Focussing on Coenzyme Q10

Coenzyme Q10, also known as Ubiquinone, is a vitamin-like, fat-soluble antioxidant found everywhere in the body with the highest concentrations in vital organs such as the heart and pancreas. Highest levels in the heart occur at around age 20 however by age 80 these levels have reduced to less than half. One of its major roles in the body is to help convert the food we eat into energy to power our bodies and brain. It is now believed that Coenzyme Q10 is the key nutrient for generating 95% of the total energy required by the human body. However the effects of CoQ10 do not stop at energy production.

Heart disease

The great bulk of clinical work with Coenzyme Q10 has focused on heart disease. More than 35 controlled clinical trials in Japan, Europe, and the U.S. have proven that CoQ10 therapy is highly effective in the treatment of congestive heart failure, angina and ischemic heart disease, and myocardial infarction. CoQ10 pioneer, Karl Folkers,  found lower CoQ10 levels in patients with more severe heart disease and showed that CoQ10 supplements significantly raised blood and heart tissue levels of CoQ10 in these patients.

Statins

Statins are drugs that lower the endogenous production of cholesterol and are often touted as “life-saving” by cardiologists and the media. Due to the partially shared biosynthetic pathway of CoQ10 and cholesterol, these drugs, while blocking the production of cholesterol also block the production of CoQ10. How can drugs that lower the body’s production of CoQ10 benefit heart patients? The pharmaceutical giant Merck has known for more than 15 years that statin drugs interfere with CoQ10 biosynthesis, leading to low serum levels of CoQ10, which can cause muscles to atrophy. There was talk of adding CoQ10 to statin drugs but apparently this invention has not been implemented, probably because the world supply of CoQ10 is limited and would only supply one-sixth of the world’s statin users. It should go without saying that if you’re on statins you should definitely also be taking CoQ10 to protect you from the side effects of these so-called “life saving” drugs.

High Blood Pressure

Many clinical trials using CoQ10 in addition to traditional medical treatments have shown a blood pressure-lowering effect of CoQ10. In one study by Langsjoen et al of 109 patients with essential hypertension, 51% were able to stop between one and three antihypertensive drugs at an average of 4.4 months after starting CoQ10 treatment.

Parkinson’s

To date, various investigators have found that coenzyme Q10 may be useful as a neuroprotective agent for diseases marked by mitochondrial dysfunction. Some research has found that the level of CoQ10 is substantially lower in the mitochondria of the people with Parkinson’s Disease and that a CoQ10 deficiency can increase the risk of dopamine cell death in the substantia nigra region of the brain. One study found that the progression of Parkinson’s Disease was significantly slower in people taking the highest dose of CoQ10. Coenzyme Q10 is presently being studied as a potential treatment for early PD. Evidence that it may be helpful in late stage Parkinson’s is thus far unsubstantiated.

Other benefits

  • In studies of stroke in three animal models (dog, rat, gerbil), CoQ10 was the only agent giving complete protection and this was over two times more often than the next best agent (naloxone) of the many tested to date.
  • Another prominent benefit is in the treatment of periodontal disease. CoQ10 is reported to dramatically halt the progression of gingivitis and may heal the damage entirely.
  • People who are infected with the HIV virus and who are also deficient in Coenzyme Q10 tend to avoid the opportunistic diseases associated with this disease and slow down the progression to full-blown AIDS by supplementing with CoQ10.

Who needs CoQ10?

A healthy, youthful human body can make its own CoQ10, in fact up to 500 mg daily. With the possible exception of athletes, persons taking vitamin C should not have to supplement CoQ10 untilCoenzyme Q10 the fourth or fifth decade of life. This is because vitamin C promotes the production of CoQ10 in the body. However CoQ10 levels in heart tissue decline with age, causing the degeneration of cells, which may contribute to age-related diseases.  Those with a history of heart disease especially could benefit from high-dose CoQ10 supplementation. High doses of a good quality CoQ10 can work out rather pricey, however if you weigh this against the cost of a heart transplant, it comes in cheap.

Choosing a CoQ10 supplement

When choosing a CoQ10 supplement, do not sell your health to the lowest bidder. Since it is a fat-soluble nutrient it either needs to be taken with the largest meal of the day or choose a softgel supplement in which the CoQ10 is suspended in a healthy MCT oil. Powder-based CoQ10 supplements do not contain fat and are barely able to be absorbed by our intestines.

Learn all you need to know about our See Yourself Well Coenzyme Q10 here.

Safety of CoQ10

Coenzyme Q10 has a high safety profile and don’t forget it is made by your body so should be fine for just about anyone. However those on blood thinning or blood pressure medications and pregnant or breast-feeding women need to check with their health practitioners first.

 

Supplements- Are they necessary?

It is gratifying to see that more and more people are realizing the need to take responsibility for their own health and are striving to prevent illness by eating healthily. Unfortunately there is a downside to this because it also means there are more people falling prey to unscrupulous profit-mongers in the food industry who are jumping on the “health food” bandwagon. Fortunately there are many dedicated natural health practitioners out there who are not shy to speak out and to warn others of the dangers of so-called “health foods”, with certain cereals, margarines, milk, fruit juices, breads, health bars, sports drinks, “lite” foods and soya products coming under fire on a regular basis. Many of the synthetic vitamins and minerals added to these “fortified” foods cannot even be absorbed by the body, thus having the potential to cause more harm than good. As for vitamin and mineral supplements, there are some that have more toxic additives in the form of fillers or binders than the nutrients they claim to provide.

