What is Coenzyme Q10?
Coenzyme Q10 is a member of a family of naturally occurring substances known as quinones. Quinones are found everywhere in nature, as they are essential for generating energy in living things that use oxygen. Because quinones are widely distributed, or ubiquitous, in nature, some scientists refer to them as ubiquinones.
The chemical structure or shape of a molecule of Coenzyme Q is like that of vitamin K, with a head to which is attached a tail. The length of this tail varies, with anywhere from one to twelve repeating units. Humans can utilize only one type of Coenzyme Q, with 10 repeating units. Therefore, it is called Coenzyme Q10. Like vitamin K and vitamin E, Coenzyme Q10 is fat soluble (dissolves in fat).
What is the primary function of Coenzyme Q10?
There are approximately 100 trillion cells in the human body and each must produce its own energy to carry out its functions. Biological chemical reactions which produce energy require helper substances, or catalysts, known as enzymes. Enzymes are unique in that they are not used up or changed during the chemical reaction. In order to function, enzymes generally require a mineral, such as magnesium or zinc, plus a non-protein organic substance, called a coenzyme. For energy to be produced in every cell of our body, the coenzyme specifically required is Coenzyme Q10.
Virtually every cell has a membrane which surrounds it and separates it from other cells. Within cells are small organ like bodies, or organelles, called mitochondria, each surrounded by a membrane of its own. The special place in every cell where energy is produced is in the membranes of the mitochondria. This is also where the greatest concentration of Coenzyme Q10 is found in each cell.
Some body organs have greater amounts of CoQ10 than others because these organs have high energy requirements. The highest concentrations are found in the heart and the liver. Since the heart, liver, lungs, kidneys, spleen, pancreas and adrenal glands require a great deal of energy to function efficiently, Coenzyme Q10 is particularly abundant in these organs.
How does CoQ10 carry out its primary function?
Coenzyme Q10 is responsible for generating approximately 95 percent of the energy required by the human body. Cells produce energy by burning mainly fats and carbohydrates. This burning or oxidation process occurs as a result of oxygen combining with fats, carbohydrates, and also proteins, to produce carbon dioxide and water. CoQ10 supports cellular energy production through a series of chemical reactions which are part of what is called the electron transport chain. The electron transport chain moves pairs of electrons from one chemical to another in the mitochondria, thereby helping create molecules of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the body’s primary source of energy. In turn, these ATP molecules supply energy in every cell of the body for the various chemical reactions necessary for life.
To sum it up, Coenzyme Q10 provides the spark that ignites the burning of digested food components with oxygen to produce the energy needed in every cell. Without CoQ10 in the mitochondria of all cells, there would be no spark and therefore no production of energy for the cell. And, without energy, there is no life.
What is another important function of Coenzyme Q10 or CoQ10?
Coenzyme Q10 is also an important antioxidant, providing protection from oxidative damage that occurs in fat rich tissues, such as cell membranes. Oxidants, such as free radicals, are highly reactive substances containing one or more oxygen atoms that try to take electrons away from nearby atoms or molecules. If the oxidant succeeds in stealing electrons from an atom or molecule, it oxidizes and damages cellular components that are made from these atoms and molecules, such as DNA, proteins and fats. An antioxidant is a substance that gives up its electrons to oxidants, or free radicals, thus functioning to neutralize the free radical oxidants and prevent them from causing cellular harm.
The antioxidant nature of Coenzyme Q10 is directly related to its energy carrier function. As an energy carrier in the electron transfer chain, the CoQ10 molecule is continuously going through an oxidation-reduction cycle, which means it is giving up electrons, and then taking on electrons. But in its reduced form, when the CoQ10 molecule has taken on electrons, it holds these electrons rather loosely. So this CoQ10 molecule can and will quite easily give up one or both electrons to neutralize free radicals, and thus act as an antioxidant. Because of its ability to transfer electrons and therefore act as both a cellular antioxidant and a mitochondrial electron carrier in the energy production cycle, Coenzyme Q is extremely useful as a dietary supplement.
Surprisingly, free radicals also play a useful role in cellular functioning. Therefore, the antioxidant role of fat soluble antioxidants like Coenzyme Q10 and vitamin E, which works in combination with Coenzyme Q10, is not to entirely “mop up” and eliminate free radicals, as one might easily presume; rather, their major function is to neutralize and limit the quantity of free radicals in our cells to a functionally safe level.
How do we get Coenzyme Q10?
Although our body makes Coenzyme Q10 in the liver, we also get some of what we need from food. Good food sources of CoQ10 include fish, such as sardines and mackerel, fish oils, vegetable oils, organ meats, eggs, and the germs of whole grains. The germs of whole grains are also the best source of vitamin E, which synergistically enhances the effects of CoQ10. There are a considerable number of vegetable sources of Coenzyme Q10, the richest being spinach, broccoli, and peanuts, although the amount is significantly smaller than that found in meats.
