Antioxidants and other supplements like CoQ10 have been getting significant press in recent years. Despite all of the positive feedback and studies surrounding CoQ10, many people still do not understand what CoQ10 is, what it does in the body, or the best form in which to take CoQ10 supplements.
What is CoQ10? CoQ10 stands for “Coenzyme Q10.” It is a substance that occurs naturally in the human body and that of plants and animals. A fat-soluble enzyme, CoQ10 is vital to every cell in your body, helping your body produce the energy required to grow, protect, and maintain cells from your brain to your heart and everything in between.
CoQ10 is also an antioxidant, which helps protect vital cells in your body from free radicals. In your body, damage from environmental factors such as radiation and even natural body processes such as immune system reactions can cause the oxidation of healthy cells. This oxidation in turn produces free radicals, harmful molecules that can lead to damage and even death to cells, including DNA mutation. Studies suggest that free radicals may play a part in heart disease, cancer, and even aging.
Antioxidants like CoQ10 help protect your body from damage by free radicals by preventing cell oxidation. CoQ10 is a lipid-soluble enzyme, meaning it is stored in fat cells in the body. It protects against lipid oxidation in the cell membranes that hold cells together and allow nutrients to pass in and out of cells. Like other coenzymes, CoQ10 helps other enzymes in the body protect cardiac and skeletal muscles as well.
In addition to protecting cells, CoQ10 is critical for energy production in the body. It helps digest food, providing cells with energy and replenishing other naturally occurring vitamins such as vitamin C. CoQ10 levels are particularly high in the heart, which demands high amounts of energy to perform, though it is present in every cell in the body.
While CoQ10 is produced by healthy bodies, your body’s ability to produce and convert it decreases after age 30 and with the use of certain prescription drugs. Patients with heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and certain neurological and autoimmune conditions have also been found to have startling low levels of CoQ10.
Studies suggest that CoQ10 when taken as a supplement, may assist in the treatment of multiple illnesses and in helping to counteract the negative side effects of certain drugs. Used in conjunction with conventional treatments, CoQ10 may help decrease the risk of heart attacks in patients with heart disease. As heart disease patients often have low CoQ10 levels, adding a CoQ10 supplement may help protect the heart from further free radical damage and assist in lowering blood pressure.
Further studies suggest that CoQ10 may help cancer patients. Evidence suggests that CoQ10 may bolster the immune system and can help protect the body from excessive free radical damage to the heart caused by radiation treatment. It may also decrease the side-effects of statins, cholesterol-lowing drugs, such as muscle pain and weakness. CoQ10 has also been shown to help decrease the insulin requirements of diabetes sufferers.
While antioxidant supplements come in multiple forms, Coenzyme Q10 is most powerful in the form of ubiquinol. In the body, CoQ10 is produced in an inactive form that is then converted to ubiquinol. Ubiquinol is a powerful antioxidant that also plays a key role in energy synthesis in cells. 90% of the body’s energy synthesis is reliant on this amazing chemical. Ubiquinol can help provide energy support, protection for the body’s vital organs, combat signs of aging, counteract the side effects of statins, and support heart health.