End-of-the-year Coenzyme Q10 report card

Coenzyme Q10 as a nutritional supplement – if properly formulated – gets an A grade for performance.  Coenzyme Q10 goes right to the head of the class on our list of daily nutritional supplements, right up there with vitamin D capsules, organic high-selenium yeast tablets, and fish oil capsules (if we don’t eat as much fish as we should).

As the fall semester 2017 drew to a close, I reviewed the published bio-medical documentation and assigned some performance grades to the nutritional supplement Coenzyme Q10. As might be expected of an “essential bio-nutrient,” Coenzyme Q10 maintained an exemplary grade point average.

Properly formulated Coenzyme Q10 supplements

Right.  We want to get a supplement made with pharmaceutical-grade Coenzyme Q10 and manufactured under conditions of pharmaceutical control. We want a Coenzyme Q10 supplement that meets the following criteria:

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Interview with Dr. Judy: the need for Coenzyme Q10

Q.  Good morning, Dr. Judy.  You have talked with us about the safety of Coenzyme Q10 supplements, and you have told us that the formulation of the supplement is decisive for the absorption of Coenzyme Q10.  Shouldn’t we talk today about why we adults need daily Coenzyme Q10 supplements?

Coenzyme Q10 molecules are redox molecules.  Ubiquinone can accept electrons, and ubiquinol can donate electrons.   Oxireductase enzymes catalyze ubiquinone’s accepting electrons.  Free radicals take electrons from ubiquinol and become stable.

A.  Yes, indeed.  Coenzyme Q10 is very much needed and, at the same time, very little known by most people.  Our bodies produce Coenzyme Q10 –called ubiquinone –, and Coenzyme Q10 is found in all of our cells except the red blood cells.  That should tell us something.

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Coenzyme Q10 and the energy starved heart

The number of bean-shaped mitochondria in our cells varies according to the energy needs of the various organs. The cells in organs with high energy needs, e.g. the heart, the liver, the skeletal muscle, will have greater numbers of mitochondria than will the cells of less active organs, e.g. the skin.  Adequate supply of Coenzyme Q10 is necessary to keep the mitochondria actively producing ATP molecules.

Cellular respiration is the name for the process by which the ATP molecules are produced inside the mitochondria in our cells.  Coenzyme Q10 in its oxidized form is an essential component in this process of energy production.

Fewer Coenzyme Q10 molecules in the mitochondria inevitably mean less ATP energy production.  Fewer ATP molecules mean less energy for our cells. 

Heart muscle cells with low Coenzyme Q10 concentrations and with fewer ATP molecules produced make for an energy starved heart.

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Coenzyme Q10 improves chronic fatigue syndrome symptoms

Tired woman at computer
Fatigue.  Loss of memory and concentration. Sleep that does not refresh you.   Feeling of exhaustion lasting 24 hours or more.  These are symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome. Supplementation with a well-documented Coenzyme Q10 supplement can help.

Some very interesting studies of the treatment of chronic fatigue syndrome patients with oral Coenzyme Q10 supplements have revealed improved symptoms for as long as the treatment continued. What happened in these studies?

The chronic fatigue syndrome patients in these studies had abnormally low plasma and tissue (leg muscle) Coenzyme Q10 concentrations at baseline.  Oral administration of a well-formulated Coenzyme Q10 dissolved in vegetable oil resulted in significant increases in plasma and tissue Coenzyme Q10 levels.

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Coenzyme Q10 and chronic fatigue syndrome

Tired woman
Patients diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome have abnormally low plasma (and muscle tissue) Coenzyme Q10 concentrations. Supplementation with a well-formulated Coenzyme Q10 preparation improves symptoms.

Chronic fatigue syndrome is a complicated illness.  As its name states, it is a chronic condition, and it is characterized by a debilitating fatigue.  The fatigue may be exacerbated by physical or mental exertion.  Strangely enough, the fatigue is not alleviated by rest or relaxation [Mayo Clinic].

The cause of chronic fatigue syndrome is still unknown.  The major symptom, the chronic fatigue, is also seen in such related conditions as myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) and systemic exertion intolerance disease (SEID) [Mayo Clinic].

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