Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Co Q10's Answer To Our Energy Crisis

The production of energy in the trillions of cells of the body is the greatest mystery of life. As living organisms, we combine oxygen from our lungs and glucose from our food in the power generator called the "mitochondria" in our cells to produce adenosine triphosphate or ATP. ATP is the gasoline that is used to drive the numerous chemical reactions inside each cell, it provides the energy needed to drive cellular machinery.

Our body requires many nutrients or co-factors to produce energy in the mitochondria. Magnesium, cysteine, iron, niacin, manganese, thiamin, riboflavin and carnitine are all involved in energy production. Another one of these co-factors is co-enzyme Q10 (CoQ10). CoQ10 is involved in the transport of electrons in the mitochondria. We produce it naturally and it is so common one of its names is ubiquinone, the "ubiquitous quinone". This means that without CoQ10, we would be unable to manufacture energy. Since CoQ10 is involved in energy production, you find the highest levels of it in tissues like the heart muscle, which have massive energy production needs. Even though CoQ10 is a compound naturally found in our body, there are many situations where extra supplemental dosing is indicated. Not only can it make you feel better, CoQ10 has been show to reverse very serious disease and pathology. CoQ10 remains one of the unique and special supplements that many patients rely on for which there is no pharmaceutical drug replacement.


A deficiency of CoQ10 is not uncommon. It may result from nutritional deficiencies, genetic or drug induced defects in synthesis or utilization. Clinically, CoQ10 can be needed in certain conditions resulting from illnesses such as congestive heart failure (CHF). CoQ10 levels naturally decline with advancing age so every one over the age of seventy could benefit from supplementation. After all, who couldn’t use a little more energy as they get older? CoQ10 deficiency is typically found in tissue that are the most metabolically active, like heart muscle and gum tissue. Since CoQ10 is involved in energy production, these tissues will show the earliest signs of deficiency.

The greatest risk group for CoQ10 deficiency are patients taking statin drugs. Since these drugs are the largest selling drug on the planet by volume and dollar, there is a significant numbers of our global population that could benefit from 50 mg/day of CoQ10. Statin drugs (lovastatin and pravastatin) deplete CoQ10 inside the heart muscle, making it less efficient. These drugs inhibit an enzyme which is required for the synthesis of both cholesterol and CoQ10. Statin drugs slowly poison an active site of energy production. Beta blockers propranolol and metaprolol inhibit CoQ10-dependent enzymes. Phenothiazines and tricyclic antidepressants have also been shown to inhibit CoQ10-dependent enzymes.

Clinical Application

The most reliable clinical application in terms of results for CoQ10 is in cardiovascular conditions. I have seen many positive results from just taking this simple nutrient. Even though our body can make it, we can easily end up with a “functional” deficiency as a result of aging and poor health.

Cardiovascular Disease: CoQ10 is especially indicated for the enhancement of heart muscle function in any form of cardiovascular disease. It is safe to dose CoQ10 in almost any condition, even if the patient is on heart medications and usually it provides some clinical benefit. The average health consumer can feel confident that their purchase of CoQ10 will give them a good value, especially since it is such an expensive supplement . Since CoQ10 enhances energy production in the heart muscle cells, this will improve contractility of the cardiac muscle, lower blood pressure, and improve heart muscle performance, Specific cardiac problems which may benefit from CoQ10 include:

  • Angina (Kamikawa, T, et al.)
  • Arrhythmias (Fujioka, T, et al.)
  • Cardiomyopathy (Langsjoen, PH, et al.)
  • Congestive heart failure (Mortensen, SA, et al.; Morisco, C, et al.)
  • Protection during cardiac surgery (Tanaka, J, et al.)
  • Mitral valve prolapse (Oda, T, Hamamoto, K.)

Remarkably, CoQ10 lowers blood pressure in ways that are not clearly understood. In one study, CoQ10 was able to lower blood pressure in patients who did not have CoQ10 deficiency. (Digiesi, V, et al.; Langsjoen, P, et al). If you are trying to lower your blood pressure, take it for 4-12 weeks to evaluate the benefits. Remember, you can take CoQ10, while you stay on your blood pressure medications without any worry of side effects.

Another area of cardiovascular benefit for CoQ10 is in protecting against the heart muscle toxicity of the chemotherapy drug adriamycin. (Domae, N, et al.; Karlsson, J, et al; Cortes, EP, et al) In a previous Alive article I wrote about treating a patient with Hodgkins Lymphoma using CoQ10 to protect his heart and immune system from the chemotherapy. If you or a family member have to take adriamycin chemotherapy, you should take CoQ10, regardless of your oncologist or medical doctor’s opinion.

