Superfoods CoQ10 – not exactly a food, but a super-nutrient

Dr Paul Clayton 2006

CoQ10 is a coenzyme that is concentrated in the mitochondria – the ‘power plants’ of the body’s cells – and plays a vital role in the production of chemical energy by participating in the production of adenosine tri-phosphate (ATP), the body’s co-called ‘energy currency’. The coenzyme also plays an important role in preserving levels of vitamin E and vitamin C and acts as a potent antioxidant.

The majority of research so far has focused on its role in helping reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Heart tissue contains the highest concentration of CoQ10 in the human body, along with the kidney and the liver.

There is an ever-growing body of scientific data that shows substantial health benefits of CoQ10 supplementation for people suffering from angina, heart attack and hypertension. Clinical trials have also reported benefits for cardiomyopathy and congestive heart failure.

The fact is that very small changes in daily activity can amount to very noticeable results over time. For example, the British Dietetic Association (BDA) calculated that if you had consumed a pint of beer and a packet of crisps for each World Cup football match – without doing more exercise – you would put on half a stone (3kg) during the tournament.

CoQ10 concentration in the human brain is reported to be only 15.5 nanomoles per gram, a relatively low concentration that is linked to the high rate of oxidative stress in this organ. For this reason, researchers are increasingly looking at the possible protective role of CoQ10 in the development of neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.

The benefits of CoQ10 are also being explored in relation to other conditions and diseases. Studies are emerging linking supplements of Q10 to benefits for diabetes, cancer (breast, lung and prostate), male infertility, and kidney failure.

Some 30 clinical trials are now looking at the effects of coenzyme Q10, with research reported in countries such as the USA, Norway and Ecuador.