COENZYME Q (CoQ10, UBIQUINONE)
CoQ10, is a fat soluble enzyme that we can generally synthesize in the body. Synthesis of CoQ10 involves the amino acids tyrosine or phenylalanine, the addition of a side chain by acetyl-coenzyme A (CoA) and the enzyme hydroxymethyglutaminase (HMG) – CoA reductase, which requires adequate vitamin B6. CoQ10 also known as ubiquinone for it’s presence in all living cell membranes and liposomes, is able to donate and accept electrons, hence it’s powerful antioxidant function. It is involved:
- As an antioxidant in cell membranes and lipoproteins.
- Is required for mitochondrial ATP production (essential for cellular energy).
- Is protective against cardiovascular diseases as it inhibits lipid peroxidation.
- Is protective against neurodegenerative diseases protecting cell membranes and DNA from lipid peroxidation, and can neutralize free radicals.
- Is depleted by the use of statins (should be part of the management of anyone taking statins).
SYMPTOMS OF DEFICIENCY
Coenzyme Q10 deficiency has been recently reported to be associated with 5 major clinical presentations:
- Encephalopathy (meaning reduced brain function).
- Severe infantile multisystemic disease (a very ill infant with neurological, muscular and developmental disabilities).
- Nephropathy (kidney problems).
- Cerebellar ataxia (poor gait and coordination based at the cerebellum.
- Myopathy (muscle weakness, can affect the heart muscle or large muscles of walking etc.)
In addition to the above general categories of deficiency, that affect mostly nervous and muscular systems, low CoQ10 has been associated with aging in general, diabetes, cancer, congestive heart failure, use of statins for cholesterol and lipid management, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, and Friedreich’s Ataxia. Deficiency seems to be associated with worse immune function especially with HIV patients, decreased sperm motility for male infertility, exercise tolerance for heart patients, and it may be related to migraines. Given its important role in membranes and as an antioxidant, I’m sure we will continue to identify other health issues that can benefit from adequate or optimal CoQ10 function.
The major sources for coenzyme Q10 are meats, poultry and fish, with moderate amounts in soy, canola, and nuts. Broccoli, cauliflower, and oranges are the vegetable and fruit best sources. Heat can destroy most of the CoQ10 activity, especially frying at high temperatures.
Beef (3 ozs) 2.6
Trout/herring (3 ozs) 0.9-2.3
Chicken (3 oz) 1.4
Soy/canola oil (1 TBS) 1-1.3
Nuts / seeds (1 oz) 0.6-0.8
Cauliflower/broccoli (1/2 cup 0.4-0.5
Supplements are generally given at 30-200 mg / day in adults.
SAFETY AND TOXICITY
There are not safety studies for pregnancy and children, so supplements should be avoided unless actual deficiency has been determined and you are under the care of physician. Symptoms of toxicity include nausea, diarrhea, decreased appetite, heart burn, and abdominal discomfort which have been seen at doses of 600-1200 mg daily when used for over 2-3 years. CoQ10 has been known to lower blood sugars.
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