Sunday, July 24, 2016

COENZYME Q10 : The Cellular Spark Plug by Jerry Brainum

Coenzyme Q10 is a naturally occurring chemical which is also known as "ubiquinone". It derives the latter designation because of the fact that it is literally found in every form of life.

Because of it's ubiquitous nature, and the fact that it is found in such common foods as beef, sardines,spinach and peanuts, it has in the past been virtually ignored by most medical professionals.

However,recent research indicates that this essential biochemical is not as easily obtained from the diet as previously thought. A 75% deficiency of this substance in the body will lead to death, but disease states are thought to occur with as little as a 25% deficiency.

The importance of Coq10 lies in the fact that it plays an essential role in the processing of oxygen in the body. This process eventually, through a series of complicated steps, leads to the production of Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP). ATP is the immediate energy source of every process in the body. Very simply,without ATP there is no energy and it doesn't take a great scientist to realize that no energy equals no life.

The pivotal role that Coq10 plays in cellular energy production takes place in the " cellular powerplant "-the mitochondria. Fully 95% of all energy production occurs in the numerous cigar-shaped mitochondria located in every cell in the area known as the cytoplasm.

This exact process is known to physiologists as the " electron transport-system." In a series of enzymatically-catalyzed steps, electrons are passed along from chemical to chemical, a sort of cellular " bucket-brigade" ultimately resulting in the production of precious ATP.

Coenzyme Q's essential role in cellular energy production has far reaching effects on numerous body systems, and recent research indicates it could be used as a treatment for diseases ranging from heart disease to immune system dysfunction.

To illustrate just how vital this recent research is, the Russian government actually established a research facility solely to research CoQ10. It's called the Quinone Research Institute and it's located in the city of Kiev.

The Russians obviously are impressed with the considerable biological-potential associated with Coq10.

It's not just the Russians either. There have been thus far four international symposiums conducted on Coq10, the last one being held in Martinsfried, West Germany in 1983.

The information which was presented at these symposiums has exciting implications for everyone interested in maintaining optimal health and energy levels. Exactly what this new information is forms the crux of this article.


No, the quinone family is not a tough looking group who speak with Brooklyn accents. Rather, it consists of several brightly colored organic compounds.

Vitamin k, best known for it's essential role in the blood-clotting process, is also a Quinone. Interestingly enough, in plants Vitamin K performs the exact same function as Coenzyme Q does in higher forms of life

The famous Vitamin E also has a chemical structure quite similar to the Quinone, although it is technically not a quinone but rather an organic alcohol.

Like Vitamin E, Coenzyme Q10 is a potent antioxidant, and as such it has been said to possess life extension properties. Bliznakov Et al reported in 1978 that when CoQ is given to female mice it extended their normal lifespans by 56% . This would be the equivalent of a human living to the age of 140! Equally important was the fact that these particular mice showed none of the usual signs of advanced aging.

Although there are several forms of CoQ such as CoQ7, CoQ8, CoQ9 Etc , only CoQ10 has any biological activity in human beings. As a person consumes the various forms of CoQ in food, the liver reassembles them into CoQ10. If the liver is unable to perform this vital function, and new evidence indicates it gradually becomes less efficient at this function with increasing age, a gradual slowdown in the bodies production of CoQ10 can result, with a concomitant decrease in cellular energy production.

The organs most affected by this "energy slowdown" are those that have high energy requirements such as the heart and liver. Considering this fact, it's no surprise that the heart and liver contain the highest quantities of CoQ10 in the body.

CoQ10 was actually discovered back in 1957 in beef heart mitochondria.


As was noted previously, the heart tissues contain by far the greatest quantities of CoQ10 in the human body. This is attributed to the heart's huge expenditure of energy.

Statistics indicate that the prevalence of heart disease increases with age. At the same time , the ability of the body to absorb CoQ10 from food declines.

The chief cause of death due to heart disease is actually atherosclerosis, with accounts for 76% of morality due to heart disease. fully 56% of all deaths in the United States are the result of some from of heart disease.

