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Herbal Supplements Spotlight, Issue 012 -- CoQ10 - A powerful, important heart compound
July 05, 2005
The Health Benefits of CoQ10
Learn about the importance of Coenzyme Q10Coenzyme Q10 (also known as ubiquinone, but most widely referred to as CoQ10) is a substance that can be found in every cell of the body, where it is used to produce the large amounts of energy needed for healthy cell growth, repair after damage, and maintenance.
CoQ10 also functions as a powerful antioxidant, which protects the cells and the entire body from damage caused by harmful molecules.
Not only does it help keep the cells of the body healthy and in good condition, CoQ10 helps to keep the entire body functioning by helping to supply necessary energy to hard working organs. CoQ10 functions as a sort of catalyst, jump starting energy production within cells. The body then uses the generated energy for a host of vital processes, including smooth and striated muscle contraction and digestion.
Scientists have also discovered that CoQ10 is found in especially high concentrations in organs that require a lot of energy, such as the heart. Without CoQ10, energy production and therefore organ function would screech to a halt.
Researchers first discovered and named Coenzyme Q10 in 1957 while they were examining how the cell produces energy. Almost fifty years later, scientists are still finding new and better uses for the important substance, and have begun to discover evidence that treating patients with CoQ10 supplements may actually assist in the prevention and treatment of such devastating illnesses as heart disease and cancer.
CoQ10 can help prevent heart disease by first using its antioxidant power to prevent cholesterol from being attacked by free radicals in the body, freeing up precious reserves of vitamin E for other uses by the body. In this way, the coenzyme has also been found to work in conjunction with vitamin E to prevent the damage to arteries caused by cholesterol that leads to heart disease.
Also, because of its original purpose of generating energy for the heart, some researchers are beginning to believe that CoQ10 can be used as a drug to boost failing organs, especially the heart.
As important as CoQ10 is to the proper function of virtually every part of the body - skin, muscles, organs, etc. - you might be surprised to find out that some of the most popular prescription drugs for the reduction of cholesterol in the body are actually responsible for depleting the body's reserves of CoQ10 on an alarming level.
Statin drugs, such as Lipitor, Zetia and Crestor, widely prescribed to assist patients with high cholesterol bring their levels back to a normal range, have been found in several studies to decrease the level of naturally produced CoQ10 and even deplete the amount held in reserve by the cells in case of emergencies.
Thankfully, a CoQ10 deficiency caused by statin drugs is completely preventable and ultimately reversible by supplementing the patient with CoQ10 from outside sources. Clinical trials have shown that supplementation of CoQ10 also seems to have no adverse impact on the cholesterol lowering or anti-inflammatory properties of the statin drugs.
So, if it is a naturally occurring compound in the body, you may be wondering how a person would go about supplementing it in their system. Aside from taking commercially prepared supplements, CoQ10 is naturally present in small amounts in a wide variety of foods that many people enjoy every day, such as beef, peanuts, mackerel and sardines. It is also found in high concentrations in organ meats such as heart, liver, and kidney, but many people prefer to take a pill or gelcap supplement rather than eat these items.
Just like with any other type of medication or supplement, different people respond differently to treatment and supplementation and the body's response to additional CoQ10 in the system can take time. Don't be surprised if you don't see results right away, as it may take more than eight weeks to see some benefit from therapy. Most people take about 150 to 300 mg per day for supplementation of organ function, but only about 10-30 mg per day is required for anti-aging benefits.
Another option is a comprehensive supplement that helps the body naturally produce more CoQ10. This is perhaps the best way to ensure that your body has the CoQ10 it needs to function properly, as many individual Coenzyme Q10 supplements are subpar.
If you are interested in a comprehensive supplement with vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that can help your body produce CoQ10 naturally, take a look at Total Balance, which provides numerous health benefits in addition to assisting in CoQ10 production.
Until next time, here's to your health!
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