Monday, January 28, 2008

CoEnzyme Q: "The Little Engine That Can"

Coenzyme Q (CoQ) is a staple for cardiovascular disease therapy in Japan, Europe and Russia. It is a vitamin like compound that is present in most cells of the body. The heart, liver, kidney and pancreas have especially high concentrations of CoQ. It is fat soluble and is a potent antioxidant. It is a membrane stabilizer (keeps the cell healthy and intact), it's a cofactor in metabolic pathways (a necessary enzyme in biochemical reactions in the cell) particularly in the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) in oxidative respiration (basically it plays an essential role in cell energy production).

The CoQ that is formulated in soybean oil appears to have superior bioavailability(easily absorbed by the body) compared to other formulations. Coenzyme Q increases HDL (good cholesterol), vitamin E, vitamin C, and actually decreases LDL (bad cholesterol).

So why and when do we need to supplement CoQ? Well the why is pretty evident. It is essential for overall good health. Coenzyme Q levels decline with age, declines with certain diseases(Congestive Heart Failure, Hypertension, Periodontal disease, certain muscular diseases and AIDS), and declines when taking certain drugs(such as beta-blockers and statins which are cholesterol lowering drugs; these drugs block the synthesis of cholesterol as well as CoQ).

In addition to the diseases already mentioned, CoQ supplementation may be beneficial in the following diseases as well: Parkinson's and Huntington's. It appears that these diseases might be caused by impaired function of the mitochondrial electron transport chain and particularly the mitochondrial enzymes, Complex I and Complex II (the mitochondria is like the cell's engine, the place where all the energy is produced).

CoQ might also prevent cardiotoxicity caused by phenothiazines (certain antipsychotics), tricyclicantidepressants, doxorubicin (chemotherapy). Some studies show that it may have some immunostimulatory activity in breast cancer.

It may also help in reducing migraine severity and increase exercise tolerance as well as helping with fatigue in Multiple Sclerosis.

As you can see there are various scenarios in which serum levels of CoQ are reduced and you can also see how important and essential it is to overall health. Every reaction in our body requires energy and CoQ is an essential part of that process. Dosing varies depending on which condition is being treated. Generally it is dosed at 100-200mg per day.

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