Coenzyme Q10

Q10, also known as ubiquinone, is a coenzyme in the energy metabolism of cells that is produced in the body and absorbed through food. It is important for the energy balance and is often found in food supplements and cosmetics.

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The vital substance coenzyme Q10

Coenzyme Q10 is a natural substance from our food, which can also be produced by the body itself. Particularly high concentrations of coenzyme Q10 are found in organs that require a lot of energy, such as the heart, brain, kidneys, liver, and muscles.

What is Coenzyme Q10?

Coenzyme Q10 is a child of love in the cosmetics industry. A variety of care products rely on the support of the proven active ingredient, but selected dietary supplements also use it specifically. But what is behind this rather technical expression? In a nutshell: something natural. Co-enzyme Q10 is the body’s vitamin-like vital substance (= vitaminoid) that is similar to the two fat-soluble vitamins K and E in its chemical structure. Since coenzyme Q10 is found in nature in almost all organisms, it is also derived from the word ubiquitous (Latin: everywhere) as “ubiquinone”. In 1978, Coenzym Q10 brought Peter Dennis Mitchell the Nobel Prize for chemistry thanks to his research into its role in energy production.

Difference between enzyme and coenzyme

Enzymes are complex protein molecules that act as biocatalysts that drive many important biochemical reactions in the body. Most enzymes are very specific in their effect. When carrying out their work, so-called “coenzymes” offer them an important support function. Q10 is one of the best-known coenzymes.

Function and effect of coenzyme Q10 in the human body

The vitamin-like substance plays a role as a kind of “ignition spark”, especially in energy production in the body's cell power plants, the mitochondria. Accordingly, high concentrations are found particularly in high-performance organs, such as the heart, but also the brain and muscles. In addition to its decisive role in energy supply, the active form of coenzyme Q10, so-called “ubiquinol”, works hand in hand with other antioxidants in the body's antioxidant network. Here, it is involved in the regeneration of vitamin E and vitamin C, among other things. Due to its role in energy metabolism and as an antioxidant, Q10 is also an important vital substance for our cardiovascular system. We humans cannot use the energy supplied through food immediately for our purposes. First, some conversion processes must take place in our body, which occurs in concentrated form in our cell power plants, the mitochondria. In the so-called “respiratory chain”, ATP (= the “energy currency” of our organism) is produced in the mitochondria, which is further released to the cells as fuel for their work processes.

Coenzyme Q10 plays a key role in this, as its supply situation determines the speed and efficacy of energy production. The active form of coenzyme Q10, ubiquinol, also called QH2, is formed under oxygen supply. Finally, it is this reduced form of Q10 that helps provide the energy to the cell. Q10 also acts as an important fat-soluble antioxidant and protects the cells from aggressive oxygen molecules, the free radicals.

What do our bodies need to form Q10? What happens in the case of a Q10 deficiency?

The amino acids L-phenylalanine, L-tyrosine, and L-methionine as building blocks, B-vitamins, and vitamin C as excipients – this is the “recipe” of the body to produce the same coenzyme Q10. The body's production of coenzyme Q10 decreases with age. The concentration in the tissues – especially in the heart muscle cells – also decreases steadily. In the course of this, performance, vitality, and energy also decrease. Pain and weakness in the muscle system and the gastrointestinal tract may also spread.

How much coenzyme Q10 do we need?

The need for coenzyme Q10 varies. People over the age of 40 in particular, those with chronic stress, athletes, users of cholesterol-lowering drugs and people on low-fat diets should pay attention to their Q10 balance.

Increased need for Q10

Bestimmte Lebenssituationen können den Bedarf an Q10 erhöhen. Dazu zählen unter anderem:

  • Age
  • Smoking
  • taking cholesterol-lowering drugs (statins)

Which foods contain Q10?

