The substance Coenzyme Q10 has many properties that make it a logical nutritional supplement for athletes in training and for normal healthy people who exercise to stay fit. Coenzyme Q10 supplements should help to improve exercise capacity and reduce the oxidative stress, muscle damage, and inflammation caused by strenuous exercise [Sarmiento].
The oxidized form of Coenzyme Q10 – ubiquinone – is essential for cellular production of ATP energy[Littarru].
The reduced form of Coenzyme Q10 – ubiquinol – is an important fat-soluble antioxidantprotecting the cells and the mitochondria (and proteins and DNA) against the damage caused by harmful free radicals [Bentinger].
Coenzyme Q10 promotes good endothelial function in the blood vessels [Belardinelli].
Coenzyme Q10 supplementation is associated with reduced levels of bio-markers for inflammation [Fan; Zhai].
Starting in our 20s, the bio-synthesis of Coenzyme Q10 declines with increasing age; thus, the need for CoQ10 supplements [Kalén].
CoQ10 and Exercise Study Results Inconsistent
But nothing is ever as straightforward as it seems. Until now (February 2020), the results from intervention studies of Coenzyme Q10 supplementation of athletes and healthy people taking exercise have not been as solid as the results from CoQ10 adjuvant treatment in other conditions have been:
In the previous article on this site, we discussed substances that can counteract or inhibit the bio-synthesis or absorption or efficacy of Coenzyme Q10. Today we want to look at substances that might actually boost the bio-synthesis or absorption or efficacy of Coenzyme Q10.
Among the substances we want to consider are the following nutritional supplements:
As consumers of Coenzyme Q10 supplements, we must be ultra-careful in evaluating the marketing claims for CoQ10 absorption and efficacy. The nutritional supplements market is a largely unregulated one. It is up to us to do due diligence before buying a CoQ10 product.
All of the CoQ10 products on the market are not equally good. There is very considerable variability in the formulation and solubilization of Coenzyme Q10 with the result that there is also great variability in the absorption and bio-availability of Coenzyme Q10. It is important to remember that the less expensive CoQ10 product is not a good buy if we do not absorb any or much of the active ingredient.
Two independent meta-analyses of the available research literature have shown that Coenzyme Q10 supplementation is associated with healthy levels of bio-markers for chronic systemic inflammation [Zhai 2017; Fan 2017].
Chronic inflammation – a persistent low-grade inflammation – can have deleterious effects throughout the body. Over time, it can result in tissue damage.
Chronic inflammation is something different from acute inflammation, which is the immune system’s short-term response to an injury or an infection.
Chronic low-grade inflammation has been linked to increased risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and metabolic disorders [Zhai 2017].
The extent of chronic low-grade inflammation can be measured by testing for the blood levels of known bio-markers for inflammation [Zhai 2017].
Coenzyme Q10 Effect on Tumor Necrosis Factor-Alpha
Zhai et al analyzed nine randomized controlled trials enrolling 428 study participants. The results of their analysis showed that CoQ10 supplementation significantly improved the serum concentration of Coenzyme Q10 by 1.17 micrograms per milliliter on average compared to placebo treatment [Zhai].
Heart failure is what happens when the heart is no longer able to pump out blood as strongly as it should. It occurs when the heart is too weak or too stiff to fill up with blood and pump out blood efficiently. It is characterized by reduced functional capacity and reduced quality of life:
Reduced ability to exercise and do work
Shortness of breath
Swelling in the lower extremities
Weakness and fatigue from exertion
Heart failure is one of the most costly medical conditions in terms of complications and hospitalizations. The costs of medical care for heart failure patients is expected to rise from $30 billion per year in 2018 to nearly $70 million by 2030 [Bhatt & Butler 2018].
We have over 30 years of evidence from published clinical trials showing that the ubiquinone form of Coenzyme Q10 supplementation is safe, well-tolerated, and effectiveas an adjuvant treatment for heart disease patients. The ubiquinone form of Coenzyme Q10 is also stable and affordable.
It is important to remember that Coenzyme Q10 supplements vary considerably in their absorption and bio-availability. A recent comparison study has shown that the formulation of the supplement – the composition of the carrier oils and the heating/cooling process – is more important for absorption and bio-availability than the form of the supplement (ubiquinone or ubiquinol) is [Lopez-Lluch 2019].
Coenzyme Q10 is a bio-nutrient essential to the process of ATP energy generation in the cells. It is also an important fat-soluble antioxidant. It helps to maintain proper endothelial function regulating vascular contraction and relaxation and regulating the enzymes that control blood clotting, immune function, and platelet adhesion. It has anti-inflammatory properties [Littarru 2010]. Our primary source of Coenzyme Q10 is our bodies’ bio-synthesis of the substance. Our food contributes considerably less Coenzyme Q10.
Organ fibrosis has been estimated to be a factor in up to 50% of all-cause human deaths [Hargreaves & Mantle].
Effective treatments for fibrosis in senior citizens are not available at present [Hargreaves & Mantle].
Coenzyme Q10 and Senior Citizens
Coenzyme Q10 has important biological roles in humans:
Coenzyme Q10 is an essential co-factor in the cellular process of ATP energy generation [Belardinelli].
Coenzyme Q10 is an important fat-soluble antioxidant, neutralizing the harmful effects of free radicals in lipid environments and reducing the extent of oxidative stress [Belardinelli].
Coenzyme Q10 has a beneficial effect on the endothelial cells that regulate the contraction and relaxation of the blood vessels and regulate such processes as blood clotting, immune function, and platelet adhesion [Belardinelli].
Coenzyme Q10 reduces the blood levels of bio-markers for inflammation, indicating that Coenzyme Q10 may have anti-inflammatory properties [Hargreaves & Mantle].
Decreasing CoQ10 Bio-Synthesis with Increasing Age
The major source of Coenzyme Q10 in humans is the endogenous bio-synthesis of the substance.
Once we humans reach our 20s, most of us begin to synthesize less Coenzyme Q10 as we get older [Hargreaves & Mantle].
Daily supplementation is necessary [Hargreaves & Mantle].
Not all CoQ10 supplements are equally well formulated. The formulation of the CoQ10 supplement plays a vital role in CoQ10 absorption and bio-availability [Lopez-Lluch].
Cardiovascular Fibrosis and Senior Citizens
Post-mortem analysis has revealed that, in the normal ageing process, the collagen content providing structural support for heart muscle’s contractile cells increases approximately 50% from the third decade to the seventh decade of life[Hargreaves & Mantle].
Absorption of the Coenzyme Q10 in commercial nutritional supplements varies considerably. The dissolution of the CoQ10 crystals and the absorption of the Coenzyme Q10 molecules depend upon the composition of the oil matrix and the formulation of the CoQ10 nutritional supplement. The manufacturer of a CoQ10 supplement must deal with raw material that is very difficult to work with.
Coenzyme Q10 Soluble in Lipids at Higher Temperatures
Coenzyme Q10 is practically insoluble in water but is soluble in lipids; however, no individual lipids have been found in which 100 milligrams of Coenzyme Q10 can be dissolved so that the dissolved Coenzyme Q10 molecules inside the nutritional supplement capsules will not re-crystallize at normal storage temperatures: typically, between 60 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
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