What is Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)?
Coenzyme Q10 was first discovered in 1957 at the Enzyme Institute of the University of Wisconsin when Dr. Frederick Crane isolated the compound from a beef heart. Further research revealed that Coenzyme Q10, also known as CoQ10, occurs naturally in the tissues of almost all plants and animals, including humans. This fat soluble substance is used by cells to extract energy from food. The ability of our vital organs (the heart, liver, kidneys and others organs) to function properly depends on receiving and maintaining a sufficient supply of CoQ10 to provide and sustain energy.
Chemically, Coenzyme Q10 is actually a two-part compound that is composed of (1) a long, fat-soluble isoprenoid tail that anchors the molecule in the inner membrane of the mitochondria and (2) a quinone that is capable of accepting and transferring electrons through a portion of the respiratory chain. The "Q" stands for quinone and the "10" stands for the number of isoprenoid units in the tail portion of the molecule. Mammals generally have 10 isoprenoid units in the tail portion, but other non-mammalian species may have fewer units. The mitochondria produce large amounts of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which helps cells perform work. Research indicates that CoQ10 is effective in treating patients with known mitochondrial disorders.
This essential nutrient is also known as "ubiquinone," which comes from a word meaning "ubiquitous." - is an appropriate name for a nutrient that is found almost everywhere. Coenzyme Q10 is recognized as a crucial component in the process in the mitochondria that converts the energy in carbohydrates and fatty acids into the fuel necessary to drive cellular machinery and synthesis in the body.2 In addition to the important process which provides energy, CoQ10 also stabilizes cell membranes and acts as an antioxidant. In this capacity, it destroys free radicals, the unstable molecules that can cause damage to normal cells in the body.
Clinical studies and anecdotal reports have provided Coenzyme Q10 information for over forty years. Coenzyme Q10 was first identified in 1957, and has been widely researched and has been used extensively in Canada, Europe, Japan, and Russia to treat congestive heart failure. Coenzyme Q10 is one of the primary treatments for cardiovascular disease in Japan for approximately 12 million people based on the evidence established by Folkers et al., showing that CoQ10 levels were decreased in patients with heart disease., This practice is supported by several studies, including one multi-center study conducted to test the efficacy and safety of coenzyme Q10 in Italy involving 201 cardiologists and 165 interns. This study was used to test the efficacy of CoQ10 as supplementary therapy in patients with heart failure. Coenzyme Q10 was added to the 1715 patients cardiovascular therapy at dose of 50mg per day. The results of the study showed significant improvement in their blood pressure and heart rate. Physicians who participated the study rated the treatment efficacy of CoQ10 as excellent to good for 71.1% of the patients.
Another study conducted in Denmark that involved 22 patients found that the stroke index at rest and work improved significantly for the patients who received CoQ10. The pulmonary artery pressure at rest and work decreased (significantly at rest), and the pulmonary capillary wedge pressure at rest and work decreased (significantly at 1 min work). These results suggest improvement in the performance of the heart. The authors of the study concluded that "patients with congestive heart failure may thus benefit from adjunctive treatment with coenzyme Q10."