Much of the research on Coq10 has focused on it's role in the treatment of a specific type of heart disease known as congestive heart failure (CHF).

In actual fact,the heart does not really fail, for if it did the person so afflicted would die in about 6 minutes. Heart failure is really a weakening of the heart  "pumping power". It is very often the result of long standing untreated high blood pressure. The constant stress placed on the heart by such a condition eventually causes the heart muscle to "wear out ".

Dr. Karl Folkers, a respected biochemical researcher at the University of Texas Medical School reasoned that if Coq10 is so intimately involved in energy production in the cell (bioenergetics) and since cardiac tissue seems to be loaded with the stuff-could it be that people with weak hearts were somehow deficient in this chemical?

To get the answer, Dr. Folkers obtained 32 heart tissue samples taken from biopsies performed by famed Texas heart surgeon, Dr. Denton Cooley. Sure enough, fully 75% of these heart patients showed varying degrees of coq10 deficiency in their heart tissues.

Dr. Folkers then reviewed medical studies performed in Japan; 25 papers that involved reports from 110 physicians in 41 medical institutions done over a period of 9 years all pointed to an extremely gratifying response following the administration of CoQ10 to people suffering from congestive heart failure. These therapeutic benefits occurred in over 70% of these patients, leading Dr. Folkers to note " I believe it is quite possible that cardiovascular disease may be very significantly caused by a deficiency of CoQ10."

In a clinical experiment comparing CoQ with conventional treatment for CHF (i.e, Digitalis, Diuretics, vasodilators) a 75% survival rate after a period of 36 months was noted in the group receiving CoQ with conventional therapy. Those receiving ONLY conventional therapy had a 25% survival rate.

 A more recent study published in the American Journal of Cardiology indicated that CoQ10 brought considerable relief to patients suffering from the pain in the chest associated with advanced atherosclerosis known as Angina.

What all the research points to is the fact that weak hearts seem to have a deficiency of CoQ10, and because of this the heart muscle cannot function with optimal power, resulting in a congestive type of heart failure.

In Japan, Coq10 is clearly recognized as an effective treatment for heart failure. Fully 12 million Japanese take an average amount of 30 milligrams of CoQ10 daily.

As if all this isn't enough, CoQ10 is believed to protect the heart under ischemic condition. Ischemic is just a fancy medical term referring to a lack of blood flow. No blood means no oxygen, and no oxygen leads to death of tissue. This is exactly what happens during a myocardial infraction, better known as a  "heart attack". Most of the damage that occurs in cardiac tissue results from the lack of oxygen normally supplied to that tissue. On a cellular level, this lack of oxygen prevents the production of ATP, with the end result of death to individual cells because of a lack of energy. COQ10 , because of it's pronounced stimulation of ATP production is hypothesized to somehow maintain the vital ATP stores, and thus prevent the death of individual cells. This of course has obvious implications in people who might be prone to heart attacks.

All well and good, COQ10 helps people with " sick" hearts-but what can it do for people with normal, well functioning hearts?

While it's true that only people with diseased hearts show deficiencies of COQ10, recent research indicates that increased intake of COQ10 will increase mitochondrial density in anyone's heart, and since we now know that these mitochondria are the cells power plants, this would translate into increased heart power. By increasing heart power, it is conceivable that many possible heart illnesses can be avoided.

In order to test this hypothesis, researchers in Belgium gave sedentary volunteers with no indication of heart disease 60 milligrams of supplemental COQ10 daily. The experiment was carried out for 8 weeks, and at the end of the trial all subjects were noted to have a greater cardiac oxygen utilization and their maximal exercise loads increased dramatically-all without any added exercise.1

Preliminary evidence indicates that COQ might prevent the main cause of congestive heart failure--high blood pressure. Two major theories have been put forward to explain COQ10's effectiveness as an anti-hypertensive medication. One group of researchers believe that COQ10 reduces blood vessel sensitivity to the vasoconstrictive (blood pressure inducing ) chemical Norepinephrine. This makes sense because several of the most prescribed blood pressure medications also work this way. Unfortunately, the drugs come with a plethora of side effects, whereas the  COQ10 treament is free of any side effects.

