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The Importance of CoQ10 for Heart Health and Much More

Coenzyme Q10 structural chemical formula and model, 2d & 3d vector, eps 8 [1]

by Paul Fassa
Health Impact News

In an earlier Health Impact News article, it was pointed out how statin drugs cut back on the body’s ability to produce an important co-enzyme called CoQ10. One of CoQ10’s important health features, among others, is that it’s vital for good heart health.

Ironically, statin drugs prescribed for protecting cardiovascular health hamper this heart health co-enzyme production, and worse, it affects other areas of health. This could explain the other adverse side effects of statin drugs, such as fatigue, lowered immunity, and aching joints, muscles, and tendons. (Source) [2]

Co-enzyme Q 10 (CoQ10) was identified from its function, not its structure. It actually involves a complex cycle that affects electron transfer in tissue cells, most importantly brain, heart, and liver organ tissues, and promotes intracellular energy production throughout the body.

Enzymes are catalysts for internal biochemical activities. They help create or stimulate biochemical activities without becoming part of what’s created. Co-enzymes act to assist or even make possible the enzyme’s role in activating a biochemical process.

Ed McCabe, aka Mr. Oxygen, a passionate oxygen therapy advocate and author of Flood Your Body With Oxygen [3], had conducted a survey among health experts to determine the importance of various nutritional aspects. Here’s that list in order of importance:

  1. Oxygen
  2. Water
  3. Enzymes
  4. Minerals
  5. Vitamins

The relative importance between minerals and vitamins may surprise you. Vitamins don’t work well in the absence of minerals. And neither of those will function fully with a deficiency of enzymes. Although our bodies are hard-wired to produce CoQ10, this function decreases with age.

Amazingly, 50 and older folks are the primary targets of the pharmaceutical companies major money makers, statin drugs. They’re readily prescribed even if the threat of cardiovascular is implied by any of what mainstream cardiology maintains are markers for heart disease or failure, especially the most invalid marker of them all, high blood cholesterol. (Source) [4]

Beyond Heart Health

CoQ10 is necessary not only for supporting cardiovascular health; it is an important aspect of intracellular metabolism that produces health supporting energy for cellular functioning. This is a function of the mitochondria, considered the energy power houses of a human or animal body’s cells.

The mitochondria organelles, ranging from 1,000 to 2,000 in each human or animal cell, generate most of the energy of the cell in the form of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) as a source of chemical energy. The mitochondria are also involved in other cellular activities like signaling, cellular differentiation, and control of cell cycle, including cell growth and apoptosis.

Apoptosis is a programmed self destruction that creates room for newly formed cells. Cancer cells are without apoptosis. Many successful alternative cancer treatments induce apoptosis in cancer cells.

Mitochondrial dysfunction also adversely affects many aspects of human health, including cardiac dysfunction. Its functioning plays an important role in the aging process. Many neurological disorders such as chronic fatigue, multiple sclerosis (MS), seizures, and other autoimmune diseases can be traced to mitochondrial dysfunction and low ATP.

This process of producing ATP in cells, which occurs mostly in the mitochondria, is a major feature of cellular respiration. When cellular respiration falters and creates an inability for cells to properly utilize oxygen, the cells turn to fermenting glucose for their survival and become cancerous. CoQ10 plays a vital role in several of the mitochondrial processes within cells.

Comment on Dr. Sahelian’s recommended dosage: Cardiologist M.D. Stephen Sinatra recommends 100 to 200 mg per day of CoQ10.

Study Reveals the Importance of CoQ10 for General Health

A study at Harvard Medical School, recorded April 22, 2013 in the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), provided an association with low blood level CoQ10 to critical illness and aging.

The study involved 32 critically ill patients compared to 18 healthy control subjects. Its purpose was to determine if low CoQ10 plasma readings were common to only critically ill patients with septic shock (SS), the life threatening event of low blood pressure from overwhelming infection, or if lower CoQ10 plasma levels were common to all seriously ill patients.

Thirty-two critically ill patients were checked, some with SS and others without SS against the average CoQ10 plasma levels of the healthy subjects. Although the SS CoQ10 level average was the lowest, the seriously ill CoQ10 serum levels were significantly lower than the control group without critically ill patients, establishing an association between serious or critical illness and low CoQ10 levels.

