ATP serves as the cell’s major energy source and drives a number of biological processes including muscle contraction and the production of protein. CoQ10 also works as an antioxidant.
Antioxidants are substances that scavenge free radicals, damaging compounds in the body that alter cell membranes, tamper with DNA, and even cause cell death. Free radicals occur naturally in the body, but environmental toxins (including ultraviolet light, radiation, cigarette smoking, and air pollution) can also increase the number of these damaging particles. Free radicals are believed to contribute to the aging process as well as the development of a number of health problems. Antioxidants such as CoQ10 can neutralize free radicals and may reduce or even help prevent some of the damage they cause.
CoQ10 boosts energy, enhances the immune system, and acts as an antioxidant. A growing body of research suggests that using Coenzyme Q10 supplements alone or in combination with other drug therapies and nutritional supplements supports the body’s health in the following areas:
Promote Healthy Heart*
Researchers believe that the beneficial effect of CoQ10 in the promoting a healthy heart is due to its ability to improve energy production in cells, inhibit blood clot formation, and act as an antioxidant. One important study, for example, found that people who received daily CoQ10 supplements within 3 days of a heart attack were significantly less likely to experience subsequent heart attacks and chest pain. In addition, these same patients were less likely to die of heart disease than those who did not receive the supplements.
Healthy Cholesterol Support*
Levels of CoQ10 tend to be lower in people with high cholesterol compared to healthy individuals of the same age. In addition, certain cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins (such as atorvastatin, cerivastatin, lovastatin, pravastatin, simvastatin) appear to deplete natural levels of CoQ10 in the body. Taking CoQ10 supplements can correct the deficiency caused by statin medications without affecting the medication’s positive effects on cholesterol levels.
Gum disease is a widespread problem that is associated with swelling, bleeding, pain, and redness of the gums. Studies have shown that people with gum disease tend to have low levels of CoQ10 in their gums. In a few studies involving small numbers of subjects, CoQ10 supplements caused faster healing and tissue repair. Additional studies are needed to evaluate the effectiveness of CoQ10 when used together with traditional therapy for periodontal disease.
A multi-center study published in the Oct. 15, 2002 issue of the American Medical Association’s Archives of Neurology, provide the first evidence that Coenzyme Q10 might slow the progression of the disease. Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative disorder of the brain in which patients develop tremor, slowness of movement and stiffness of muscles. It affects approximately 1 percent of Americans over the age of 65. Although certain drugs, such as levodopa, can reduce the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, no treatment has been shown to slow the progressive deterioration in function.
Over the past several years, research by Shults, Haas and Beal showed that mitochondrial function is impaired in patients with Parkinson’s disease and coenzyme Q10 levels are reduced in the mitochondria of parkinsonian patients. Beal and Shults studied coenzyme Q10 in an animal model of Parkinson’s disease and found that it could protect the part of the brain affected by the disorder.