27 facts about CoQ10

CoQ10 is as mysterious as it is ubiquitous. Here are some facts about this amazing substance.

Gail C. Keck, freelance writer

March 2, 2012

2 Min Read
27 facts about CoQ10

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

Manufacturing pluses

  • 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

Manufacturing minuses

  •  Ubiquinol highly prone to oxidation in the air; supplements therefore are still the leading format of consumption

Market drivers

  • 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

Physiological effects

  • Placebo-controlled studies have established the effectiveness of heart disease treatment with CoQ10

  • Effective in lowering blood pressure

Surprising fact

  • 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.

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