was proven in a study carried out on 420 patients with heart insufficiency. 
In another study carried out on 641 people, the participants were given with coenzyme Q10 or a placebo for an whole year. At the end of the study, the patients from the coenzyme Q10 group had a lower chance of being taken to the hospital due to a heart failure. Moreover, they also had less serious complications.  A coenzyme Q10 treatment contributes to producing energy, reducing the oxidative damage and improving the functioning of the heart. All these factors contribute to treating this heart problem.
Conclusion: the coenzyme Q10 improves the functioning of the heart, increases the production of ATP and reduces the oxidative damage.
Coenzyme Q10 stimulates the fertility
On the other hand, the spermatozoa are susceptible to oxidative damage as well. It lowers the amount of spermatozoa, their quality and causes infertility.  
Several clinical studies have proven that coenzyme Q10 supplementation improves the quality, activity and concentration of spermatozoa. This is due to the fact that it enhances the antioxidant protection. 
Conclusion: The antioxidant properties of coenzyme Q10 help to improve the quality of the spermatozoa, as well as the quality and number of ovules in women.
Coenzyme Q10 helps to keep a young-looking skin
The skin is the largest organ of our body and it is exposed to many harmful factors that play a role in the aging process. They can be either internal or external. The former involves cell damage and hormone imbalances. The latter include environmental factors such as the UV rays. 
The harmful factors reduce the moisture on the skin and reduce the skin layers.  Applying coenzyme Q10 directly on the skin reduces the damage caused by both internal and external factors. Moreover, it increases the production of cell energy and stimulates the antioxidant protection. 
It has been proven that using coenzyme Q10 on the skin reduces the oxidative damage produced by the UV rays. In addition, it also reduces the depth of the wrinkles.  Those who have low coenzyme Q10 are more prone to develop skin cancer. 
Coenzyme Q10 helps to treat headaches
Defects in the mitochondrial function can increase the calcium absorption by the cells, an excessive production of free radicals and less antioxidant protection. Consequently, the brain cells lack energy and we experience migraines. 
We have already mentioned that coenzyme Q10 is an essential part of the cell mitochondria. In fact, it has been proven that when the mitochondrial function is better there are less chances of suffering inflammation or migraines. 
A clinical study proved that coenzyme Q10 supplements reduce migraines three times more when compared to the placebo group.  Moreover, it has been proven that those who suffer migraine tend to have a coenzyme Q10 deficiency.
A wider study with 1,150 people with low coenzyme Q10 levels had less severe headaches after a coenzyme Q10 treatment.  Coenzyme Q10 contributes to preventing migraines as well as helping to treat them. 
Conclusion: Coenzyme Q10 supplementation helps to prevent and treat migraines. This is due to the fact that it enhances the mitochondrial function and relieves the inflammation.
Coenzyme Q10 enhances the performance during physical exercise
The oxidative stress affects the functioning of the muscles and, consequently, the physical performance.  Similarly, an abnormal mitochondrial function also reduces the muscle energy, hindering the muscle contraction and a satisfactory physical training.  
A clinical study examined the effects of coenzyme Q10 during physical activity. Those who were given 1,200mg of coenzyme Q10 daily for 60 days reduced the oxidative stress levels. Moreover, coenzyme Q10 supplementation also increases the strength during physical exercise and reduces the fatigue. Therefore, it improves the physical performance during the workout.   
Conclusion: The physical performance can be hindered by oxidative stress and mitochondrial dysfunction. Coenzyme Q10 can help us reduce the oxidative damage, reducing the fatigue and improving the performance.
Coenzyme Q10 helps to treat diabetes
The oxidative stress causes cell damage that can trigger metabolic diseases such as diabetes. An abnormal mitochondrial function is also related to insulin resistance.  It has been proven that coenzyme Q10 improves the insulin sensitivity and regulates the blood sugar levels. 
In a clinical study, people with type 2 diabetes were given coenzyme Q10 for 12 weeks. The result was that the blood sugar and the HbA1 hemoglobin levels considerably dropped, which is the average blood sugar in the last two or three months. 
Conclusion: Coenzyme Q10 supplementation helps to increase the insulin sensitivity and improves the blood sugar levels.
Coenzyme Q10 plays an important role in preventing cancer
Oxidative stress causes cell damage and affects its functioning. The cell structure can be damage when the body cannot fight against oxidative damage. This increases the risk of suffering cancer.
