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The Health Benefits of Coenzyme Q10
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a compound found in the energy-producing center of the cell known as the mitochondria. CoQ10 is involved in the making of an important molecule known as adenosine triphosphate (ATP). 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.
CoQ10 levels are reported to decrease with age and to be low in patients with some chronic diseases such as heart conditions, muscular dystrophies, Parkinson's disease, cancer, diabetes, and HIV/AIDS. Some prescription drugs may also lower CoQ10 levels.
Our bodies are able to produce some of the CoQ10 that we need. The rest is synthesized from the foods we eat. The highest dietary sources of CoQ10 come from — in descending order according to content — fresh sardines and mackerel, the heart, liver and meat of beef, lamb and pork along with eggs. There are plenty of vegetable sources of CoQ10, the richest being spinach, broccoli, peanuts, wheat germ and whole grains — in that order, although the amount is significantly smaller than that found in meats. Also, it is important to note that these foods must be raw, fresh and unprocessed — no milling, canning, preserving, freezing, etc., plus grown/produced in an unpolluted environment to be considered viable sources. CoQ10 can also be taken as a supplement.
Clinical research suggests that using CoQ10 supplements alone or in combination with other drug therapies and nutritional supplements may help prevent or treat angina and heart disease. One important clinical 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.
Studies of women with breast cancer suggest that CoQ10 supplements (in addition to conventional treatment and a nutritional regimen including other antioxidants and essential fatty acids) may shrink tumors, reduce pain associated with the condition, and cause partial remission in some individuals.
Gum disease is a widespread problem that is associated with swelling, bleeding, pain, and redness of the gums. Clinical studies have reported that people with gum disease tend to have low levels of CoQ10 in their gums. In a few clinical studies involving small numbers of subjects, CoQ10 supplements caused faster healing and tissue repair. CoQ10 is used in mouth rinse products for this condition.
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