Welcome to the real worldhealthy

Some people believe we can get our daily requirement of vitamins and minerals simply by eating lots of good wholesome food in its natural state. I could go along with this, if we lived in a chemical-free world and all our food was organically grown. However we live in the real world, where our diets lack nutrients we were designed to have due to the adulterated foods we eat: processed, mass-produced foods grown in mineral-depleted soils using petrochemical fertilizers and pesticides and now we can also add genetically engineered foods to the list – lucky us!

Consider this quote from U.S. Senate Document #265:

“The alarming fact is that food, fruits and vegetables and grains, now being raised on millions of acres of land that no longer contain enough of needed minerals, are starving us, no matter how much of them we eat.  No man of today can eat enough fruits and vegetables to supply his system with the mineral salts he requires for perfect health because his stomach isn’t big enough to hold them…”. This document was written in 1936!  Of course the situation is much worse today.

Food is not enough

No matter how healthy your eating habits, it’s virtually impossible to get all the nutrition you need from food alone, and that’s doubly true if you’re over 50. Apart from our food, our air and water is also tainted with thousands of chemicals that play havoc with our health. Our bodies are continuously having to clean these chemicals out and compensate for their effects, which means a greater burden is being placed on our immune systems. For this reason supplementation is no longer a choice, it’s a necessity.

Which supplements?

The variety of multivitamins on the shelves is mind-boggling and many of them should be left on the shelf where they can do no harm. My advice is: “Go Natural”. Take supplements made from whole foods. These contain a broad spectrum of nutrients, phyto-chemicals, fibre, vitamins, minerals and enzymes which will have the greatest impact because they work together in synergy. They have the greatest level of nutritional and bio-available vitality and there is no risk of over supplementation, since they are formulated from food, not synthetics. (Some people absorb less than ten percent of a synthetic supplement pill – expensive urine!). The range of whole food supplements that gets my vote is the Vibrant Health range. Their plant-based superfoods, such as Green Vibrance for adults and Super Kids Vibrance for the younger set, support the four foundations of health namely, nutrition, digestion, circulation and immunity. Having been engineered by Nature, these powders contain all the nutrients and probiotics your body needs to maintain good overall health. To a daily serving of one of these super foods simply add two See Yourself Well omega-3 softgels daily to ensure optimum immune function and prevention of disease.

As Thomas Edison once wrote: “The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet and in the cause and prevention of disease”  

I do hope that the future he referred to is not far off.

 

 

Omega-3 supplements – how to choose the best

I know, it is a minefield out there and there are so many brands of omega-3 supplements on the shelves that it is mind-boggling. So let me make it easy for you to choose only the best, because when it comes to fish oil, only the best will do. This is because, thanks to the human species, the fish in our oceans have become so contaminated and the toxins are mostly harboured in the fatty parts of the fish from which the oil is extracted.  Follow this advice and you can’t go wrong:

  1. Is the DHA and EPA content of the fish oil in one softgel displayed on the label? These essential fatty acids (EFAs) are the active ingredients in fish oil. Ideally the concentration of EPA and DHA combined should be no less than 50% in a 1000mg softgel, eg: 400mg EPA and 200mg DHA means 60% of a 1000mg softgel comprises EFAs.
  2. Watch out for deceptive labeling. Some labels will display the DHA and EPA content in 3 or 4 softgels, not just one, making it look impressive when it is not. So take care when comparing prices.
  3. There should be no added ingredients apart from non-therapeutic amounts of vitamin E to prevent rancidity.
  4. What is the source of the fish oil? Be wary of cheap salmon oil supplements. The oils from farmed salmon, because they are fed vegetable matter, contain some omega-6 so are not pure omega-3. If in doubt look for oils extracted from smaller marine varieties such as anchovy, sardine and mackerel.
  5. Has the oil been certified by a reputable third party? If it has then this certification will be shown on the label and should confirm a star rating for safety, purity and label accuracy. On request the supplier should be able to issue you with a consumer report for the oil in the softgels, given the batch no. which should be displayed on the bottle.
  6. Do you experience fishy burps after consuming your fish oil supplement? A good quality, molecularly distilled, ultra-refined fish oil should not leave a fishy after taste.
  7. Are the manufacturers available to answer your questions? You should be able to ask tough questions of any supplier of fish oil regarding purity certification, type of fish used, whether cold or heat extracted, wild or farmed, sustainability and environmental impact.
  8. Is the oil in triglyceride(TG) or ethyl ester(EE) form? There is nothing wrong with the EE form however the triglyceride form is better absorbed so, although more expensive, you get more bang for your bucks. The TG form is more costly to produce so manufacturers will proudly display on the label if it is in TG form, meaning labels that don’t mention triglyceride will most likely be in ethyl ester form and should be cheaper as you will need to take a higher dose.

Of course I wouldn’t be telling you all this if the omega-3 fish oil supplements we offer on this site did not tick all of the above boxes. They have all been awarded a 5 star rating by International Fish Oil Standards. You can’t get better than that for peace of mind.