Co Enzyme Q10 (Part 3)

Essential for life

Co Enzyme Q10 is essential for life and is really a self-made vitamin. Without CoQ10 we could not make the energy our bodies need. The unique chemical structure of CoQ10 allows it to shuttle high energy electrons within our cell mitochondria where energy is made. CoQ10 collects electrons and moves them to a special enzyme called ATP synthase which spins like a turbine powered by hydrogen electrons to our bodies’ high energy molecule ATP (adenosine triphosphate).

This diagram below shows the  role of CoQ10 (ubiquinone) in mitochondria to produce the energy our cells need.

Mitochondrial defects

There are some genetic diseases (mitochondrial disease) that affect ATP synthase causing reduced ATP production and can lead to a variety of health problems. Other non-genetic diseases also seem to impact ATP synthase. People with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome produce less ATP than healthy people probably by dysfunctional ATP synthase.

A side note: Autoimmune Disease

I suspect that the low energy levels in those with autoimmune diseases may be related to reduced efficiency of mitochondria. I think the reason is the massive increase in free radicals produced in mitochondria produced by the disease process. The most aggressive free radical is the nitrogen radical peroxynitrite. A study published in Frontiers in Neuroengernetics (J. Bollanos and S. Heales 2010) confirmed that peroxynitrite can damage mitochondria resulting in less energy.

Adding peroxynitrite scavengers especially OPC from grape seeds, Resveratrol and others can help restore mitochondrial function by neutralising these damaging radicals. Using my products I would add a combination of MTQ10 and/or Acai Plus with Cell-X and Vitamin D.

Role of Co enzyme Q10

Co enzyme Q10 is critical as it transports free hydrogen electrons to ATP synthase which powers the enzyme. This is why adding supplemental CoQ10 can really help problems caused by poor ATP production. Remember ATP to our body is like petrol for a car engine. Anything that restricts fuel flow to your car engine will reduce power output.

Co enzyme Q10 and statins

Last week we saw that statin medication can significantly reduce circulating CoQ10. Studies show even a low dose of 20mg of commonly prescribed statins can reduce circulating CoQ10 by 40%. While I have no evidence, it is logical that in theory less CoQ10 could mean more oxidised cholesterol which is a worry. This diagram shows where statins inhibit (slow) the HMG-CoA enzyme resulting in less cholesterol and less CoQ10.

Supplementing with CoQ10

I prescribe CoQ10 for many reasons most commonly for statin support. When I say statin support I am really referring to 2 potential problems caused by low CoQ10 levels:

1. To prevent well known statin side effects. These side effects have an official name ‘statin myopathy’ referring to muscle problems such as aches, pain and loss of function. This is entirely predictable as muscle has high demand for CoQ10.

2. To prevent other serious consequences of low CoQ10. The first is protecting heart muscle (myocardium). In Canada there are warnings on packets of stains that these could potentially cause cardiomyopathy- the degeneration of heart muscle. The second is the effects low CoQ10 can have on our nerves especially in the brain. Some people report feeling lethargic, depressed or poor memory while on statins.

I also add CoQ10 for people over 50 who are fatigued without medical causes. I invariably include CoQ10 for those with autoimmune and neurodegenerative disease. For example, I include at least 100mg for those with Polymyalgia Rheumatica and higher doses for those with MS or Parkinson’s.

For statin support I general recommend CoQsol® as it is rapidly absorbed and well tolerated. Those with inflammatory problems need to take a much broader view. CoQ10 is important but there are many other compounds that can be beneficial. I advise to stay away from the low quality/low price CoQ10 on the market. Products like CoQsol and MTQ10 use high grade CoQ10.

Those with inflammatory conditions especially autoimmune problems should be working to a personalised diet and supplement plan complementary to their regular medical treatment. In addition to a good diet and base supplements.

I include CoQ10 as part of my mitochondrial support formula MTQ10.  This combines CoQ10 (KanekaQ10®) with B vitamins, OPC (grape seed extract), resveratrol, curcumin and specialised ingredients including R alpha lipoic acid, N acetylcysteine and Acetyl L carnitine. All these have a positive impact on cell energy and immune functions. Feel free to contact me for personalised advice.

John Arts (B.Soc.Sci, Dip Tch, Adv.Dip.Nut.Med.) is a nutritional medicine practitioner and founder of Abundant Health. If you have questions or need help you can contact John 0800 423559.  You can email John at john@abundant.co.nz.

Please note that the health advice given through this column is for general educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or treat any health problem. © John Arts 2016

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