COENZYME Q10 FACTS
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a vitamin-like compound present in all cells. It occurs naturally in the body and it is found in highest amounts in the mitochondria, the part of the cell where energy is created. CoQ10 levels are highest in the hardest-working tissues of the body, especially in the heart. CoQ10 is an antioxidant, and as such it protects the cells from the damage caused by free radicals in the body. Free radicals are formed during the normal process of generating energy, but as we get older, the body starts producing too many of them. This can be damaging if our bodies are not producing enough CoQ10 and other antioxidants to control them.
As we get older, the amount of CoQ10 that the body produces decreases. Levels of CoQ10 are especially low in people who suffer from heart disease, and low levels of this compound means that the heart does not have the energy that it needs to keep it running normally.
CoQ10 is found in beef muscle and heart, chicken, pork, fish and eggs, and in smaller amounts in spinach, broccoli, grains, beans, nuts and corn, and sesame and soybean oils. Wheat germ and rice bran are also sources. It is also available as a supplement in various forms.
CoQ10 has very low toxicity levels and no serious side-effects have been reported in patients taking it. If you are on CoQ10 for congestive heart failure you should not stop taking it suddenly, as abrupt withdrawals can make the symptoms of the heart failure worse. Certain drugs, such as those used to lower cholesterol or blood sugar levels, can also reduce the effects of CoQ10. It can change the way that the body responds to warfarin (a blood-thinning medication) and insulin, so it’s a good idea to get advice from your doctor before you begin taking it.
If you've ever taken CoQ10 as a supplement, you may have noticed that different names are used: some labels have ubiquinone, others ubiquinol. Many simply say coenzyme Q10, which can make things even more confusing. Coenzyme Q10 is a general term that encompasses both ubiquinone and ubiquinol. Ubiquinone is the oxidised form of CoQ10 and the more common form in which the compound is commercially available. Ubiquinol, the reduced form of CoQ10, is relatively new and more expensive to produce. This form of CoQ10 is the antioxidant form which neutralises free radicals and decreases cellular damage. Ubiquinone does not have this antioxidant effect. Ubiquinol is up to eight times as effective as ubiquinone in increasing blood levels of CoQ10 ubiquinol. Compare the prices between ubiquinone and ubiquinol to see which is more cost-effective.
Editor's note: Here is an article on Infertility and Sugar and also this one for further reading: Spotlight on Fertility