by Danielle Creeksong
In these days of screaming headlines,
it’s important to be cautious of anything that makes claims that seem a bit
much to believe. And yet, in taking time to check the claims for CoQ10, you will
find decades of research and medical studies from many countries around the
world. First discovered in 1957, CoQ10 is a nutrient that has since been found
to be beneficial for a surprising variety of health problems: the reversal of
gum disease, aiding in weight loss, reduction of high blood pressure,
strengthening of the heart without exercise, protecting/healing the heart from
cardiovascular problems and disease, ability to speed healing after surgeries
(especially heart surgery) and boosting the immune system by increasing strength
in the immune cells already present. Shown in some studies to be able to slow
the shrinkage of the thymus gland (an important immune system organ which
produces T-cells for destroying invading germs and viruses), there is the
potential for CoQ10 to extend the average life span as well, since our thymus
typically shrinks dramatically as we age. CoQ10 is also being researched on AIDS
and cancer patients, and has already been shown to reverse the suppression of
the immune system caused by chemotherapy.
So how can CoQ10 possibly effect so many different kinds of healing? To better understand this, we need to go back to a word from high school biology that you may have forgotten: adenosine triphosphate, also known as ATP. ATP, occurring in every cell of your body, serves as a source of energy for many of your body’s biochemical processes and represents the reserve energy in your muscles. Your heart for example being a muscle that is continually in motion, needs a constant supply of ATP. With this in mind here is where the importance of CoQ10 comes into play: ATP cannot be produced without CoQ10; it is the catalyst for its creation! This means that CoQ10 plays a vital role in the inner workings of your body and, for obvious reasons, is found in highest concentration in the heart.
Where does CoQ10 come from? Our bodies are able to produce some of the CoQ10 that we need. The rest is synthesized from the foods we eat. The highest dietary sources of CoQ10 come from (in descending order according to content): fresh sardines and mackerel; the heart and liver of beef, pork and lamb; and the meats of beef and pork, along with eggs. There are plenty of vegetable sources of CoQ10, the richest currently known being spinach, broccoli, peanuts, wheat germ and whole grains -in that order although the amount in size is significantly smaller than that found in meats. Also, it is important to note that these foods must be fresh and unprocessed (no milling, canning, freezing, preserving, etc.), plus grown/produced in an unpolluted environment to be considered viable sources. Since many foods have not yet been tested for CoQ10 quantity, be sure to keep abreast of the latest information regarding newly researched food sources for this nutrient.
How can I know if I'm getting enough? With no established RDA for CoQ10 at this time and no research to reveal as to whether the average diet contains adequate amounts, it is important to consider a number of factors to help judge your personal need for this nutrient: your age (our ability to synthesize CoQ10 from foods diminishes with age), dietary choices (whether or not you eat beef-heart and liver, for example; or if you are vegetarian, vegan or choosing to reduce cholesterol and fat in your diet: thus changing your main intake of CoQ10 to vegetable sources), whether or not your diet contains a goodly amount of grains in their whole, unprocessed form (the stripping of the bran and germ from grains removes much of the CoQ10 -even milling whole grains into flour causes loss), plus the amount of stress, disease or pollution you deal with in your daily life. With these factors in mind, it is important to personally research the amounts available in foods you eat.
What should I look for if I choose to supplement? When choosing CoQ10 in a supplement form it is important to look for purity and digestibility. The CoQ10 found in supplement form is prepared through an extraction and replication of vegetable sources, rather than being synthetically manufactured.
CoQ10 is primarily offered in a capsule form containing a yellow-orange powder. Tablet form, much less digestible, is not recommended. Check the label for clarity regarding the milligrams of CoQ10 actually available in each capsule, as a lower-priced brand may be using fillers. Another form worth investigating was recently developed by the Cell-Tech company. They offer capsules containing CoQ10 emulsified in flax seed oil to increase its absorbency. Since studies have shown CoQ10 to be at least 3-5 times more assimilable when taken in emulsified form as opposed to the capsuled powder -this might well be your best buy.
With scientists believing that they have barely begun to unlock its potentials, many people around the world (over ten million in Japan alone) do take CoQ10 in supplement form, which has been proven to be non-toxic. However, it is important to consult your health practitioner before using it to treat medical conditions, and if pregnant or nursing.
For milligram content of CoQ10 in foods, plus extensive research documentation, read The Miracle Nutrient, COENZYME Q10, by Emile G. Bliznakov, M.D.