Friday, November 14, 2008

CoQ10: The Heart, Immune and Antioxidant Nutrient

Coenzyme Q10 is one of the ten types of coenzyme Q that are found in nature, but the only one that is used by humans. It is a fat-soluble antioxidant. This means that it can work in areas like our mitochondria (the powerhouse of the cell) and cell membranes, to deactivate harmful free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that in their bid to become more stable must bump into healthy cells and cause damage. Coenzyme Q10’s antioxidant properties neutralize free radicals and therefore reduce damage in tissues.

It has anti-aging properties because as an antioxidant it protects the body against environmental pollutants other substances that and lead to aging. Coenzyme Q10 is especially important in areas of high metabolic activity because it is involved in the production of ATP, the primary source of energy for our body. Deficiency of coenzyme Q10 is so harmful that low levels of this nutrient have been linked to heart attack. Coenzyme Q10 is an important supplement for use in cardiovascular disease, hypertension, aging, obesity, cancer, chemotherapy, chronic fatigue syndrome, AIDS, allergies, ulcers, diabetes and periodontal disease.

Coenzyme Q10 is present in our food in small amounts. Supplements vary widely in quality and price. Most supplements are fat-soluble which can be a problem for those with an impaired ability to digest fats. Newer technology makes coenzyme Q10 water-soluble and claims to improve the body’s uptake by up to three times. It can be found in formulas for enhancing cardiovascular health and preventing age related disease. It is often combined with other antioxidants. Another name for coenzyme Q10 is ubiquinone. Another form, called "ubiquinol" is a more advanced and more biologically active form of Coenzyme Q10; it is preferred for use in many clinical applications.

Coenzyme Q10 may decrease the effectiveness of warfarin. The following prescription medications deplete coenzyme Q10 and supplementation is strongly advisable: hydralazine, thiazide diuretics, cholesterol lowering medication, sulfonylureas, beta blockers, tricyclic antidepressants, chloropromazine, clonidine, methyldopa, diazoxide, biguanides and haloperidol.

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