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Q10 - The Provider of Life

by Ann Crowther(more info)

listed in nutraceuticals, originally published in issue 143 - January 2008

CoEnzyme Q1O (Ubiquinone)

CoEnzyme Q1O (ubiquinone) is a naturally occurring substance and a necessary part of the cell’s energy metabolism. Without it, cells cannot produce the energy that is needed for the multitude of activities that take place within the body, and a cell that lacks CoEnzyme Q10 (ubiquinone) is comparable to an engine without spark plugs – even the most exclusive car on the market cannot run without its spark plugs!

The word ubiquinone is derived from the Latin ‘ubique’ which means omnipresent or everywhere – hence the English word ‘ubiquitous’ – because it is present in every cell of the human body. As the human
organism requires energy for all its functions, and as Q1O is a necessary part of the energy producing system in every single cell, there is no doubt that the substance is a prerequisite if cells, body tissue, and the body’s internal organism are to function optimally, or even normally.

Just as with vitamins and minerals, it is present in much of the food we eat, and a varied diet will ensure a healthy intake. Such a diet should include beef and chicken; pork and eggs are also good sources. Fish, especially oily fish such as sardines and mackerel, as well as wholemeal products, nuts, and many vegetables, such as broccoli and spinach, also contain Q1O.

How much Q1O should the Body Contain?

Scientists have not yet agreed on the optimum levels of Q1O in the body, but clinical experiments indicate that the daily requirement lies between 30 and 100 milligrams. When treating illness, intakes of between 100 and 8 00mg are used. Up to 800mg have been used in long-term studies without any toxicity problems or side-effects whatsoever.

Although the liver naturally provides much of the body’s Q1O requirement, its ability to synthesize the relevant amino acids is greatly reduced by illness, and more significantly, the ageing process. So some form of additional intake is often necessary if the body is to maintain the correct levels of the substance. This is why extra QIO in the form of a supplement can become a critical factor in some people’s ability to make optimal use of Q1O’s beneficial effects.

What are the Beneficial Effects?

Immune system – antioxidants – anti-ageing/life expectancy – gum strengthening.

Q1O functions at a very fundamental level as a carrier in the ‘electron transport’ chain. This is the final stage of a very complex process in which energy is produced from food, leading to the production of Adenosine Tri-Phosphate, ATP. It is ATP which the cell uses as a ‘fuel’.

Who Needs to Consider Taking a Supplement?

QlO has been used in the management of a variety of disorders. Its primary use is as an adjunctive therapy for chronic heart failure. It has been shown to be effective in the management of congestive heart failure, cardiomyopathy, hypertension, stable angina, ventricular arrhythmia, cancer, periodontal disease, chronic fatigue, muscular dystrophy, and as a general energy booster. There are a great many scientific papers that show the beneficial effects of Q1O, particularly in the field of heart disease.

Many sports men and women have told of positive results in using Q1O to maximize the energy production in their muscles. It is worth noting that it is not listed as doping – it is a natural substance and not a stimulant. In fact, research now shows that physical exercise increases the body’s need for Q1O. Individuals engaged in hard physical training should therefore be sure to get enough Q1O to ensure adequate levels for other parts of the body that need their share of it.

Studies suggest that a Q1O deficiency may lead to deterioration in sperm quality – they show that in semen with a low sperm count, there is a correspondingly low level of QlO.

Recent research has also shown that QlO may have a therapeutic effect on memory and on other cognitive functions, such as the ability to concentrate.

Which is the Best Form of Q1O to Take?

Q 10 comes in a variety of forms, i.e. tablets, capsules containing oil, capsules containing granulates. The most bio-available form, however, is when the Q1O is dissolved in soya bean oil and presented in a gelatine capsule. This particular form has the greatest bioavailability (absorption) in the body.

The Cosmetic Effect

Apart from being used as a supplement, Q1O is now used in a variety of skincare products because of its anti-ageing properties, to maintain healthy skin, hair and nails. Free radicals, generated within the body, as well as by exposure to environmental toxins and UV light, damage the skin by degrading collagen and elastin; these are the proteins responsible for maintaining the structure and elasticity of skin, causing premature ageing through formation of lines and wrinkles.

As a practitioner and nutritionist, I have concluded that if I could only take one supplement to maintain my health and skin, it would undoubtedly be CoEnzyme Q1O (ubiquinone). There are no known interactions or contra-indications with coenzyme QIO. However, individuals being treated with Thyroxin, for hyper-thyroidism, should consult their doctor.


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About Ann Crowther

Ann Crowther trained in Pilates in California, and later in Exercise and Health Studies at the University of East London, followed by specialist training in Kinesiology, Nutrition and Stress Management, Ann draws on over 20 years of experience as a fitness trainer and has won extensive praise for the development of her own highly successful Pilates system. She is the author of Pilates for You, Duncan Baird Publishers, and several fitness DVD/book sets. She may be contacted via ;

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