Coenzyme Q10 is also known as ubiquinone because of its 'ubiquity' in the human body
What it is
- Fat-soluble, vitamin-like substance occurs primarily in the mitochondria of practically every cell in the body
- Plays a unique role in the electron transport chain (ETC) and its primary function is to generate energy in cells
- Is responsible for generating 95 percent of the human body’s energy
- Discovered by Prof. Fredrick L. Crane et al at the University of Wisconsin, Madison Enzyme Institute in 1957.
Where it’s found
- Found in highest concentration in the inner membrane of the mitochondrion
- Naturally present in many foods, particularly high in organ meats (heart, liver and kidney), beef, soy oil, sardines, mackerel, and peanuts
- Available as natural and synthetic; ubiquinone is produced through a proprietary bacteria-production process; ubiquinol is manufactured via yeast fermentation
- Leading brands: Kyowa CoQ10TM; Kaneka Q10TM; Nu Skin Enterprises’ Pharmanex NanoCoQ10
Food or medicine?
- Peter Mitchell received a Nobel Prize in 1978 for proposing in 1961 how CoQ10 works
- CoQ10 levels in the body decline with age and may be augmented with food or supplements
- Important as an antioxidant and free radical scavenger
- People prone to chronic diseases such as heart conditions, muscular dystrophies, Parkinson’s disease, cancer, diabetes, and HIV/AIDS have low levels of CoQ10
- Supplementation helps not only boosts energy but also cognitive functions for an overall energy boost
- GRAS status in the USA for food and beverage applications
- Scientific evidence supports CoQ10 supplementation to counter angina, heart attack, and hypertension
- Popularly used to offset the CoQ10-depletion by statin drugs
- Fat-soluble and relies on emulsifiers for dispersion in water-based applications
- Used in high added-value foods, nutraceuticals, cosmetics, cosmeceutical, and anti-aging finished products
- Nanoemulsion is the technology of choice for water-based applications
- Ubiquinol highly prone to oxidation in the air; supplements therefore are still the leading format of consumption
- Growing consumer demand for non-caffeinated energy supplements favors CoQ10
- Role in cognitive health, heart health and anti-aging has catapulted its popularity in the U.S.
- Antioxidant defense system for breast cancer patients bolstering new medical food products
- Emerging studies report CoQ10’s role in preventing or managing neurodegenerative diseases
- Placebo-controlled studies have established the effectiveness of heart disease treatment with CoQ10
- Effective in lowering blood pressure
- CoQ10 in facial creams is gaining popularity with women and men for use as an anti-aging topical supplement
Resource: Coenzyme Q10 Supplementation and Heart Failure. Nutrition Reviews, Vol. 65, No. 6, 2007
Kantha Shelke, PhD, is a principal at Corvus Blue LLC, a Chicago-based food science and nutrition firm that specializes in competitive intelligence and expert witness services. Contact her at [email protected] or 312-951-5810.