coq10 supplements

The biggest factor to anti-aging may be simply to keep your cells alive. The longer your cells are alive, the longer you’ll be alive. Keeping your cells alive is accomplished through proper nutrition and protection from free radical damage. The antioxidant Coenzyme Q10 (commonly referred to as CoQ10) fulfills both these requirements. Additionally, CoQ10 is present in every cell in the body, and for a very good reason — cells use CoQ10 for the energy they need to function.

What Is CoQ10?

CoQ10 (Coenzyme Q10) is a fat-soluble antioxidant that the body produces naturally. CoQ10 is a ubiquitous (present, appearing, or found everywhere) nutrient found in all plant and animal life. For this reason CoQ10 is also referred to as ubiquinone. Cells use CoQ10 to generate energy for growth and maintenance — CoQ10 reduces oxidative stress, mitochondria damage, and helps in the generation of new mitochondria.

Adenosine triphosphate, or ATP, is a compound important for the storage of energy in cells, as well as the formation of DNA, which provides energy to cells. CoQ10 is necessary for cells to function. It helps produce the crucial ATP molecule which is the fuel that helps power the energy-producing center of the cell known as mitochondria. Mitochondria convert nutrients into energy.

To summarize:

  • The body produces CoQ10, or you ingest it in the form of a supplement
  • The CoQ10 travels to high-metabolism organs like the kidneys, liver and heart
  • Inside these organs, CoQ10 serves as an energy-transfer molecule in the final stage of cellular respiration
  • ATP is created in this stage of cellular respiration
  • ATP is required for every cellular function in the body
coq10 capsules

Oxygen, ATP and CoQ10

The reason the body requires oxygen is so that cells can use this molecule during the final stage of cellular respiration.

Cellular respiration is a set of metabolic reactions — metabolism is the chemical processes that occur within a living organism in order to maintain life, so metabolic is anything related to metabolism. These metabolic processes take place in the cells to convert biochemical energy from nutrients into ATP.

If oxygen isn’t present in cells ATP will no longer be produced. Without enough ATP cells can’t perform the reactions they need to function. After a long enough period without ATP cells die.

CoQ10, like oxygen, plays a key role in the creation of ATP.

CoQ10 Decline

As people age their bodies produces less CoQ10. As a result, cells don’t function adequately. It turns out that people who suffer from chronic diseases such as diabetes, cancer, Parkinson’s and cardiovascular disease have lower CoQ10 levels than otherwise healthy people — so there seems to be a direct correlation between CoQ10 levels and chronic disease.

Like other antioxidants, CoQ10 plays a role in fighting free radicals — unstable atoms that can damage cells, causing illness and aging. So in addition to negatively affecting cell function, this natural decline in CoQ10 limits the body’s protection from free radicals. By taking CoQ10 supplements the body receives extra assistance in cell production, and also gains additional protection from free radicals.

CoQ10 Anti-Aging Benefits

The commonly held notion that people die of old age is misleading enough to be considered, in a sense, a myth. People don’t die of this ambiguous, poorly defined “old age,” but rather, it’s the cumulative failures within the billions of cells in the body that eventually ends a life.

This cellular breakdown is assumed to inevitably occur at a certain point, with little or nothing a person can do about this onset of “old age.” Contrary to this idea is the theory — popular with many researchers in the medical field — that cellular breakdown and failure is preventable and reversible to a much greater degree. CoQ10 is vital to cell health, so CoQ10 plays a significant role in slowing the negative aspects of aging.

A U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) study into CoQ10 results in a bold claim: Coenzyme Q10 is the essential nutrient — meaning that it is more important to include CoQ10 in the diet than any other mineral or vitamin.

Stem Cell Telomere Shortening Contributes to Aging

Many researchers and scientists, such as Dr. Ron Dipinho of Harvard University, believe that stem cell telomere ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​damage is a leading culprit and prominent source of aging.

Simplistically, telomeres can be thought of as caps on the end of DNA molecules. A part of such a cap may potentially be removed each time a cell replicates (splits to generate new, additional cells). Because a cell’s telomere length can shorten each time the cell divides, at some point there is so little telomere length left that the cell can no longer replicate (a cell state called senescence), and eventually the cell is no longer viable — the cell dies. Unhealthy cells, and cell die-off, contribute to aging and then death.

As telomere length shortens, all-important stem cells become less able to carry out their function of repairing unhealthy and damaged tissue. The result is a weakened immune system. If the decline in telomere length could be slowed, life could be made both more healthy and extended. At least one scientific study has found that CoQ10 has the power to reduce aging and disease by preventing telomere degeneration and reducing oxidative stress to improve cellular metabolism.

CoQ10 Reduces the Oxidative Stress That Shortens Cell Telomeres

The longer a person can hold onto stem cell telomeres, the longer that person will live, and studies show that the powerful antioxidant CoQ10 prevents the oxidative stress that leads to cell death, and thus to aging.

In addition to its very important role in cell health, CoQ10 contributes to health and anti-aging in other ways:

  • Wards off free radical damage (study
  • Enhances cognitive function (study)
  • Improves stamina and energy
  • Benefits cardiovascular function (study)

Sources of CoQ10

CoQ10 is present in all plants and animals. But the degree to which this antioxidant is present in various foods varies tremendously, and most foods are not highly rich in CoQ10.

The Best Food Sources of CoQ10

By far the richest source of CoQ10 are organ meats such as animal liver and heart. CoQ10 is also found in chicken, pork, beef and fatty fish such as tuna. While not nearly as rich as animal products, oils such as olive, soybean and corn have fair amounts of CoQ10. Nuts and seeds such peanuts, pistachio nuts and sesame seeds round out the list of foods with any appreciable amount of CoQ10:

  • Organ meats (liver and heart)
  • Other meats (chicken, pork, beef)
  • Fatty fish (tuna, herring, sardines)
  • Nuts and seeds (peanuts, pistachio nuts, sesame seeds)

Even foods considered to be high in CoQ10 have quite small amounts of it compared to concentrations of most other essential nutrients. For instance, one average serving of one of the foods highest in this amino acid — beef heart — has just 11 mg of CoQ10 (most quality CoQ10 supplements have a minimum of 100 mg).

An official daily recommended intake for CoQ10 has never been established, and the human body does naturally make some CoQ10 on its own. Though some studies have provided doses between 50 mg and 1,200 mg per day in adults, a typical daily adult dose is between 100 mg and 200 mg.

Most nutritional experts feel that as people age it’s critical for them to take CoQ10 supplements. By the age of 30 natural levels of CoQ10 are diminishing. By the age of 50, this CoQ10 depletion begins to accelerate. By the age of 70, natural levels of CoQ10 may be less than half of what’s normal for a young adult. Unfortunately, as a person ages it is difficult to get adequate amounts of CoQ10 through diet alone.