Coenzyme Q10 Supplement

What is coenzyme Q10 ?

Coenzyme Q10, short: Q10, also known as CoQ10 or ubiquinone-10, is a fat-soluble, vitamin-like substance found in all human and animal cells. The principal function of co-enzyme Q10 is that of a cofactor for several key steps in the conversion energy production (ATP production) in the cell. It is also important as an antioxidant. Co-enzyme Q10 is structurally related to vitamin K, and vitamin E.


Coenzyme Q10 was discovered in 1957 by Professor Fred L. Crane and colleagues at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Enzyme Institute, which ISOLATED from the mitochondria of beef heart.

In 1958 its chemical structure was elucidated by Professor Karl Folkers and his staff at Merck.

In 1972, Folkers and his colleague Gian Paolo Littaru were the first to heart failure a coenzyme Q10 deficiency noted.

In the 80s of the last century, the scientific research on coenzyme Q10 well underway. This was partly because coenzyme Q10 when large quantities were commercially available from pharmaceutical companies in Japan, but also by the availability of sophisticated analysis systems such as high performance liquid chromatography, which coenzyme Q10 levels were measured in blood and tissue directly.


The "Q" and the "10" in the name refer respectively to the group of quinones (in English: quinone), to which the compound belongs, and the 10 isoprene subunits of which the tail is made of it. The name ubiquinone is related to the fact that co-enzyme Q10 in mammals "ubiquitously" distributed, in other words, "ubiquitous" and is present in all cells. All of these coenzymes Q molecules have a head and a tail. In the course of the evolution towards the gay sapiens length of this tail is increased from two isoprene units in bacteria to 6 (CoQ6) as the main form, in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, 8 (CoQ8) units in rats and mice, 9 in rodents and 10 (CoQ10) for most of the other long-living mammals as well as in humans.

The non-polar tail will give the molecule a lipophilic (vetminnend) character, so that it can move in all the good fat-like cell structures such as cellular membranes as well as in the various lipoproteins in serum.

The chemical nomenclature for coenzyme Q10 is trans-2,3-dimethoxy-5-methyl-6-decaprenyl-1,4-benzoquinone.

Also, vitamin K (vitamin K1 is phylloquinone) is part of the group of quinones.

Function in the cell
Coenzyme Q10 is present in the mitochondria of the cell, especially in the inner membrane of the mitochondrion. There, it plays an important role in the oxidative phosphorylation, also referred to as electron transport chain or respiratory chain. In this process, electrons that originate in the citric acid cycle, step by step through a number of proteins (flavoproteins, cytochromes, enzymes) eventually transferred to oxygen. Simultaneously, while adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is formed, the main energy supplier of the body. Under healthy conditions, 90% of the ATP in the body is produced in this way.

Coenzyme Q10 plays in these so-called electron transport chain a role as a co-enzyme for at least three mitochondrial enzymes, namely the complexes I, II and III, where it accepts electrons derived from these complexes are.

Coenzyme Q10 is also a coenzyme for enzymes in other parts of the cell.

In the reduced form coenzyme Q10 hydroquinone (also called ubiquinol), a potent lipophilic (vetminnende) antioxidant that is capable of other antioxidants, such as to re-use of vitamin C and E.

Coenzyme Q10 can in principle be made by the body from the amino acid tyrosine. This is a complicated process where a total of 19 conversion steps are necessary, and which is dependent on the sufficient presence of at least seven vitamins (vitamin B2, B3, B5, B6, folic acid, vitamin B12 and vitamin C) and various trace elements.

In the body of a healthy adult has a total of about 0.5 to 1.5 grams of co-enzyme Q10 present. Cells need a lot of energy, such as heart, kidney, liver and muscle cells, contain a relatively large mitochondria, and thus much coenzyme Q10.

Use of some drugs (particularly statins): The production of the co-enzyme Q10 and cholesterol is regulated by the same enzyme (HMG-CoA reductase or 3-hydroxy-methylglutaryl coenzyme A). This enzyme regulates the formation of mevalonic acid, a common precursor of both substances. The effect of statins, a class of cholesterol-lowering drugs (for example, simvastatin, lovastatin, pravastatin), is based on inhibition of the action of this enzyme, with the result that people who use these drugs also reduced coenzyme Q10 levels in skeletal muscle and blood have.
Whether and to what extent coenzyme Q10 supplementation can reduce this decline is the subject of scientific debate.

Other factors: Also old age, extreme physical exertion, stress, increased alcohol and nicotine consumption may lead to lowered levels of CoQ10 in the body.

Sources and bioavailability

Coenzyme Q10 occurs in almost all foods. Through food we consume daily about 3-5 milligrams on. Relatively rich sources are organ meats (especially) liver, fish (sardines, anchovies, mackerel, salmon) and poultry. Nevertheless, the plasma levels of coenzyme Q10 in vegetarians are by far the highest (more than double than in omnivores), that seems to indicate that a vegetarian diet helps in maintaining high coenzyme Q10 levels in the body .

Since co-enzyme Q10 in the body tissues themselves can be created, it is assumed that, in normal circumstances, the body does not depend on coenzyme Q10-supply via the power supply. The influence of diet on the Coenzyme Q10-status is found to be minimal. With the aid of dietary supplements is, however, to influence the sound coenzyme Q10-status. Dietary supplements containing coenzyme Q10 supply in general 10 to 30 times the 3-5 milligrams who ingested by humans through food.