Low coenzyme Q10 levels are related to a higher risk of suffering cancer up to a 53.3%. Moreover, it is a bad sign for several types of cancer. There are studies that suggest that taking coenzyme Q10 supplementation can prevent cancer from reproducing again.
Conclusion: Coenzyme Q10 plays a crucial role in protecting the cell DNA and its survival. Both are closely connected to cancer prevention.
Coenzyme Q10 is good for the brain
The mitochondria is the main energy generator for the brain cells. But its activity drops as we grow old. A mitochondrial dysfunction can trigger the death of brain cells and diseases such as Alzheimer and Parkinson.
Unfortunately, the brain is quite sensitive to oxidative damage due to its high fatty acid content and oxygen requirements. This oxidative damage can produce harmful compounds that hinder our memory, perception and bodily functions.
Coenzyme Q10 reduces the harmful compounds and slows down the development of Alzheimer and Parkinson.
Coenzyme Q10 protects the lungs
The lungs are the organs that are more in contact with oxygen. Due to this, they are susceptible to suffer oxidative damage. This can trigger lung diseases due to an increase of oxidative damage and a lack of antioxidant protection, including low coenzyme Q10 levels. Therefore, it can cause asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Moreover, it has also been proven that those who suffer these diseases have low coenzyme Q10 levels. A clinical study showed how using coenzyme Q10 supplements reduced the inflammation caused by asthma, as well as the use of steroids.
Another study showed improvements in the physical performance of COPD patients. They experienced a better tissue oxygenation and heart rate after taking coenzyme Q10 supplements.
Conclusion: Coenzyme Q10 reduces the oxidative damage and inflammation triggered by a pulmonary disease.
Dose and Side Effects
Coenzyme Q10 is available in two different forms: ubiquinol and ubiquinone.
Ubiquinol makes up a 90% of the coenzyme Q10 in the blood and it is the most bioavailable form. That is why it is advisable to choose food supplements that contain ubiquinol.
Coenzyme Q10 is a fat soluble element, which is why its absorption is slow and limited. However, the body will be able to absorb it three times faster if we take coenzyme Q10 supplements with food.
Moreover, some products combine coenzyme Q10 and oils to improve the absorbability. The body does not store coenzyme Q10, which is why it is advisable to make a constant intake to obtain all its benefits.
Coenzyme Q10 supplementation is well tolerated and it has a low toxicity. In fact, the participants of some clinical studies did not experience any serious side effect when taking 1200mg daily for 16 months.
However, if you experience any side effect, distribute the daily dose in two or three smaller servings.
Conclusion: Due to the fact that coenzyme Q10 is fat soluble, we suggest combining it with oil foods or products to improve its absorbability. Coenzyme Q10 supplementation is quite well tolerated and it has a low toxicity.
Benefits of Coenzyme Q10
Coenzyme Q10 is an essential element for many bodily functions and it is indispensable for each cell. Due to its antioxidant properties, it has been used in medicine for decades, especially to treat heart problems.
Many people use Coenzyme Q10 supplements to treat health problems such as heart arrhythmia, high blood pressure, coronary diseases, atherosclerosis and heart failure.
The latest research has shown that coenzyme Q10 dietary supplements are also beneficial for other disorders. For example, breast cancer, diabetes, viruses and infertility, as well as to avoid complications and to treat the symptoms.
Find out more about the foods rich in coenzyme Q10 to obtain all their benefits.
Effects of coenzyme Q10
- Obtaining the necessary energy to perform different bodily functions. The mitochondria from our cells absorb the fat and other nutrients to transform them into energy. Coenzyme Q10 is necessary to carry out this process.
- Supporting a proper digestive process, like other coenzymes.
- Producing cell energy as well as protecting the cells against the oxidative damage caused by the harmful free radicals.
- Countering the damage of the free radicals thanks to its ability to bind and release electrons. This is due to the fact that coenzyme Q10 can exist in three different oxidation states.
- Improving the absorption of other essential nutrients while producing a powerful antioxidant effect. It has been proven that it can help to recycle vitamins C and E, enhancing the effects of vitamins and antioxidants.
Even though the body can produce coenzyme Q10, this ability deteriorates with age, especially when we need more protection for our cells. That is why we need to take advantage of the benefits of coenzyme Q10, either through the diet or quality food supplements.