Even though CoQ10 is available in food and we create it in our body, we often cannot make enough for optimal functioning, especially as we get older and our natural production of Coenzyme Q10 diminishes. When that happens, the therapeutic amounts needed usually exceed what the body can either make or we can absorb from food. The result is that supplementation with CoQ10 in optimal amounts is always beneficial. This is because CoQ10 is both an antioxidant, and an essential component of life supporting energy production in every cell of the body.
How is Coenzyme Q10, or CoQ10 used for gum disease?
Gum disease, which starts as gingivitis, and often becomes more severe as periodontitis, is a widespread problem in the United States and other western countries. A constant feature of gum disease is a deficiency of Coenzyme Q10 in the gum tissue cells. This has been demonstrated in clinical studies, where samples of gum tissue taken from patients with diseased periodontal, or gum tissue, had less Coenzyme Q10 than normal gum tissue, which showed no deficiency. The greater the deficiency, the more likely gum disease will be present. When a Co Q10 tissue deficiency approaches 25 percent, it is almost always associated with disease.
Some researchers concluded from this observation, that Coenzyme Q10 is needed to properly repair gum tissue, which led them to study what would happen if coenzyme Q10 were given to restore gum levels to normal. Carefully controlled double blind scientific experiments demonstrated that supplementation with as little as fifty milligrams per day of Coenzyme Q10 resulted in a reduction of inflammation, with faster healing and tissue repair than in subjects given a placebo, or imitation supplement without any CoQ10.
In spite of the fact that a placebo was used, the results were so dramatic that the researchers could accurately predict, from the appearance of the gums, who was getting the Coenzyme Q10 and who was not. Other scientific studies with both humans and animals have confirmed the therapeutic effectiveness of Co Q10 for reversing gum disease.This should not be surprising, since healing and repair of gum tissues requires efficient energy production, which requires sufficient amounts of Coenzyme Q10.
Should you take a Coenzyme Q10 supplement for your gums?
Let’s summarize what has already been stated on this page:
- Coenzyme Q10 provides the spark that ignites the burning of digested foods with oxygen, to produce the energy needed in every cell.
- Coenzyme Q10 is also an important antioxidant, providing protection from oxidative damage which injures tissue cells and body organs.
- Even though CoQ10 is available in food, the amount we can obtain may be inadequate, and the body often cannot make enough for optimal functioning, especially as we age.
- Scientific experiments have shown that supplementation with as little as fifty milligrams per day of Coenzyme Q10 resulted in tissue repair, healing, and decrease of inflammation in subjects with gum disease.
- Healing and repair of gum tissues requires efficient energy production, which requires sufficient amounts of Coenzyme Q10. Because CoQ10 is involved in basic energy production by every cell in the body, optimal amounts are always beneficial.
- Our natural production of Coenzyme Q10 diminishes as we get older.
Whether or not you choose to add Coenzyme Q10 supplementation to your diet is a matter of personal choice. The benefits of taking a high quality CoQ10 supplement seem to be obvious. The CoQ10 supplement will only be used by the body if required, and there is no evidence of any side effects or significant risks to humans.
How will strengthening your immune system also contribute to healthy gums?
Let’s look at gum disease from a holistic viewpoint. When our gums are sick, an enormous number of germs are always found on our teeth and gums. Some germs are good – for example, we need lots of special bacteria called probiotics in our gut to remain healthy. Some germs are bad because, under the right circumstances, they can make us sick. But bad germs aren’t really bad. Bad germs, including viruses and yeasts organisms, can only infect and hurt us if we let them do this.
For this to happen, they need an already weakened immune system, and an acidic state in our body, which favors the growth of germs associated with infections. This includes the mouth of course. When our immune system isn’t strong enough to prevent these bad germs from growing around our teeth, they will establish themselves on our teeth and infect the gums. Then, and only then, can all the unpleasant consequences of gum disease occur.
Look at our Holistic Solution with Supplements page. It’s loaded with information on specialized nutritional support which includes premium Coenzyme Q10 to help keep your gums healthy.
So what can you do to strengthen your immune system?
You are in control of your health! You can create within yourself a slightly alkaline, health promoting environment and make your immune system very strong. All you have to do is:
- Follow a healthy life style by consuming the right kinds of foods and drinks, including fruits and vegetables and other foods that are organic, whole grain, unprocessed or raw, and contain no added sugars, chemicals or synthetic ingredients of any kind.
- Exercise regularly.
- Avoid as many environmental toxins as possible.
- Make nutrient rich, organic, all natural and whole food supplements a part of your diet.
Why should you take these special kinds of supplements?
Because, a well fed body is able to resist disease better than a poorly fed body. By adding all natural and organic whole food supplements to your diet, your body will be well fed, your immune system will be stronger and as a result, your gums will be healthier.