Coenzyme Q10 (also known as CoQ10, Q10, vitamin Q10, ubiquinone, or
ubidecarenone) is made in the human body. The term "coenzyme" denotes it as an
organic, nonprotein molecule necessary for the proper functioning of its protein partner
(an enzyme or an enzyme complex). The "Q" and the "10" in the name refer to the
quinone chemical group and the 10 isoprenyl chemical subunits, respectively, that are
part of this compound's structure.
It was isolated in 1857 and in 1958 the precise chemical structure of CoQ10 was
determined as 2,3 dimethoxy-5 methyl-6 decaprenyl benzoquinone. In 1978 Peter
Mitchell won the Nobel Prize for his contribution of understanding of biological energy
transfer through the formulation of the chemiosmotic theory, which includes the vital
protonmotive role of CoQ10 in energy transfer systems.
Coenzyme Q could best be described as a fat soluble nutrient (not a vitamin since we
can make it). It is very similar in structure to vitamin K and vitamin E. According to this,
research supports the idea that oil-based suspension of coenzyme Q10 absorbs better
than forms that lack oil.
Coenzyme Q10 is used by cells of the body in a process known variously as aerobic
respiration, aerobic metabolism, oxidative metabolism, or cell respiration. Through this
process, energy for cell growth and maintenance is been generated by mitochondria.
Coenzyme Q10 is also used by the body as an antioxidant that helps to prevent
cellular damage from free radicals created during intense exercise and during the
generation of energy. An antioxidant is a substance that protects cells from free
radicals, which are highly reactive chemicals, often containing oxygen atoms, capable of
damaging important cellular molecules such as DNA and lipids. In addition, the plasma
level of coenzyme Q10 has been used, in studies, as a measure of oxidative stress.
Coenzyme Q10 is present in the mitochondria of most tissues, but the highest
concentrations are found in the heart, liver, kidneys, and pancreas. Tissue levels of this
compound decrease as people age, due to increased requirements, decreased
production, or insufficient intake of the chemical precursors needed for synthesis.
It is contained in most meat products, especially organ meats like the heart, liver and
kidneys. Other sources include eggs, spinach, broccoli, potatoes, rice, wheat, corn,
sardines and mackerel. Various nuts like pistachios, walnuts, peanuts, chestnuts, and