Who should take Coenzyme Q10?
According to the clinical research, the natural synthesis of coenzyme Q10 and food should be enough to prevent its deficiency in healthy people. However, as we have seen before, the body produces less and less coenzyme Q10 with age.
The natural capacity of our body to transform coenzyme Q10 in ubiquinol, which is its active form, gets worse as we age. This deterioration affects more to people who are older than 40, especially if they are taking statins. It has been also discovered that those who suffer diabetes, cancer and heart failure have lower levels of coenzyme Q10 in the plasma.
Due to this, coenzyme Q10 is advised mainly for people with heart problems.
Some of these problems are:
- First heart attack or coronary disease
- High cholesterol level (especially when taking statins)
- High blood pressure
- Angina pectoris
- Mitral valve problems
Coenzyme Q10 also as the following benefits apart from keeping the cardiovascular system healthy:
- Helping to relieve the fatigue and increases the physical resistance
- Protecting against the free radicals and the typical signs of aging, including macular degeneration and skin injuries
- Restoring the antioxidant power, including vitamins E and C
- Stabilizing the blood sugar
- Keeping the gums healthy
- Reducing the muscle dystrophy
- Providing support for cognitive disorders, including Parkinson and Alzheimer
- Improving the state of patients with inherited mitochondrial diseases
- Supporting the treatment of other diseases like cancer, hormone imbalances, diabetes, viruses and infections
Benefits of Coenzyme Q10
It provides energy naturally
Coenzyme Q10 plays a role in the “synthesis of mitochondrial ATP”. This process consists of transforming foods (carbs and fats) into useful energy for the cells, called adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Coenzyme Q10 is necessary for this process and it contributes to preserving the muscle mass, regulating the appetite and our weight.
It reduces the damage of the free radicals
The oxidative damage (caused by the free radicals) affects the cell structures and accelerates the aging process and the onset of diseases.
When LDL oxidizes, the coenzyme Q10 is one of the first antioxidants that starts to counteract the consequences. It protects the proteins and DNA against the oxidative damage caused by the lipid peroxidation. Moreover, it neutralizes the free radicals directly, since they are responsible for triggering age-related diseases (heart problems, cancer, diabetes, etc.).
It improves the heart health and balances the effects of statins
Coenzyme Q10 has a great potential when it comes to preventing and treating heart diseases. This is due to the fact that it improves the cell bioenergy by neutralizing the free radicals. However, the experts believe that we need more controlled clinical essays to check its effectiveness.
A report published in 2015 by Bioscience, it was stated that “a coenzyme Q10 deficiency can cause autosomal recessive mutations and mitochondrial disease, age-related oxidative stress and carcinogenesis, as well as side effects in statin treatments.
In general, there can be an interaction between coenzyme Q10 and lipid lowering medicines that inhibit the activity of HMG-CoA reductase, cholesterol and the coenzyme Q10 biosynthesis.
Coenzyme Q10 supplementation regulates the natural level of this enzyme and counters the effects of statins.
Reduces the aging process
The ATP mitochondrial synthesis is a very important function in order to keep an active metabolism, muscle strength, strong bones, a healthy skin and tissues.
The coenzyme Q10 levels drops with age. This slows down the energy metabolism and degenerates some organs such as the liver, the heart and the skeletal muscle.
It has not been proven that coenzyme Q10 supplementation can prolong life. Nevertheless, the researchers do believe that it delays DNA damage.
It is necessary to perform more studies in order to reach definitive conclusions. But it is believed that coenzyme Q10 has many benefits against aging, like preserving our muscles, improving the skin and protecting the bones against injuries.
Helps to keep optimal pH levels
Coenzyme Q10 helps to transport proteins to the cells through the membranes. Moreover, it releases digestive enzymes that help to regulate and optimal pH in the body.
It is believed that certain diseases develop more easily with inadequate pH levels or too acid environments.
Several clinical studies have proven that coenzyme Q10 can help to improve the immune function. It can even lower the risk of suffering cancer due to several factors, including our ability to keep a proper pH level.
Around the 60s, researchers started to test the effect of coenzyme Q10 on the immune function. They reached the conclusion that those who suffer certain types of cancer have lower levels of this coenzyme: myeloma, lymphoma, breast, lung, prostate, pancreas and colon cancer, for example.