In addition to the body's production of Q10, smaller amounts (approx. 10 mg) can also be absorbed through food. High concentrations are mainly found in certain offal (e.g. heart and liver), which are generally not or only rarely consumed in our part of the world. Small amounts are found in meat, certain fish (e.g. mackerel, sardines), soya beans, nuts, and seeds (and their oils). A special blood test can provide information about the respective supply situation. Selected dietary supplements can help with targeted Q10 intake.

Foods containing Q10 are in particular

  • Nuts

  • Fish

  • Meat

  • Seeds and cores

  • Potatoes

  • Cabbage varieties such as broccoli

Difference between coenzyme Q10, Ubquinol and ubiquinone

In our body, coenzyme Q10 exists in two manifestations: as ubiquinone and as ubiquinol. The latter is the active form and gets to work immediately and effectively. Ubiquinone, on the other hand, must first be converted into the active form of ubiquinol via several enzymatic steps – a process that is influenced by the selenium and zinc status and can be limited with increasing age or in certain diseases. A study with two Q10 preparations was also able to show that ubiquinol has a greatly improved absorption rate compared to ubiquinone.

Buy Ubiquinol CoQ10 100 mg vegan Gold

Too little Q10 or too much Q10?

Overall, there is still no uniform scientific picture for treatment with the coenzyme. This also has to do with the fact that the Q10 supply via the general physical energy status can sometimes have a very individual effect on the well-being of people. The improved state of health is not always immediately scientifically tangible, even if users report it. 

There is no known information on a possible overdose of Q10. There have been isolated reports of mild sleep disorders, lower blood sugar levels, and a decrease in efficacy with statins. However, studies have also not shown any noticeable side effects at doses between 1,200 and 3,000 mg per day. Further research is required here.

It is extremely difficult to evaluate the care of individual people with Q10. Many factors and the presence of other micronutrients and macronutrients play a role in the body's production. It is hardly possible to routinely check the supply of each organ with Q10.

Q10 as a dietary supplement

Q10 is an indispensable component in energy production in cells. There is an increasing number of indications that the need for Q10 increases in various phases of life such as age when physical production decreases. People could therefore benefit from more Q10 via dietary supplements. The human organism uses the reduced form of Q10-Ubiquinol particularly well, which is also offered directly as a nutritional supplement.

Buy Coenzym Q10 active Spray Ubiquinol

Study: Q10 reduces stress

According to a recently conducted study(1), in which the effects of the current health crisis on mental health were measured, the respondents found the lifting of the lockdown more frightening than the lockout itself. For every 2nd respondent, the lifting of restrictions hurt sleep, depression, stress, and anxiety.

Healthy people with relatively high sensitivity to stress in particular appear to benefit from an additional ubiquinol intake.  A current study with 60 healthy participants shows that the 8-week daily use of preparation with 100 mg ubiquinol reduces stress and improves sleep quality under relatively high stress(2).

Additional Q10 studies

The research team of Zhan et al. found evidence in their study that the substitution of coenzyme Q10 can support blood sugar and fat metabolism(2). Mizuno et al. showed a reduction in fatigue symptoms through a daily coenzyme Q10 preparation(4). In the double-blind cross-over study by Orlando et al., Q10 supplementation minimized the training-related Q10 decrease in young athletes, while the plasma and cellular antioxidant levels increased(5).

1 COVADAPT: eine Studie über die Franzosen während der aktuellen Covid-Krise
2 Morikawa et al. Jpn Pharmacol Ther. Vol 47 no.8 2019.
3 Zhan P et al. 2018.  Treatment of Coenzyme Q10 for 24 Weeks Improves Lipid and Glycemic Profile in Dyslipidemic Individuals. J Clin Lipidol. Mar-Apr 2018;12(2):417-427.e5.
4 Mizuno K. et al. 2020. Ubiquinol-10 Intake Is Effective in Relieving Mild Fatigue in Healthy Individuals. Nutrients2020 Jun 2;12(6):E1640.
5 Orlando P. et al.2018. Effect of Ubiquinol Supplementation on Biochemical and Oxidative Stress Indexes After Intense Exercise in Young Athletes. Redox Rep. 2018 Dec;23(1):136-145.

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