Coenzyme Q10, also known as ubiquinone or CoQ10, is a vitamin-like substance found in the bodies of almost all life forms.
CoQ10 is found primarily within mitochondria, the power plants of the cell, where it is a vital part of the energy producing process and also acts as a free radical neutralizing antioxidant. Natural production of CoQ10 decreases with age and also in certain health conditions. When CoQ10 levels diminish, we tend to see poorly functioning mitochondria and increased free radical damage which is now known to be associated with a whole host of degenerative health conditions and other ailments of modern life.
Since we know that CoQ10 levels decline in aging and poor health, why don’t we try and increase them?
Actually, we have been trying, it just hasn’t worked particularly well. CoQ10 supplements have been widely available for many years, however, the research has shown us that supplementing with standard CoQ10 just isn’t as effective as we’d hope. Although some benefits have been noted in clinical studies, the overwhelming body of evidence is just not particularly strong for many of the conditions it is claimed to help. This is mainly down to one important factor. CoQ10 is poorly absorbed.
CoQ10 is a fairly large fat-soluble molecule which ideally needs to be taken with food. This means that absorption from the intestine is relatively poor and slow. As a result, much of it does not make it effectively into the blood stream. However, some of the CoQ10 that is absorbed does make it inside cells, but only a very small amount of that actually makes it inside our mitochondria. This is because mitochondria make their own CoQ10 and also have very impermeable membranes, allowing only very few molecules to enter from the outside.