Diabetes mellitus: The electron-transport chain is integrally involved in carbohydrate metabolism. It is well known that high blood sugar damages energy production in the mitochondria and is a central them of biological aging. This is one of the reasons fasting can be so beneficial in slowing down the aging process. CoQ10 helps to lower blood sugar. CoQ7 (almost identical to CoQ10 and considered to be nutritionally equivalent) at a daily dose of 120 mg for 2-18 weeks reduced fasting blood sugar by at least 30% in 31% of patients. (Shigeta, Y, et al. )

Periodontal disease: I have seen good results with treating periuodontal disease using CoQ10. Even the dental hygenists notice a difference when they are scaling teeth on patients who start taking it. Many clinical trials have demonstrated a beneficial effect of CoQ10. Gingival biopsies yield subnormal tissue levels of CoQ10 in patients with periodontal disease. (Nakamura, R, et al.; Hansen, IL, et al.; Littarru, GP, et al.; ) One study also showed that CoQ10 supplementation increases gum healing after periodontal surgery. (Wilkinson, EG, et al.)

Immune Function: CoQ10 enhances the strength of the immune system to battle viruses and bacteria. (Mayer, P, et al; Saiki I. et al; Bliznakov E, et al.) Patients who notice that their immune system getting weaker as they age, more colds and flus, will benefit from a daily supplement of CoQ10. One study showed that immune suppression was reversed with a daily dose of 60 mg/day. (Folkers, K, Shizukkuishi, S, et al.) The patients showed an increase in production of antibodies conferring better immune response. AIDS patients have lower CoQ10 levels in their blood and when supplemented with 200 mg/day, they had beneficial changes in their in their T cell ratios and none of the patients went on to develop infections associated with their condition. (Folkers, K, Langsjoen, P, Nara, Y,. et al.).

Muscular Dystrophy: CoQ10 deficiency is found in muscle, both cardiac and skeletal, of animals and humans with muscular dystrophy (MD). Patients with MD who were supplemented with 100 mg of CoQ10/day had significant benefit in cardiac output as well as increased physical well being.( Folkers, K, et al.)

Dosage Of CoQ10

Most people start with a dosage of 30 mg though some conditions, if life threatening like breast cancer or congestive heart failure, will require doses of up to 400 mg/day. It is very pricy stuff so finding the right dose is critical. CoQ10 is well absorbed by oral supplementation as evidenced by significant increases in serum CoQ10 levels after supplementation. (Gaby, AR.). There also is some evidence that CoQ10 in oil suspension has the highest bioavailability, it is also difficult to get and more expensive. (Kaikkonen J, et al. ) Side effects are minimal, but there are occasional reports of nausea, poor appetite, or skin eruptions.

Medical References-

Bliznakov E, Casey A, Premuzic E. Coenzymes Q: stimulants of the phagocytic activity in rats and immune response in mice. Experientia 1 970;26:953-954.

Cortes, EP, Gupta, M, Chou, C, Amin, VC, Folkers, K. Adriamycin cardiotoxicity: early detection by systolic time interval and possible prevention by coenzyme Q10. Cancer Treat Rep 1978:62:887-891.

Domae, N, Sawada, H, Matsuyama, E, Konishi T, Uchino, H. Cardiomyopathy and other chronic toxic effects induced in rabbits by doxombicin and possible prevention by coenzyme Q10. Cancer Treat Rep 1981:65:79-91

Folkers, K, Langsjoen, P, Nara, Y, et al. Biochemical deficiencies of coenzyme QIO in HIV infection and exploratory treatment. Biochem Biophys Res Commun 1988;153:888-896.

Folkers, K, Shizukkuishi, S, et al. Increase in levels of IgG in the serum of patients treated with CoQ10. Res Commmun Chem Pathol Pharmacol 1982;38:3335-338

Folkers, K, Wolaniuk, J, Simonsen, R, et al. Biochemical rationale and the cardiac response of patients with muscle disease to therapy with coenzyme Q10. Proc Natl Acad Sci 1985;82:4513-4516

Fujioka, T, Sakamoto, Y, Mimura, G. Clinical study of cardiac arrhythmias using a 24-hour continuous electrocardiographic recorder (5th report) - antiarrhythmic action of coenzyme Q10 in diabetics. Tohoku Jap Med 1983:141(Suppl):453-463.

Gaby, AR. The role of coenzyme Q10 in clinical medicine: Part I. Alt Med Rev 1996;1 (1): 11-17.

Gaby, AR. The role of coenzyme Q10 in clinical medicine: part II. Cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, and infertility. Alt Med Rev 1996;l (3): 168-175.