The study, “Critical illness is associated with decreased plasma levels of coenzyme Q-10: A cross-sectional study” concluded:

“Decreased plasma CoQ10 levels are not specific to patients with SS [septic shock], but rather observed in a broad range of critically ill patients. In critically ill patients, CoQ10 insufficiency may be associated with various conditions; age may be a risk factor.” (Emphasis added)

It’s easy to see how co-enzyme, CoQ10, which diminishes with aging or other toxic and external DNA damaging influences, has to be replenished in order revitalize mitochondrial production of ATP and other functions.

How to Supplement CoQ10 – To Ubiquinol or Not To Ubiquinol

There are divided opinions among health experts who advise CoQ10 supplementing as ubiquinone or as ubiquinol. Supplements that are labeled CoQ10 are actually ubiquinone. But some say ubiquinone has to be converted to the more active form of ubiquinol to support the processes of ATP production and other aspects of cellular respiration. However, CoQ10 experts disagree with those notions.

Supplements labeled as ubiquinol are the reduced form of ubiquinone. Reduced simply means the ubiquinone is converted to what is considered the more bioavailable ubiquinol in the supplement itself. It is recommended for folks whose normal ability to convert ubiquinone to the active ubiquinol may be impaired. But how much of this information is simply marketing?

Biochemist experts say when ubiquinone supplements, which are labeled simply as CoQ10, are consumed, almost all of it, at least 90 percent, is immediately converted into ubiquinol and transported through the bloodstream.

Then the antioxidant ubiquinol is oxidized back to ubiquinone to restart the CoQ10 cycle. That is the role of CoQ10, to cycle back and forth between ubiquinone and ubiquinol. The term “reduced” CoQ10 as applied to ubiquinol simply means it has been cycled through beforehand. This may be necessary for a few whose health has deteriorated beyond making that conversion.

But is it really necessary? Ubiquinol is a considerably more expensive supplement. And apparently the main difference between the two is marketing and cost.

Dr. Stephen Sinatra, an outspoken critic of statin drugs and the saturated fat high cholesterol hoax, recommends saving your money. He asserts:

“… as a cardiologist who has been studying and using CoQ10 for 30 years, I have yet to see solid evidence to back up the claim that the pricier ubiquinol form is the best form of CoQ10. Through my research and clinical experience on heart vitamins, I’ve found that ubiquinone gives you the same benefits at a much lower cost.”

The Japanese medical system was a leader in using CoQ10 for regenerating heart health among its cardiac patients a few decades ago. Since then, the ubiquinone version of CoQ10 has had decades of success with cardiac patients in Japan and elsewhere. Now it is recognized as vital for kick starting mitochondria ATP production throughout the body and preventing chronically critical bad health.

Here’s what Dr. Richard Passwater, Ph.D. has to say about the CoQ10 ubiquinone – ubiquinol confusion after his discussion with other biochemist researchers:

The correct nomenclature is that word “coenzyme Q-10” can have either of two meanings. It can mean either the compound ubiquinone or the family of compounds of the CoQ10 cycle in its entirety. CoQ10 does not refer to ubiquinol alone nor does it refer to the general antioxidant activity of ubiquinol alone. When referring to ubiquinol alone, it may properly be called “reduced CoQ10.”

The independent antioxidant activity of ubiquinol outside of mitochondria is not CoQ10 activity. Such antioxidant activity outside of electron transport is very important in the body, but this is an additional benefit of ubiquinol and not part of ubiquinol’s role in CoQ10 cycle activity in its unique role of energy production.This independent extra-mitochondrial activity of ubiquinol is not “the active form of CoQ10.” (Emphasis added)

It’s apparent that one needn’t feel left out if he or she doesn’t have the budget for monthly ubiquinol purchases, regardless of who promotes it. Ubiquinone, commonly known as CoQ10 (coenzyme Q10) is simply a vitally important supplement that will work for most of us in many ways.

Sources:

http://biology.tutorvista.com/animal-and-plant-cells/mitochondria.html [5]

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23618779 [6]

http://www.drsinatra.com/what-is-the-best-form-of-coq10-to-take/ [7]

http://www.drpasswater.com/nutrition_library/Q-10%20Basics.htm [8]