Protects the cognitive health
Those who suffer cognitive deterioration, like Parkinson’s diseases, experience an increase of oxidative damage. This takes places in the brain black matter which only worsens the symptoms of this disease.
It has been proven that people with cognitive disorders tend to have lower Coenzyme Q10 blood levels.
Several studies have delved into the effects of coenzyme Q10 in those who suffer Parkinson’s disease. There was a random placebo controlled study conducted on 80 people with Parkinson in its early stages. This study proved the efficacy of 300, 600 or 1,200 milligrams of coenzyme Q10 supplements daily. It helped to delay the deterioration of the cognitive functions.
Other studies have proven that taking around 360 milligrams of Q10 daily for four weeks helps Parkinson patients moderately.
The role of Coenzyme Q10 in the Oxidation and Inflammation
Coenzyme Q10 is a key component in the mitochondrial respiratory chain. It is also present in other cells and plasma lipoproteins, where it produces an important antioxidant effect
Effects of Exercise
Regular and non-exhaustive physical exercise has many benefits for our health. For example, it reduces the risk of suffering cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and a lower mortality risk in general.
However, a very intense exercise can trigger other harmful effects, such as structural damage to the muscle cells which produces muscle soreness and swelling.
Exercise, Oxidation and Inflammation
Intense muscle damage related to exercise has been associated with a high degree of oxidative aggression and an increase of pro-inflammatory mediators (which trigger the inflammation). Therefore, part of this damage can be prevented by improving our diet, particularly by increasing the antioxidant supply.
An increase in the free radical production is related to extenuating exercise. It can be due to many factors, such as an increase in body temperature or an increase of oxygen use by the whole body.
This also increases the tissue inflammation, especially on the muscle tissue
Role of Coenzyme Q10 in the Oxidation and Inflammation
Coenzyme Q10, a component of the mitochondrial electron transport, is essential to produce ATP. Particularly in those cells that have high energy demands, such as muscle cells during high intensity exercise. Coenzyme Q10 transports the redox electron (oxidation-reduction) in the mitochondria.
This mitochondrial component has been used as a dietary supplement due to its ability to trap the free radicals and its antioxidant effect.
Coenzyme Q10 also inhibits the expression of different free radical sources
The information from the research states that there is a direct connect between the physical performance and the coenzyme Q10 levels.
Taking antioxidants will reduce the damage to the muscle. Therefore, they will be beneficial for those athletes who do high intensity exercise. That is why Coenzyme is a perfect choice due to its renowned antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.
Moreover, regarding the antioxidant system behavior, the enzyme that eliminates the hydrogen peroxide (an oxidative component) increases its activity when we take coenzyme Q10. This means that the antioxidant capacity increases by taking coenzyme Q10 supplementation.
Effects of Fatigue and How to Counter it
The fatigue could be define as the difficulty to start any activity voluntarily, it can be either mental or physical fatigue.
There are several effects caused by fatigue such as:
- Glycogen expenditure (long exercises) as well as phosphocreatine (in short activities), which are energy sources.
- A dysfunction in the sarcoplasmic reticulum calcium pump of the skeletal muscle, which is related to muscle contraction.
- Neuromuscular transmission failure.
Physical exercise stimulates the production of free radicals and other oxygen reactive species in the muscle. Oxygen reactive species are responsible for the protein oxidation caused by physical exercise which results in physical fatigue.
Antioxidant dietary supplements can help against fatigue
It has also been proven that ubiquinol supplements (reduced coenzyme Q10) can counter the expenditure of coenzyme Q10 caused by exercise. That is why it is considered and efficient method to improve the coenzyme Q10 levels in active people.
- The oral intake of coenzyme Q10 improves the feeling of subjective fatigue.
- Coenzyme Q10 can also act as an antioxidant in high intensity activities.
- It has been proven that it protects against an excessive expenditure of the mitochondrial membrane phospholipids during long exercises. This can trigger a failure of the mitochondrial function as well as reducing the ATP production.
- A coenzyme Q10 treatment improves the recovery of muscle phosphocreatine after short physical activities.
- The coenzyme Q10 levels drop after high intensity exercise.
Do antioxidants shorten the post-workout recovery?
