Do you know what does Coenzyme Q10 do for the body? It is a vitamin-like substance that is necessary for some of the basic functions in the body that are required for survival.
Discovered in the year 1957, Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), as said, has properties that mimics vitamins. It is one of the essential nutrients for the human body. This substance is oil-soluble, and is produced naturally by the human body, and is also present in certain foods. Also known as ubiquinone, since its discovery, it is reported that 5000 research studies have been published on the properties it holds. Apart from humans, in many other living species, the chemical pathways that are responsible for making the nutrients vitamin E, vitamin K, and folic acid, are the ones that also make the CoQ10. For your information, the number 10 here, refers to a specific part of its chemical structure. One important fact to know is that this very substance plays a vital role in the process that generates 95% of the body’s energy. That is why, organs such as the heart, the liver and kidneys, which require more energy than other organs, are the ones with the highest concentration of this vitamin-like substance we are speaking of in this article.
Functions of Coenzyme Q10
The two main functions of this CoQ10 is related to the energy production in the body, and acting as a potent antioxidant.
⇒ As mentioned earlier, this substance is involved in most part of the energy production in the human body. What happens is, the organelle in the cells called mitochondria absorbs fat and other substances and convert them into energy required by the body. And this process requires the inclusion of CoQ10.
⇒ The next important function of this nutrient is associated with its well-established property of being an antioxidant. The body also use this substance to prevent free radical damage. A free radical is any atom with a missing molecule thus, it is unstable. So to become stable, it robs any other molecule in the body. And in this process the free radical damages the DNA of the cell, and this is the root cause of many diseases. But due to the presence of sufficient amounts of CoQ10 in the body, such a damage is reduced by almost 95%. This nutrient undergoes a continuous cycle of oxidation and reduction. When it accepts electrons, it gets reduced, and when it does otherwise, it gets oxidized. So when CoQ10 is in its reduced form, it tends to hold electrons quite loosely. So it can readily give out one or more electrons to a free radical to make it stable. So in this way, this substance acts as an antioxidant. And due to this, conditions such as heart attack, cardiac arrhythmia, angina, hypertension, coronary heart diseases, congestive heart failure, and atherosclerosis can be prevented.
Benefits of Coenzyme Q10 in Brief
CoQ10 has shown to be beneficial for:
- Parkinson’s disease
- Reducing risks of heart diseases, as aforementioned
- Diseases of the mitochondria
- Improving sperm motility thus, helping infertility in males
- Slowing down aging symptoms
- Medical conditions of the gums by speeding up the recovery period
- Helping other antioxidants such as vitamin E and C to recharge, and be in their active states for a longer time
- Stabilizing blood sugar levels
- Stomach ulcers
- In improving brain function
- In inhibiting formation of blood clot; one of the major reasons for conditions such as strokes. This it does by preventing platelets to stick to each other
- Shrinking tumors thus, helpful in treatment of breast cancer
With age, and due to certain chronic diseases, the levels of this nutrient tend to deplete. So, experts say that, by taking CoQ10 in supplemental form, the levels of the natural form can be restored. The supplement is also purported to help in treating diseases such as the ones mentioned above. However, there are still some gray areas wherein, experts disregard its use and benefits. Also, there have been a few cases where the supplement has caused side effects; the common ones being listed below…
- Upset stomach
- Poor appetite
- Disturbed sleep
- Increased sensitivity of the eyes towards light
- Lower blood sugar levels (could be a concern for people with diabetes)
- Decreased blood pressure
Although these side effects can be intimidating, they are mild and are self-resolving. Also, some of these side effects could not be proved to have been caused specifically due to the usage of CoQ10 supplements.