Coenzyme Q10 is the latest supplement to grab the media’s attention—but what is it and how can it benefit you? Here, Senior Nutritionist Frank Brogan at Pharma Nord, retailer of Q10 ubiquinol supplements, shares everything you need to know about the supplement:
What is Coenzyme Q10?
CoenzymeQ10 is a vitamin-like substance that has a vital role in the process of providing the body with the energy needed to function normally. An adequate supply of CoQ10 is of particular importance in tissues with a high energy requirement, such as the heart and skeletal muscles. Most of your daily CoQ10 requirement is produced within the body, with a small amount obtained from the diet.
As we age, we become less efficient at producing our own supply of CoQ10. This is why people may choose to take supplemental CoQ10 to correct this deficit. The most important issue regarding CoQ10 supplements is that of bioavailability- the proportion of ingested CoQ10 that can be absorbed from the digestive tract into the bloodstream. When supplemental CoQ10 is first produced (via a yeast fermentation process), it is obtained in the form of crystals which cannot be absorbed from the digestive tract. It is essential that these crystals are dispersed into single CoQ10 molecules (and remain dispersed during the product shelf-life) to enable optimum bioavailability.
Are there different forms of Coenzyme Q10?
Coenzyme Q10 occurs in the body in two closely related forms, ubiquinone and ubiquinol. CoQ10 supplements are now available in either ubiquinone or ubiquinol form. Some supplement manufacturers claim that ubiquinol is the more important bioactive form of CoQ10, but this is incorrect. Within cells, ubiquinol and ubiquinone are continually inter-converted as part of the normal functioning of CoQ10, and both forms are therefore of equal metabolic importance.
What’s the connection between CoQ10 and statins?
As well as reducing the body’s production of cholesterol, statins also inhibit the production of CoQ10, which is synthesised via the same biochemical pathway in the body.
It’s important that tissues with a high energy requirement such as skeletal muscle, receive an adequate supply of CoQ10. For this reason, reduced CoQ10 production due to statin use has been associated with side effects, such as muscle pain. Some clinical studies have shown supplementation with CoQ10 (100mg/day) can improve such symptoms in patients prescribed statins.