The highly lipophilic nature of co-enzyme Q10 has a great influence on bioavailability. Orally coenzyme Q10 is relatively poorly absorbed into the body. Its absorption is strongly dependent on the stomach contents. Fat in the stomach improves the absorption of coenzyme Q10 in the gastro-intestinal tract. In the case of co-enzyme Q10 in the form of a dietary supplement, the absorption is also depending on the kind or the form of the supplement.

In general it can be stated that products (eg. Nutritional supplements), in which coenzyme Q10 is incorporated in powder form, have a relatively poor bioavailability. Coenzyme Q10 supplements in which oil is used as a carrier (soft gels) coenzyme Q10 in a relatively good form. Some of the co-enzyme Q10-producers are trying with special solvents as well as by the use of micro-emulsions (so that the contact surface area is greatly enlarged) to improve the bioavailability.

Q10 as a food supplement and fortified foods

Industrial production of coenzyme Q10
In its pure form, coenzyme Q10 is a yellow-orange crystalline powder, no odor or taste. For the industrial production thereof are three methods: yeast fermentation, bacterial fermentation, and chemical synthesis. The result of the first two processes is a trans-isomer, identical to the co-enzyme Q10, which occur in human and animal cells. Co-enzyme Q10 from chemical synthesis, however, also contains cis-isomers, which are likely to be ineffective.

During the commercial production of coenzyme Q10 crystals arise, which reduce its bioavailability. Heating dissolves crystals. The melting point of coenzyme Q10 is 48 degrees celsius. During the process of cooling down, however, arise, in general, even larger crystals. Also, certain solvents can prevent the crystal formation.

Kaneka Corporation is the largest producer of coenzyme Q10 in the world with plants in Japan and the United States, followed by Nisshin Pharma Asahikasei Pharma and Mitsubishi Gas Chemical (MGC).

Coenzyme Q10 as a food supplement
Q10 is sold in most EU Member States, in the United States and in Australia as a dietary supplement. In Japan, the coenzyme allowed since 2001 as a dietary supplement. Since it has long been used as an additive to mainly beverages, including Coca Cola. The first products on European soil was found initially mainly in dairy companies like Parmalat, Emmi and Ljubljanske Mlekarne (Slovenia). Coenzyme Q10 is also used in cosmetics (including skin care products).

Health effects

Blood pressure
There are several references on the effect of Q10 on blood pressure in humans (for a review of these studies). In a recent meta-study of clinical trials in hypertension Q10 has a research group led by Professor FL Rosenfeldt (from the Cardiac Surgical Research Unit, Alfred Hospital, Melbourne, Australia), all published studies of Q10 studied in hypertension. The group also has the overall effectiveness and consistency of the therapeutic effects and side effects are summarized. The meta-study was conducted in 12 clinical trials (362 patients), consisting of three randomized, controlled trials, one crossover study and eight open-label trials. The quality of the studies thus leaves something to be desired, and the number of persons involved in the studies is small. The expressiveness of the meta-analysis is limited. The research concluded that Q10 has the potential in hypertensive patients to lower systolic blood pressure by 17 mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure by 10 mm Hg without significant neveneffecten.Voorts is it that Rosenfeldt first larger comparative studies will wait before he Q10 as a treatment would recommend.

Utility in the treatment of various diseases
Lowering the blood pressure is the only medical application of Q10 which sufficient scientific evidence. In conditions such as Alzheimer's, angina (breast) cancer, cardiomyopathy, periodontal disease, heart failure and heart failure, HIV / AIDS, "weak seed ', migraines, muscular dystrophy, diabetes and Parkinson's disease, there is no or no conclusive evidence of efficacy. In diabetes there is some evidence that Q10 has a negative effect on the treatment.

It is therefore not considered meaningful preventive Q10 (as a supplement) to use or add to foods.

Q10 can also fight fatigue after exercise. The proof is based on a single randomized control study on 17 volunteers.

Manufacturers of products that are based on Q10 or Q10 has been added to which state that there is a number of health benefits. Some risk groups (smokers, heavy drinkers, sufferers from a number of diseases, elderly) could combat the risk of Q10 deficiency by swallowing preventive Q10. Furthermore, it would be possible to slow the aging process and in this way the risk of a number of types of cancer would be reduced.

There has been much research into the role that Q10 plays in the human body. Nevertheless, the results of these studies are not always consistent with each other, especially as regards the sense of taking Q10. Also, meta-studies contradict each other. Or swallowing Q10 supplements contributes to the health condition still under discussion. Much research also appears to be directly sponsored by the manufacturer and is considered little scientific.

According to producer Pharma Nord would Q10, provided adequate doses, have a preventive effect in the area of cardiovascular disease and cancer, strengthen the immune system and also take care of more energy. Scientifically, such claims are questionable. In 2003, challenged the Inspection Board Commendation of Health (KAG) and the Consumers producer Pharma Nord to court because it claimed in its advertising that Q10 might be a cure for periodontitis patients. Pharma Nord lost that lawsuit.

Although 10 may be helpful as possible in the treatment of high blood pressure, health claims made by manufacturers and suppliers should be viewed critically. On, most likely, high blood pressure after, there is no condition for which conclusive evidence exists that Q10 would have a positive effect. A lack of Q10 can only be determined in a laboratory. Health problems that a lack of Q10 is its basis - at least until the 40th levensjaar- extremely rare. Q10 is not able to compensate or "neutralize" the negative effects of an unhealthy lifestyle. Seen above, there is insufficient evidence that it is useful to supplement Q10 in the diet.

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