As with many supplements there are advocates and sceptics and Coenzyme Q10 is no exception. There are many people however, who take Q10 on a daily basis that feel that this “vitamin” is a super nutrient.
Many people believe that Q10 can slow the progress of Parkinson’s disease, stabilise blood sugar levels in diabetics, improve circulation and stamina as well as prevent degenerative diseases of the eye. There is some question as to whether taking the nutrient in supplemental form is actually as effective as claimed but there is evidence, which shows that taking Q10 can support the heart.
What is coenzyme Q10?
The body actually naturally produces this compound and it is found in every human cell as well as in most foods in small amounts.
It is a member of a family of compounds called quinones and because it primarily works with enzymes in the body it is called coenzyme Q10. It is particularly abundant in cells of the body that require a great deal of energy, such as the heart muscle and it also works as an extremely powerful antioxidant preventing free radical damage.
The body produces most of the Q10 we need but also synthesizes from certain foods that we eat. These include: fresh sardines and mackerel, the heart, liver, beef, lamb, pork and eggs.
What are the researched health benefits?
Congestive hearth failure.
In certain countries such as Canada, Sweden and Japan, a large proportion of the population with heart problems take Q10. There is evidence to support supplementation in cases of congestive heart failure and blocked arteries and in a recent study there was definitely a reduction in accompanying symptoms. Over 80% of the 2,500 members of the trial experienced a reduction in swollen ankles, breathing difficulties and sleep problems. It did not cure the problem but certainly improved the quality of life for the sufferers.
There have been other studies that have not shown quite such a clear cut benefit from taking Q10, but I feel that so many of these studies are not conclusive anyway, as too many other factors are simply not taken into consideration.
Angina and arrhythmias.
There is evidence to suggest that tak- ing Q10 might reduce the frequency of painful angina attacks and also relieve the stress on the heart helping to sta- bilise heart rhythms.
Several studies have indicated that taking Q10 may help prevent and treat cancers of the prostate and breast. There is no clear explanation as yet but it is believed that the antioxidant effect of Q10 may boost the body’s own immune system thereby limiting the spread of the cancerous cells.
High blood pressure.
It is thought that over 35% of patients with very high blood pressure are deficient in Q10 and that by taking a supplement on a daily basis they may help lower not only the blood pressure but also help protect themselves from the effects of the disease.
Degenerative brain disease.
Some interesting studies are being conducted on Alzheimer’s disease and the possible benefit of anyone over the age of 50 taking Q10 as a supplement. It is thought to slow down the progres- sion of the disease, possibly due to its antioxidant effect on the brain cells. There is certainly a reduction in the body’s own production of Q10 once we get into middle age and apart from increasing energy levels as we age it may well also help us hang onto our short term memories.
Q10 and cholesterol lowering drugs.
Prescribed medication such as Statins for high cholesterol levels not only restrict the production of cholesterol by the liver but also block the production of Coenzyme Q10. As Q10 is so important to the body in a great many ways it would seem sensible to supplement with the nutrient when taking these drugs. However, always consult your doctor before doing so.
Other reasons for taking Q10.
Around the world millions of people are taking Q10 for a host of reasons apart from the ones that I have already mentioned. These include anti-ageing, Chronic Fatigue, Fibrosis, Fibromyalgia, Male Infertility, Multiple sclerosis, Skin health and Weight loss.
It can be expensive so it is best to shop around and as always if you are taking any prescribed medication for blood pressure or heart disease do talk to your doctor first.
©sallycronin Just Food for Health 2007