The Collison Newsletter September 2008

                                  COENZYME Q10 *


CoEnzyme Q10 is produced by the human body and is necessary for the functioning of all cells. CoEnzyme Q10 levels decrease with age and are said to be low in patients with diseases such as heart conditions, muscular dystrophies, Parkinson’s disease, cancer, diabetes and HIV/AIDS. Some prescription drugs may also lower CoEnzyme Q10 levels.

CoEnzyme Q10 is a benzoquinone, where CoEnzyme Q10 refers to the quinone chemical group, and 10 refers to the isoprenyl chemical subunits.

It is a fat-soluble, vitamin-like substance present in most human cells except red cells and eye lens cells (ie, present in human cells except those that have no mitochondria) and is responsible for the production of the body’s own energy. In human cells, food is converted into energy in the mitochondria with the aid of CoEnzyme Q10.


Ninety-five percent of all the human body’s energy requirements is converted with the aid of CoEnzyme Q10. Therefore those organs with the highest energy requirements, such as the heart and liver, have the highest CoEnzyme Q10 concentrations.


Because of its ability to transfer electrons, and therefore act an antioxidant, CoEnzyme Q10 is also used as a dietary supplement. When you are younger, the body can synthesise CoEnzyme Q10 from the lower numbered ubiquinones such as Q6 or Q8. The sick and elderly may not be able to make enough, thus Q10 becomes a “vitamin” later in life and during illness.


CoEnzyme Q10 also has no known toxicity. Side effects, if they occur, are uncommon and typically mild and brief. They include nausea and stomach upset, headache, dizziness and irritability.


In the early 1980’s, there was a considerable acceleration in the number and size of clinical trials. These resulted in part from the availability of pure CoEnzyme Q10 in large quantities from pharmaceutical companies in Japan and from the capacity to measure CoEnzyme Q10 directly in the blood and tissues by high performance liquid chromatography.


Although CoEnzyme Q10 is found in many foods, only organ meats (especially fresh heart tissue) contain significant amounts. However most people do not eat these foods and they are not recommended. CoEnzyme Q10 also occurs in mackerel and herring.


Hence the importance of taking CoEnzyme Q10 as a supplement.

Uses and Efficacy 

CoEnzyme Q10’s wide-ranging cellular properties implicate it for the potential treatment of numerous conditions that may improve with mitochondrial and antioxidant support.


CoEnzyme Q10 has been used, recommended or studied for many disease states but there is a level of controversy in some areas.

Uses Based on Scientific Evidence 

·        CoEnzyme Q10 Deficiency.

CoEnzyme Q10 is normally produced by the human body. Deficiency may occur in patients with impaired CoEnzyme Q10 biosynthesis due to severe metabolic or mitochondrial disorders, not enough dietary CoEnzyme Q10 intake or because too much CoEnzyme Q10 is used by the body. Depending on the cause of the CoEnzyme Q10 deficiency, supplementation or increased dietary intake of CoEnzyme Q10 may be effective.

·        Cardiovascular Indications.

CoEnzyme Q10 is concentrated in heart muscle. Its role in the heart makes sense: the heart is one of the body’s most energetic organs, beating some 100,000 times a day and 36 million times a year, and it depends on CoEnzyme Q10 for its bioenergetics.

Cardiovascular conditions that have been shown to improve with, or be helped by, CoEnzyme Q10 include cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure and hypertension.

·        Neurological Indications.

Studies in the effect of CoEnzyme Q10 in Parkinson’s disease and migraine have shown a reduction in functional decline in those with Parkinson’s disease and a reduction in the frequency of migraine attacks.

·        Diabetes Mellitus.

A recent randomized controlled trial has confirmed the belief that CoEnzyme Q10 improves glycaemic control through various mechanisms, including a decrease in oxidative stress.

·        Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

This diagnosis is made when fatigue has been present for at least six months and all known causes of fatigue have been excluded. Multiple other symptoms are generally present also. CoEnzyme Q10 can give improved exercise capacity and more rapid recovery after exercise.

·        Age.

As indicated above, supplements would seem to be worth considering with increasing age, especially if lack of energy is significant.

Continuing Research 

·        Cancer.

Anecdotal evidence suggests CoEnzyme Q10 can benefit those with cancer. The evidence at this stage is poor and further research is needed.

·        Other Conditions

Research continues with several phase II trials underway to clarify CoEnzyme Q10’s potential contribution in the treatment of conditions such as muscular dystrophy, breast cancer, HIV/AIDS, periodontal disease and Alzheimer’s disease.

Inhibition of CoEnzyme Q10 by Drugs 

CoEnzyme Q10 shares a common biosynthetic pathway with cholesterol. The synthesis of an intermediate precursor of CoEnzyme Q10, mevalonate, is inhibited by some beta blockers, blood pressure lowering medications, and the statin drugs (a class of cholesterol-lowering drugs). Statins can reduce serum levels of CoEnzyme Q10 by up to 40%


Some research suggests the logical option of supplementation with CoEnzyme Q10 as a routine adjunct to any treatment that may reduce endogenous production of CoEnzyme Q10.


The majority of CoEnzyme Q10 products are synthesised in Japan, through fermentation of yeast strains. It is available in various formulations, with research demonstrating variation in bioavailability and dosage consistency. It is thus worthwhile to select a brand that has passed independent testing for product purity and consistency.


·        Dosage for adults

50-1200 milligrams of CoEnzyme Q10 have been taken, in divided doses, by mouth daily. For example:

Ř      Parkinson’s disease: 300-1200 mg per day in 4 divided doses

Ř      Cardiovascular: 50-200 mg per day

Ř      Diabetes: 100-200 mg per day

Ř      Other indications: 50-100 mg per day.

·        Dosage for children (under 18 years)

25-50 mg per day dependant on body mass.


As we age, our levels of CoEnzyme Q10 naturally diminish. Even if we do our very best to eat wholesome unprocessed foods, our body’s capability to produce CoEnzyme Q10, critical to our energy production, declines over time. Hence one very important reason for using a CoEnzyme Q10 supplement is to help boost our body’s fundamental energy level.


Dr Joseph Mercola, writing about CoEnzyme Q10 (, summarised the benefits of supplemental CoEnzyme Q10 as follows:

·        helps you produce more energy for your cells

·        boosts your heart health

·        acts as an antioxidant to help protect you from free radicals

·        helps you reduce the signs of normal aging

·        helps you maintain blood pressure within the normal range

·        provides a boost to your immune system

·        supports your nervous system

·        must be taken if a statin drug is taken.  


* Copyright 2008: The Huntly Centre.

Disclaimer:  All material on the website is provided for informational or educational purposes only. Consult a health professional regarding the applicability of any opinions or recommendations expressed herein, with respect to your symptoms or medical condition.


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