Coenzyme Q10 dietary supplements
The food we eat have very low amounts of coenzyme Q10. In fact, even if we follow a healthy diet, we will not be able to meet the recommended daily dose.
The best way of providing coenzyme Q10 to our body is by taking a high quality dietary supplement in capsules (better absorption in the bloodstream).
Coenzyme Q10 dose in dietary supplements:
- The daily recommended dose moves between 30 and 1,000 milligrams daily according to a survey by ConsumerLab.com conducted with more than 50 coenzyme Q10 products.
- Most of the experts advise taking 200 milligrams daily for adults at least.
- Those who take statins or who have a higher body weight should take a higher dose.
Side effects of Coenzyme Q10
Coenzyme Q10 tends to be quite safe and it has been used in medicine for many years. However, it can cause the following side effects:
- Mild insomnia, hepatic enzyme increase, skin rash, nausea, abdominal pain, photosensitivity, irritability, headaches, heartburn and fatigue.
- Interaction with statins: coenzyme Q10 supplements can hinder the anticoagulant effect of statins, such as warfarin and other common medicines to lower the cholesterol (known as HMG-CoA reductase). You should consult your doctor before taking coenzyme Q10 supplements if you are taking this type of medicines.
- In some cases, coenzyme Q10 supplementation can help lower the sugar levels. Diabetic people who take medicines to control their blood sugar should take coenzyme Q10 as well.
- Always read the instructions, start with a low dose and increase it regularly. You can reduce the side effects by distributing the daily dose in several servings, around 100 milligrams
- Consult your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding to make sure that the supplements you are using are safe.
Coenzyme Q10 Ubiquinol relieves the symptoms of autism
Children with autism spectrum experience an improvement when taking coenzyme Q10.
Coenzyme Q10 relieves the symptoms of fibromyalgia in adolescents
These people tend to have lower coenzyme Q10 levels on average. Ubiquinol supplementation relieves the pain, improves the cholesterol metabolism and reduces the fatigue.
Coenzyme Q10 and the side effects of statins
Statins are medicines that help to lower the cholesterol. Those who suffer muscle soreness, muscle loss and worse physical performance due to the statins, can improve these symptoms by taking coenzyme Q10 daily.
Statins can trigger rhabdomyolysis (cell death), which releases the rhabdomyosarcoma cells in the bloodstream and breaks down other tissues. The rhabdomyosarcoma human cells are treated with simvastatin and coenzyme, which prevent the cell death and destroy the sarcoma cells.
In a clinical study with mice, it was proven that those who took simvastatin had a lower level of coenzyme Q10. This reduced the spontaneous heartbeats and triggered a lower sensitivity to electric stimulation.
A combination of simvastatin and coenzyme Q10 helped to combat the negative effects on the mice heart. Daily exercise and ubiquinol supplementation increased the high density lipoproteins, reducing the problems connected to heart diseases.
Coenzyme Q10 reduces the surgical complications
Taking high doses of coenzyme Q10 before and after a heart surgery helps to prevent complications during the intervention.
The patients who took high coenzyme Q10 levels after surgery had less inflammation, spent less time at the hospital and reduced the chances of suffering future infections.
The antioxidant effect of Coenzyme Q10
When we use ubiquinol topically, it renews the coenzyme Q10 level both on the surface and on the deepest layers of the epidermis. Topical ubiquinol increases the cell metabolism and supports the healing of damaged keratinocytes.
Coenzyme Q10 reduces the amount of free radicals on the skin and increases the amount of antioxidants.
Smokers are less capable of producing coenzyme Q10, which increases the amount of free radicals and the damage to the pulmonary tissue. Ubiquinol supplementation counters the breakdown of coenzyme Q10 and reduces the risk of suffering lung damage due to a lack of this coenzyme.
Clinical studies conducted on laboratory mice have proven that a coenzyme Q10 treatment lowers the the hepatocytes death. Moreover, it increases the levels of albumin, proteins and lipids in the liver. Coenzyme Q10 also restores the antioxidant levels in the liver and it counters the oxidative damage.
Taking ubiquinol produces an antioxidant effect on the heart of healthy human beings.
The NT-proBNP levels are markers to measure how severe the disease is in those who suffer heart failure. The daily intake of ubiquinol reduces the NT-proBNP levels completely. Moreovoer, it relieves the symptoms of a heart disease and the chances of suffering heart failure.
