Antioxidants are compounds synthesized in the body and obtained from foods as well as dietary supplements that help protect our cells from oxidative stress caused by free radicals. One of the most important ubiquitous antioxidants in the body is coenzyme Q10, or coQ10 for short.
What it does
CoQ10 is a substance naturally occurring in the human body, predominantly found in the heart, liver, kidneys, and pancreas. It serves an important role in energy production as well as the body’s antioxidant defense system.
As we age however, endogenous coQ10 production declines, thereby opening up the potential for increased damage from free radicals and decreased energy production. As such, it comes as no surprise several chronic diseases are linked to low coQ10 concentrations.
Fortunately, supplementation with coQ10 has been noted to increase concentrations of coQ10 in both plasma, lipoproteins, and cell membranes. It may be of added benefit to those on cholesterol-lowering medications, which are known to reduce circulating CoQ10 concentrations.
How it works
One of the most important functions of coQ10 is that of energy productions where it serves as an intermediate of the electron transport system in the mitochondria where it helps generate ATP — the cellular currency of energy production.
CoQ10 also functions as a potent intracellular antioxidant where it protects cells from oxidative damage. The powerful amino acid has also been documented to increase nitric oxide production, which improves blood flow and supports cardiovascular health.
The cardiovascular benefits of coQ10 extend beyond greater nitric oxide production as various studies have found coQ10 supports cardiovascular function by improving contractility of heart muscles, boosting energy production, preventing the oxidation of low-density lipoproteins (LDL cholesterol).
CoQ10 is generally dosed between 90 to 200mg, taken once daily with a meal due to its reliance on food for absorption. However, other studies have used doses significantly higher with up to 900mg, and noted no adverse side effects.
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