COENZYME Q10 AND ENERGY PRODUCTION
Every day the 100 trillion or so cells in your body work hard to multiply themselves, digest nutrients and remove wastes, as well as ensure that you wake up, get to work, make it through your day and get back into bed each night. To successfully perform all of these tasks, your cells have to have an adequate supply of energy in the form of ATP. This requires a sophisticated production system that relies on Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10). Without sufficient amounts of CoQ10 in your body, your cells cannot produce ATP efficiently and serious disease or even death can result.
ROLE OF COQ10 IN ATP PRODUCTION
In order to understand how CoQ10 helps produce energy you first need to know a little about a part of cells called mitochondria. Imagine that inside each of your cells are tiny power companies called mitochondria that produce 95% of the total energy found in your body. However, instead of burning coal or using water to produce electricity, mitochondria take the carbohydrates found in the food you eat and turn them into adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the fuel on which your body runs. This is where CoQ10 comes in to play.
CoQ10 is an important part of the inner membranes of the mitochondria where the actual production of ATP occurs.1 Here electrons negatively charged particles in atoms) are passed around in what is known as the electron transport chain. CoQ10′s job is to collect and transfer these electrons along the chain, which helps power the production of ATP.2
After that, whenever the cell needs energy it can break the chemical bonds that hold together the ATP molecule and release the energy equivalent of about 7,000 calories – more than twice the amount the average person consumes in an entire day. However, the body only keeps enough ATP on hand to sustain vigorous activity (like running) for 5 to 8 minutes. As a result, ATP is constantly being produced by the mitochondria, which requires a ready supply of CoQ10. This is why so much CoQ10 is found in the muscles, brain, heart, kidney and liver – because they are the body’s biggest energy consumers.3 These organs are constantly working hard, creating a huge demand for energy and consequently, vast amounts of CoQ10 to create it.
LARGE QUANTITIES OF ATP ARE NEEDED TO POWER VITAL PROCESSES LIKE:
•Sending Nerve Impulses
LACK OF CELLULAR ENERGY LEADS TO DISEASE
Because CoQ10 is so essential for the proper functioning of every cell in the body, it’s not surprising that researchers have found that a CoQ10 deficiency and the resulting cellular energy shortage can lead to reduced cell function and a wide range of potentially fatal illnesses. According to Dr. Karl Folkers, a 25% deficiency in the body’s CoQ10 levels is enough to cause illness, while a deficiency of 75% of more can lead to death.4 A few of the diseases in which low levels of CoQ10 have been found to play a role include5-12:
•Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Because of this correlation, researchers are starting to use CoQ10 supplements to boost cellular energy production and effectively treat many of these diseases.13-19
1. Linus Pauling Institute. Coenzyme Q10. http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocenter/other nuts/coq10/
2. Crane FL. Biochemical functions of coenzyme Q10. J Am Coll Nutr. 2001;20(6):591-598.
3. Tran MT, Mitchell TM, Kennedy DT, Giles JT. Role of coenzyme Q10 in chronic heart failure, angina, and hypertension. Pharmacotherapy. 2001;21:797-806.
4. Bliznakov EG. The Miracle Nutrient. New York, NY: Bantam Books, 1986.
5. Langsjoen PH. Introduction to Coenzyme Q10 (Research Report). Tyler, TX, 1994.
6. Folkers K, Osterborg A, Nylander M, Morita M, Mellstedt H. Activities of vitamin Q10 in animal models and a serious deficiency in
patients with ca Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 1997;234(2):296-299.
7. McDonnell MG, Archbold GP. Plasma ubiquinol/cholesterol ratios in patients with hyperlipidaemia, those with diabetes mellitus and
in patients requiring dialysis. Clin Chim Acta. 1996;253(1-2):117-126.
8. Gotz ME, Gerstner A, Harth R, et al. Altered redox state of platelet coenzyme Q10 in Parkinson’s disease. J Neural Transm.
9. Shults CW, Haas RH, Passov D, Beal MF. Coenzyme Q10 levels correlate with the activities of complexes I and II/III in
mitochondria from Parkinson and nonparkinsonian subjects. Ann Neurol. 1997;42(2):261-264.
10. Beal MF. Mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative damage in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Diseases and Coenzyme Q10 as a
potential treatment.J Bioenerget Biomembranes. 2004;36(4):381-386.
11. Maes M, Mihaylova I, Kubera M, Uytterhoeven M, Vrydags N, Bosmans E. Coenzyme Q10 deficiency in myalgic
encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigsyndrome (ME/CFS) is related to fatigue, autonomic and neurocognitive symptoms and is another
risk factor explaining the early mortality in ME/CFSdue to cardiovascular disorder. Neuro Endocrinol Lett. 2009;30(4):470-476.
12.Hershey AD, Powers SW, Vockell ALB, et al. Coenzyme Q10 deficiency and response to supplementation in pediatric and
adolescent Migraine.Headache. 2007;47(1):73-80.
13. Belardinelli R, Mucaj A, Lacalaprice F, et al. Coenzyme Q10 and exercise training in chronic heart failure. Eur Heart J. 2006;27
14. Tran MT, Mitchell TM, Kennedy DT, Giles JT. Role of coenzyme Q10 in chronic heart failure, angina, and hypertension.
15. Belardinelli R, Mucaj A, Lacalaprice F, et al. Coenzyme Q10 improves contractility of dysfunctional myocardium in chronic heart
failure. Biofactors 2005;25(1-4):137-145.
16. Hodges S, Hertz N, Lockwood K, Lister R. CoQ10: could it have a role in cancer management? Biofactors. 1999;9
17. Shults CW, Oakes D, Kieburtz K, et al. Effects of coenzyme q10 in early Parkinson disease: evidence of slowing of the
functional decline.Arch Neurol. 2002;59(10):1541-1550.
18. Muller T, Buttner T, Gholipour AF, Kuhn W. Coenzyme Q10 supplementation provides mild symptomatic benefit in patients with
Parkinson’s disease. Neurosci Lett. 2003;341(3):201-204.
19. Sandor PS, Di Clemente L, Coppola G, et al. Efficacy of coenzyme Q10 in migraine prophylaxis: A randomized controlled
trial. Neurology. 2005;64(4):713-715.
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