The Japanese researchers believe that by causing a favorable balance in the bioenergetic functions of the arterial muscle (optimal ATP) blood pressure problems can be somewhat relieved.

Dr. Philip Richardson of the University of Texas Medical school believes that COQ10 has the potential to be an effective alternative to the many blood pressure medications currently flooding the market.


 The current publicity associated with the medical syndrome known as AIDS has made many people more aware of the critical importance of the Immune system in maintaining health.

 What is generally not realized is that a proper functioning immune system is probably the key to living a longer life, barring degenerative illness such as heart disease. When an individual is said to have "died of old age", in reality SOMETHING  had to kill him, some uncontrolled infection etc.

The immune system itself is a complex consisting of specialized cells and the organs these cells are produced or stored in. Most people no doubt usually associate the immune system with white blood cells, and this is essentially correct. However, these " white blood cells " consist of several specific types of cells whose commonality of function is the defense of the human body against any type of  invasion by a foreign entity (i.e., bacteria,virus,fungi, Etc).

If all this sounds like some sort of War, the analogy is correct. We are literally floating in an invisible sea of germs that are constantly seeking to enter our bodies and ultimately wreak some sort of havoc.

One of the main defenses against this invasion is a process performed by some special white blood cells known as phagocytosis. In this process, scavenger cells known as macrophages constantly patrol the blood seeking out foreign invaders. Once they encounter these " aliens" the macrophages engulf and digest them. At the same time, they alert other specialized cells called antibodies who rush to the area and finish off any of the enemy that can't be handled by the macrophages themselves.

Of course all of this "fighting " requires a great deal of energy, and that energy is supplied by-- you guessed it--ATP.

Concurrent research conducted by The Yale University School of Medicine in cooperation with the Sandoz Institute in Vienna, Austria in 1978 showed that mice injected with the type of COQ found in their bodies (COQ8) increased the process of phagocytosis 4 times over normal when compared to a control group who were not given the Coenzyme.

One of the current methods of treating immune deficiency states such as AIDS is to attempt to beef up the immune cells by supplying immune system stimulants. The problem with this type of therapy is that you often get an overkill type of situation resulting in an overproduction of some component cells of the immune system and a subsequent increase in the size of those organs which store some of the cells, notably the Spleen. An enlarged spleen is much more susceptible to rupture and attendant hemorrhage which could be life-threatening. It would seem that the administration of COQ10 would be a prudent alternative to this problem. By increasing the activity of Immune system "soldiers" such as the macrophages without increasing their numbers, you wind up with a greatly improved immune  potency with virtually no side effects.

Theoretically , COQ10 might be a useful adjunctive treatment for conditions such as AIDS because by increasing the effectiveness of the immune system, lesser amounts of toxic immune stimulant drugs would have to be administered. In this sense, COQ10 might actually be a lifesaver. This scenario must await further research before it can be accepted as fact however



 It is a common observation that some people seem to be able to eat whatever type and quantity of food they desire, without an attendant gain in adipose tissue (fat). How can these lucky individuals accomplish this metabolic feat? Are these people really breaking the first law of thermodynamics ("energy and neither be created nor destroyed")?

In the past, this mysterious disappearance of calories was attributed to a " higher metabolism " . Since the metabolic rate is controlled by the thyroid gland, it was naturally assumed that an overactive thyroid gland accounted for the loss of calories.

Over the years, refinement in laboratory testing techniques poked holes in the " thyroid theory" when it was found that thyroid activity was not the crucial factory in determining  body shape except in  pathological states.

Subsequent research turned up a new hypothesis to account for the disappearance of excess calories in some people. They discovered that there was really two basic types of fatty tissue. One type, the kind usually found in generous abundance in obese people, was pale yellow in color and relatively inactive from a metabolic point of view. It was a simple and effective storage conduit for excessive caloric intake.

