No doubt you’ve heard of CoQ10’s health benefits, especially concerning the heart. In fact, many researchers believe that CoQ10 can help with heart-related conditions due to how it improves energy production in cells, prevents clot formation and acts as a powerful antioxidant. Studies have found CoQ10 particularly helpful in avoiding heart failure, swelling in the legs, labored breathing due to fluid in the lungs, subsequent heart attacks and chest pains as well as high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels.
CoQ10 isn’t found only in the heart, though. It’s actually found everywhere—in every cell—in the body. In general, coenzymes such as CoQ10 assist enzymes in digesting food, performing other bodily processes and in protecting the heart and skeletal muscles.
To review, the body produces CoQ10, and although your body requires it for cell growth and maintenance, CoQ10 levels decrease as you age, particularly in areas such as the heart and liver. Truth be told, by the time a person reaches 80 years of age, CoQ10 levels in the body are only about half of what they were decades earlier.
Age isn’t the only thing that lowers CoQ10 amounts in the body, however. Those who take certain medications, who have heart conditions, muscular dystrophies, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes and a variety of other ailments come up short on CoQ10, according to the Mayo Clinic. Interestingly, medicines used for high cholesterol and diabetes can significantly decrease the amounts of bodily CoQ10 levels.
CoQ10 also assists in making an important molecule called adenosine triphosphate, or ATP, which is a cell’s major energy source and is responsible for many biological processes, including muscle contractions and protein production. CoQ10 is also present in the body’s mitochondria, which are frequently referred to as “cellular power plants,” since they create much of the body’s cellular energy. Mitochondria also serve to signal cellular differentiation, cellular growth, cellular respiration and cellular death, while controlling cell cycles and regulating cell metabolism. This is significant, too, because it is said that up to 95 percent of the human body’s energy is supplied via the mitochondria. The bodily organs, therefore, that require significant amounts of energy—such as the liver and the heart—may have the greatest concentrations of CoQ10.
One of the more recent studies on the benefits of CoQ10, however, has indicated that CoQ10 may be helpful in fighting the neurodegenerative disease known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, which is also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. ALS is a horrible condition that affects the skeletal muscle nerve impulses that control contraction and function. For example, ALS may begin with chronic twitching, cramping or muscular weakness, but it spreads to total muscular atrophy, including slurred speech and the inability to eat, swallow and breathe. It’s a rare disease, but it can typically take the lives of its victims within two to five years.
Here’s the summarized version of what happened in this study: A Japanese medical scientist, who was diagnosed with ALS in 2000, allowed his colleagues to do a clinical evaluation of CoQ10 for ALS on him when his ALS advanced. Unfortunately, by the year 2005, ALS had progressed in this then 75-year-old researcher. During this study, the researcher with ALS was given a highly bioavailable form of CoQ10 in specific amounts and intervals.
The results? The man’s voluntary motor activity returned as did his grip, while his rate of muscular weakening was lowered. The scientist was still alive and doing well when this CoQ10 study on ALS was reported in the September 2012 edition of The Open Nutraceutuicals Journal.
Likewise, animal studies show that CoQ10 protects and reverses brain and nervous system damage by restoring brain and nerve cell metabolism.
So, there you have it! There’s much more to CoQ10 benefits than heart health, so make sure you get enough of it through diet or prudent supplementation. Dietary sources of CoQ10 include oily fish such as salmon and tuna as well as organ meats, including the liver—all wild caught and grassfed/organic, of course.