What is coenzyme Q10?
Coenzyme Q10 is a vitamin-like compound which practically all cells in the human body depend on in order to produce energy. The energy is made from a biochemical conversion of fat, carbohydrate, and protein into ATP (adenosine triphosphate), a molecule that stores energy. Coenzyme Q10 is a downstream product of the mevalonate pathway, just like cholesterol.
Inside the mitochondria, energy is produced from nutrients in the food we eat. A Q10 deficiency may be one of the reasons why cells fail to produce energy. This, in turn, weakens the body’s ability to protect itself against illness and the onset of old age.
Since coenzyme Q10 and cholesterol are both synthesized from the same substance, mevalonate, this implies that if the body’s production of cholesterol is reduced by a statin, the body’s production of coenzyme Q10 is reduced accordingly.
Coenzyme Q10 has multiple effects on the body’s cholesterol level. Coenzyme Q10 will lower the body’s cholesterol levels marginally. In addition, the antioxidant effect of Q10 will prevent circulating cholesterol from oxidizing and becoming very harmful.
Coenzyme Q10 was discovered i 1957 by Dr. Frederick Crane, University of Wisconsin. A year later Dr. Karl Folkers and a team of scientists from Merck identified the structure of Q10 and was able to produce it through a fermentation process. In the early seventies Karl Folkers and Gian Littarru found that people suffering from cardiac insufficiencies had very low levels of Coenzyme Q10.
The body’s own production of coenzyme Q10 has been shown to be dependent on age. We see a declining level of the substance in the body from approx. 25 years and above.
Today Coenzyme Q10 is one of the most widely used products in countries all over the world.