The other kind of fat was far more active metabolically, and in fact had the ability to turn excess calories into HEAT energy. Viola! At last some answer had emerged to explain some people's apparent immunity to fat.

The new type of fat was called Thermogenic " meaning it had the ability to turn calories into heat. The feature which characterized this unique tissue was it's reddish hue, due to the presence of a preponderance of blood vessels andmitochondria.Ah yes, those ubiquitous cellular powerplants had again emerged to explain the high energy activity of this brown adipose tissue (BAT) as it came to be known.

It was determined that obese humans had only half the thermogenic activity after a meal when compared to their thinner peers. 

Since the active component of BAT  is their abundant mitochondria, and since COQ10  is the " sparkplug" of the mitochondrial engines, could it be that a deficiency of  COQ10  plays a significant role in the etiology of obesity?

Dr. Luc Van Gall of the University of Antwerp (Belgium) decided to explore this question. Dr. Van gall and his colleagues studied 27 obese individuals. He divided these subjects into various groups and administered 100 milligrams of COQ10 along with a balanced diet. All the groups lost considerable amounts of weight as compared to other groups following a similar diet, but without supplementary COQ10.

Dr. Van Gaal concluded  that " obese individuals display an approximate 50% COQ10 deficiency. It is possible that correcting significant deficiencies of Q10 in obese patients might improve lipid metabolism and contribute to the metabolic or cellular control of body weight."

Those people who do not put on fat easily were found to have optimal levels of COQ10 in their cellular environments.

While this preliminary research doesn't point to COQ10 as a  cure for obesity, it does indicate that  COQ10 might be a useful disjunctive aid to a well balanced diet along with plenty of healthy exercise in exerting a level of control over obesity.

COQ10 will serve to upgrade the cellular machinery via it's stimulation of energy at the cellular level. By providing this service, it will optimize activity such as exercise in burning up excess calories. In this sense it will raise the metabolism, at least at the cellular level.


One of the main limiting factors in any type of athletic activity is the ability of the cell to produce ATP. In high intensity work lasting a few seconds, ATP and it's helper creatine phosphate ( CP) are the SOLE sources of energy.If an athlete had the ability to more effectively synthesize ATP production in his muscle cells, his performance would improve dramatically. Such a scenario could spell the difference between a lackluster performance and a world record. 

Several methods have been advanced in an attempt to increase cellular ATP production to supernormal levels. One way would be to engage in various forms of aerobic exercise, supplemented with aerobic (shorter more intense activity ) exercise, The high oxygen intake associated with aerobic exercise (and which accounts for it's name ) stimulates cellular production of new mitochondria, and since the mitochondria are the site of ATP production, increased  ATP should be a logical result. 

Another possible method of increasing ATP  production is to provide nutritional materials that are  substrates or starter materials for  ATP production. Some of these " ergogenic" meaning increasing work capacity) aids include Inosine, L-Carnitine,Pantothenic acid and COQ10.

Increased intake of these nutrients coupled with a proper training program could optimize cellular  ATP production, although hard evidence to back this up has not really been done.

A supplementary dose of COQ10 as an ergogenic aid would be in the neighborhood of 30-60 milligrams daily according o present evidence from animal studies.Since  COQ10  is not a drug, the likelihood of it's being banned from athletic competitive use is unlikely.



Ongoing research on  COQ10  is currently being pursued in regards to COQ10'S role in the treatment of such widely diversifying disorders as periodontal (gum) disease, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, gastric ulcers, allergies,and asthma as well as a multitude of others. It would be tempting to label  COQ10  as a new "cure-all" but to do so would only denigrate it's true value in potentiating cellular energy production which effects a myriad of systems in the human body relating to the maintenance of health and the prevention of disease.
Further research will no doubt clarify and elucidate the important role played by this previously little known chemical. What is clear at the present time is the fact that  COQ10 is truly the " cellular sparkplug". With so many people today lamenting about their  lack of energy, one can only speculate on how many people can use a cellular tune up.

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