If you start me up…
Whenever I hear ‘Coenzyme Q10’, the first thing I always think of, is what an unnecessarily confusing name this stuff has! Clearly, the scientist who discovered this substance wasn’t adept at branding – simply referring to it by its classification, followed by a seemingly random letter/number combination?
Note: Don’t even get me started on all the other names for this coenzyme: ubiquinone, ubiquinol, ubidecarenone, CoQ10 and coenzyme Q.
But, I digress.
This coenzyme does actually deserve a grand title, because our body relies heavily on this substance to create the energy necessary to simultaneously run all the different parts of our body efficiently. When we’re lacking in energy we can start experiencing all sorts of seemingly unrelated health issues and imbalances that can affect our blood pressure and sugar levels, poor gum health, and we may find it hard to recover from exercise.
This is because we humans are essentially a collection of assembled cells. And, within most of these cells are housed tiny furnaces called mitochondrion. Mitochondria need to be stoked with a consistent supply of specific nutrients in order to create the much needed (aerobic) energy required to run all of our cells optimally. These organelles are the source of at least 90% of the energy generated by the cell. (The rest is produced through glycolysis, which is the partial breakdown of glucose to lactic acid.)
Research has shown that the most consistent finding in fatigued people is reduced serum levels of Coenzyme Q10.
And, the more deficient we are in this nutrient, the worse we’ll be at being — well, energetic.
CoEnzyme Q10 supports our mitochondria to make energy because it’s a structural component of the Electron Transport Chain (ETC).
And, because this coenzyme is an antioxidant and is stress-protective, it also helps to ‘put out fires’ in our body by protecting the mitochondrion and by correcting mitochondrial defects.
Lacking energy is a real no brainer
Mitochondria only supply energy to the cell in which they reside. The organs in our body with high energy demands such as the heart, liver, kidneys, and the brain have greater numbers of mitochondria than those with low energy demands. For example, while the brain only makes up 2% of our body weight, it uses 20% of our total energy requirements. Therefore the first organ to feel the effects of low energy is our brain! (A tell-tale sign of Coenzyme Q10 depletion is ‘brain deficiency’.)
With the powering-down of this mighty organ, we may experience signs of:
- Brain fog
- Lack of mental focus
- Poor word recall
- Decreased mental processes e.g. learning or understanding
- Feeling flat
- Low motivation
- No stamina to see things through, and
- An inability to handle stress
Note: Research shows that fatigue patients have a clear difference in brain function and structure, which may make us more susceptible to mental health issues.
When it comes to our mitochondria, it’s not just about them creating physical energy for us. It’s about these tiny organelles creating mental & emotional energy for us also. Our mitochondria make us generally more resilient to the damaging effects of stress, and free radical damage.
This makes supporting the function of our mitochondria with supplemental Coenzyme CoQ10 an important part of any stress reducing, mood balancing, or general health rebuilding treatment protocol.
TAPS Code: PP1531
Lisa Fitzgibbon, Naturopath & Medical Herbalist
Lisa Fitzgibbon is a qualified (2006), experienced and registered Naturopath + Medical Herbalist. She draws on her professional training + experience, as well as her own personal experience to bring you realistic, holistic health advice. Lisa writes the popular health blog: www.lisasaid.so and practices at her clinic in Auckland – Oomph Health.