Can one nutrient really have such a range of benefits? Find out why coenzyme q10 can help some people lose weight more quickly, what it can do for the general population, and where it is found in food.

Co-enzyme q10 is an antioxidant nutrient that is found in every cell. It helps the body produce energy within that cell, being a coenzyme for several mitochondrial enzymes. The mitochondria is where cellular energy production takes place. Unfortunately, like many of the things our bodies need to maintain top shape, it's made less as we grow older. For this reason, many people choose to take Coq10 supplements, although it is also found in food.

The best food sources are organ meats such as heart, liver, and kidneys. But you can also find it in eggs, beef, pork, lamb, and mackerel (a type of fish). Vegetarians need not despair, as coq10 is also found in spinach, broccoli, peanuts, and wheat germ. The only caveats here are that the quantities are much smaller, and the quality of these foods is critical for them to even have that small amount available. These foods must be unprocessed, and grown in an environment that is free from pollution. Organic would therefore be preferable.

Another reason many people choose to use supplements of coenzyme q10, is that it is easily affected by the heat from cooking. Thus, it is best to get it from raw foods, though the best sources of coq10 do not lend themselves to being eaten raw!

So, what are the benefits of increasing the amounts of coenzyme q10 in our bodies?

Many people report feeling like they have more energy as a result of taking coq10. This could be a result of a number of factors. Coenzyme q10 is great for the heart, improving the ability of it to pump more blood. It also lowers the viscosity of blood, making it even easier for the heart to function optimally. But coq10 is also very supportive of the immune system. Some studies found that it doubled the level of antibodies, as well as increasing the body's ability to cope with viruses. Given that people are often dealing with the effects of bacteria, perhaps candida, worms, and other sub-clinical manifestations of disease, it no wonder that they may feel more energized after taking coenzyme q10. A healthier body has more energy available to it.

Given the connection between gum disease and cardiovascular health, it is perhaps not surprising that co-enzyme q10 is also beneficial here. It can stop the progression of gingivitis, and encourage healing and strengthening of the gums. If you don't like going to the dentist, and are bothered by bleeding or swelling of the gums, then coenzyme q10 may be a good oral preventative.

There are quite a few other areas that co-enzyme q10 is useful in. These include:

* weight loss
* high blood pressure
* multiple sclerosis
* chronic fatigue
* diabetes
* muscular dystrophy
* muscle weakness

It is important to realize that coq10 is not a 'cure all'. Even if you have any of the above, this supplement can only be of benefit if you are actually deficient in coenzyme q10. This is particularly important with regards weight loss, as this is one area where people are often too eager to follow claims of possible benefit.

The good news is that if you are in fact deficient in co-enzyme q10, then taking a supplement will help you lose twice as much weight compared to those who don't have a deficiency. But the key is, of course, that you must have a deficiency in the first place! Try and be objective, if you're interested in exploring whether this is for you. And don't think that it takes the place of exercise, or eating properly!

References: Australian Natural Health, Vol 6 No 2

Are there any dangers associated with coq10? Rebecca answers this and other questions on her health supplement site.

By Rebecca Prescott
Published: 1/19/2007