Children who suffer H1N1 and seasonal flu can increase their antioxidant capacity by taking ubiquinol. This is due to the fact that it reduces the oxidative stress that triggers the infection. This does not affect other medicines that can be taken simultaneously to combat the infection.
Medicines to lower the cholesterol
The cholesterol is a substance that is produced by our own body and it is used for several essential functions. Some of them are producing cell membranes and hormones, to name a few.
Most of the cholesterol that we need is produced by the liver itself. The rest is present in the foods that we eat. Cholesterol is essential for human life.
However, too much cholesterol in the blood can increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases and strokes. This is a problem that affects most of the population.
Some are capable of lowering their cholesterol just by changing what they eat and doing more exercise. However, there are millions of people who need the support of medicines.
There are several medicines to treat a high LDL cholesterol. Some of them are bile acid sequestrant, niacin and a type of injections called PCSK9 inhibitors.
Most of the people who need to lower their cholesterol take statins sold by brands like Lipitor, Crestor or Zocor.
Statins are quite popular because they are relatively cheap and very effective when it comes to lowering bad cholesterol.
Statins and Coenzyme Q10
The statins that help to reduce the cholesterol also inhibit the production of Coenzyme Q10. Consequently, the ubiquinol level in the blood drops.
Many people ignore the fact that they inhibit the production of Coenzyme Q101-4 in order to lower the cholesterol. This especially affects those who take a high dose or if they take it for a long period of time. Therefore, the result is a lower amount of coenzyme in the body.
We also have to mention that ubiquinol can protect against the LDL cholesterol oxidation. However, those who have lower levels of Coenzyme Q10 because they are taking statins are more prone to the oxidation. Oxidized cholesterol is a risk factor that can trigger many cardiovascular problems.
Why do statins lead to a coenzyme Q10 deficiency?
Statins are medicines that lower the bad cholesterol. Then, why does this medicine affect coenzyme Q10?
Acetoacetyl-CoA becomes an organic compound called mevalonate by using an enzyme called HMG-CoA reductase. Mevalonate can be used to synthesize either cholesterol or coenzyme Q10.
Statins inhibit the effect of HMG-CoA reductase, reducing the amount of mevalonate available for cholesterol biosynthesis. Unfortunately, this means that there is also less mevalonate available to produce coenzyme Q10 in the body.
The studies have proven that statins considerably reduce the amount of Coenzyme Q10 in the blood, even if someone has only been taken a standard dose for three months.
What should those who take statins do?
Solving this issue is quite simple.
It is very difficult to provide the body with the amount of coenzyme Q10 that it needs only through the diet. That is why it is advisable to take Coenzyme Q10 dietary supplements. Either way, you should consult your doctor before taking any vitamin or supplement if you are taking medicines already.
Conventional coenzyme Q10 is a good option for most of the young population because their bodies can still transform it into ubiquinol. With age, this process becomes more and more difficult.
Coenzyme Q10 is a powerful antioxidant that not only neutralizes the harmful free radicals. Moreover, it also has the ability to regenerate other antioxidants, such as vitamin C and E.
Ubiquinol vs. Coenzyme Q10: the different forms of coenzyme Q10
Millions of people use coenzyme Q10 supplements to keep their heart healthy. Many are surprised to know that coenzyme Q10 exists in two different forms.
Conventional coenzyme Q10, technically known as ubiquinone, is the oxidized version of this nutrient. A great part comes from the food we eat, but most of it is supplied by the body itself.
More than a 90% of the total coenzyme Q10 in the blood of a healthy young adult is ubiquinol.
- Ubiquinone can be transformed into its most advanced form by the body. It is called ubiquinol and it is the form that provides all the benefits for our body.
- As we grow old or due to certain diseases, it becomes harder to transform coenzyme Q10 into ubiquinol.
Transforming coenzyme Q10 into ubiquinol
Coenzyme Q10 is made up by two elements: hydrogen molecules and extra electrons. They make the difference when it comes to transporting this nutrients and its absorbability.
These two elements also affect the antioxidant activity and they play a crucial role in the cell energy production. Our bodies need to transform coenzyme Q10 into ubiquinol before using it to produce energy.
However, as we grow old, it becomes harder to transform conventional coenzyme Q10 into ubiquinol.