Hansen IL, Iwamoto, Y. Kishi, I, Folkers, K. Bioenergetics in clinical medicine. IX. Gingival and leucocytic deficiencies of coenzyme Q10 in patients with periodontal disease. Res Commun Chem Pathol Pharmacol 1976;14:729-738.

Kaikkonen J, Nyyssonen K, Porkkala-Sarataho E, Poulsen HE, Metsa-Ketela T, Hayn M, Salonen R, Salonen JT. Effect of oral coenzyme Q10 supplementation on the oxidation resistance of human VLDL+LDL fraction: absorption and antioxidative properties of oil and granule-based preparations. Free Radic Biol Med 1997;22(7):1195-1202.

Kamikawa, T, Kobayashi, A, Yamashita, T, Hayashi, H, Yamazaki, N. Effects of coenzyme Q10 on exercise tolerance in chronic stable angina pectoris. Am J Cardiol 1985;56:247-251.

Karlsson, J, Folkers, K, Astrum, H, Jansson, E, Pernow, B, et al. Effect of adriamycin on heart and skeletal muscle coenzyme Q (CoQ10) in man. In Folkers K and Yamamura, Y (eds.). Biomedical and Clinical Aspects of Coenzyme Q. volume 5. Elsevier. 1986.

Langsjoen, PH, Langsjoen, PH, Folkers, K. Long-term efficacy and safety of coenzyme Q10 therapy for idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy. Am J Cardiol 1990:65:521-523.

Langsjoen, PH, Vadhanavikit, S, Folkers, K. Effective treatment with coenzyme Q1O of patients with chronic myocardial disease. Drugs Exptl Clin Res 1985;l1:577-579.

Langsjoen, P, Langsjoen, P, Willis, R, Folkers, K. Treatment of essential hypertension with coenzyme Q10. Molec Aspects Med 1994;15(Suppl):S265-S272.

Langsjoen, PH, Folkers, K, Lyson, K,. Muratsu, K, Lyson, I, et al. Effective and safe therapy with coenzyme Q10 for cardiomyopathy. Klin Wochenschr 1988:66:583-590.

Mayer, P, Hamberger, H, Drews J. Differential effects of ubiquinone Q7 and ubiquinone analogs on macrophage activation and experimental infections in granulocytopenic mice. Infection 1980:8:256-261.

Mortensen, SA, Vadhanavikit, S, Baandrup, U, Folkers, K. Long-term coenzyme Q10 therapy: a major advance in the management of resistant myocardial failure. Drugs Exptl Clin Res 1985:11:581-593.

Nakamura, R, Littarru, GP, Folkers, K, Wilkinson EG. Study of CoQ 10-enzymes in gingiva from patients with periodontal disease and evidence for a deficiency of coenzyme Q10. Proc Natl Acad Sci 1974;71:1456-1460.

Nakamura, R,. Littarru, GP, Folkers, K. Wilkinson EC. Deficiency of coenzyme Q in gingiva of patients with periodontal disease. Int J Vitam Nutr Res 1973:43:84-92.

Saiki, I, Tokushima, Y, Nishimura, K, Azuma, I. Macrophage activation with ubiquinones and their related compounds in mice. Int J Vitam Nutr Res 1983:53:312-320.

Shigeta, Y, Izumi, K, Abe, H. Effect of coenzyme Q7 treatment on blood sugar and ketone bodies of diabetics. J Vitaminol 1966;12:293-298.

Tanaka, J, Tominaga, R,Yoshitoshi, M, Matsui, K, Komori, M, Sese, A, et al. Coenzyme Q10: the prophylactic effect on low cardiac output following cardiac valve replacement. Ann Thorac Surg 1982:33:145-151.

Wilkinson, EG, Arnold RM, Folkers, K. Treatment of periodontal and other soft tissue diseases of the oral cavity with coenzyme Q. In Folkers, K.Yamamura, Y (eds.). Biomedical and Clinical Aspects of Coenzyme Q, Vol. 1. Elsevier/NorthHolland Biomedical Press. Amsterdam. 1977. pp. 251-265.

Wilkinson, EG, Arnold, RM, Folkers, K. Bioenergetics in clinical medicine. VI. Adjunctive treatment of periodontal disease with coenzyme Q10. Res Commun Chem Pathol Pharmacol 1976:14:715-719.

Wilkinson, EG, Arnold, RM, Folkers, K, et al. Bioenergetics in clinical medicine. II. Adjunctive treatment with coenzyme Q in periodontal therapy. Res Commun Cliem Pathol Pharmacol 1975;12:111-124.


Blogger Catherine said...

I read so many articles about coq10 and they said the same thing. it can be our energy source that's why I have it all the time.

12:26 AM  

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