Imagine that you are a healthy 18 years old that has to push several heavy balls in a slope. You would have no problem in taking each ball up to the top and come back for another one. Now, imagine that you have to do the same thing, but you are 65. Even you are wiser and more mature, you will have a bad time doing the same thing. It will become harder and harder to push the ball and it will also take you more time to recover.
Our body goes through the extract same process when we try to transform ubiquinone into ubiquinol.
Why do we have to transform coenzyme Q10 into ubiquinol?
The most important organs and muscles of our body, for example the brain and the heart, need a lot of cell energy to function properly. If we want to get more energy, we will need ubiquinol.
When we become 30 years old approximately, it is harder to transform coenzyme Q10 in its advanced form. This directly affects the cell energy of our body.
In small areas of cell energy, called mitochondria, the coenzyme Q10 uses two electrons to transform food in fuel (called ATP) that our body needs.
Young and healthy people have no issues when they have to carry out this process. However, when we reach the age of 30, the body has more problems in order to perform it. This affects the amount of cell energy that is available for our organs.
Coenzyme Q10: another important difference
Up until now, we have seen how ubiquinol is the form that plays an essential role in the production of cell energy. This type of energy is used by the most important organs, such as the heart and the brain.
We have also discussed how it is harder to transform ubiquinone into ubiquinol from the age of 30 onward. This is an aspect that affects the cell energy from our body.
But there is something else that makes Coenzyme Q10 so special. Unlike coenzyme Q10, ubiquinol is a powerful antioxidant due to the two additional electrons that it possesses. These two elements are essential because they are the key to neutralize the so called free radicals.
The free radicals are harmful because they are constantly fighting to steal electrons from the DNA, proteins and lipids. Removing an electron will oxidize the molecule (oxidative stress) and it can cause damage that will affect our health.
The mitochondria eliminate the free radicals. Moreovoer, ubiquinol is the form of Coenzyme Q10 that can protect the mitochondria and their lipid membranes against the attack of the free radicals.
Final conclusion about Coenzyme Q10
To sum up, Coenzyme Q10 is a fat soluble substance, similar to a vitamin and it has many benefits for our health. It is involved in the production of cell energy and it produces an antioxidant effect. Thanks to these properties, it keeps the cells in a good state and it can be used to prevent and treat some chronic diseases.
It has been proven that coenzyme Q10 improves the heart health and the blood sugar levels. Moreover, it helps to prevent and treat cancer and it reduces the onset of migraines. In addition, it also reduces the oxidative damage that triggers muscle fatigue, as well as the onset of brain and pulmonary diseases. On top of that, it contributes to keeping the skin healthy and young-looking.
Coenzyme Q10 is available as a dietary supplement and it tends to be well tolerated. It is also present in some foods, such as poultry, fish, animal organs, vegetables and legumes.
With age, the production of coenzyme Q10 drops, which is why it is advisable to use more of the aforementioned foods or supplements. Coenzyme Q10 improves our health in different ways:
- Coenzyme Q10, also known as CoQ10 or ubiquinone, is a natural substance that helps to fight against oxidative stress and it prevents the damage to the tissues.
- Some of its benefits are: slowing down the effects of aging, protecting the cognitive health, improving the metabolic functions and the heart health.
- This coenzyme is produced by the body itself and it is also present, although in small amounts, in certain foods: meat, fish, walnuts, seeds, vegetables and eggs. However, our ability to produce and use it deteriorates with age.
- Supplementation can provide between 30 and 1,000 milligrams of coenzyme Q10 daily. However, some doctors recommend taking between 200 and 300 milligrams daily (distributed in several servings).
- This element (CoQ10) is present in most of the cells from animals, mainly in the mitochondria. Ubiquinol is a coenzyme Q10 form.
- Both Coenzyme Q10 and ubiquinol are key elements in the electron transport chain and the contribute to producing ATP in redox reactions. Ubiquinol, reduced and absorbable by the body, is available in nutritional supplements for those who suffer a coenzyme Q10 deficiency.
Studies and References:
- Garrido-Maraver J. Clinical applications of coenzyme Q10. Front Biosci (Landmark Ed). 2014 1 Jan; 19: 619-33.
- Garrido-Maraver J. Coenzyme q10 therapy. Mol Syndromol 2014 Jul; 5 (3-4): 187-97.
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