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Coenzyme Q10 – the Modern Panacea*

Written by: Dubravka Tarle, MD, Spec. of Clinical Pharmacology; Prof. Zvonimir Pavlek, PhD

The Nobel Prize for an Epochal Discovery

In 1957, Dr Frederick Crane from the University of Wisconsin discovered the miraculous coenzyme from the mitochondrion of the beef heart and sent its discovery to the pharmaceutical company Merck, where it was isolated and named Q10 due to its chemical composition (quinone and 10 isoprene). It is also called ubiquinone, which means all-present, present in all body cells. Dr Peter Mitchell from Glynn Research Laboratories, Bodmin, Cornwall, UK, discovered its vital role in the production of cellular energy and was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1978 for that epochal discovery. Why epochal? Dr Mitchell's discovery refers primarily to the transfer of energy among the cells of living organisms. That is, Q10 is a catalysator in the metabolic process of turning food into energy, which takes place in cellular mitochondria. Coenzyme Q10 is normally produced in all cells but it is most represented in heart and liver cells, as well as in cells of the immune system. Naturally, the aging process reduces the ability of producing coenzyme Q10, which also happens in case of bad nutrition or digestion disorders. Therefore it is today commonly used in slowing down the process of aging. It also restores energy and protects the cellular tissue in many diseases and misbalanced conditions.

How does Q10 work?
Q10 is a cellular antioxidant; it protects the cells from chemical substances known as free radicals. It is the scavenger of free radicals. When the organism is affected by physical and/or mental strain, prolonged sun exposure, stress, polluted air, infections etc., cellular bonds break and free radicals are created. It is a kind of combustion in the organism and large-scale effects of free radicals are therefore called the „oxidative stress". Free radicals have a deficit of electrons in their external orbit and therefore attack the cellular molecules, from which they take electrons. This causes a chain reaction because destabilisation of the molecules brings about the creation of free radicals. Free radicals are oxidants (i.e. induce the process of oxidation). Their excessive creation is therefore prevented with antioxidants. The most important role in that plays Q10. This important coenzyme donates its electron to free radicals, preventing them thus in their further activity and stopping the chain reaction.

Why does our skin get wrinkled?
With aging our body loses the ability to synthesise the required quantities of Q10. For instance, in a 40-year old man the concentration of Q10 is 30 % lower than in a 20-year old man; in a 60-year old man it is as much as 60 % lower. The loss of Q10 is also caused by other phenomena which affect the human organism, such as polluted air, smoking, stress, sunbathing, physical strain. With the reduction of Q10, an important source of energy in the organism, the cells start to die out. This causes a reduced resistance of the organism, heart diseases, aging with visible changes of the skin, bleeding of the gums, loss of vitality and energy. signs of fatigue and wrinkles become visible, athletes lose their fitness...

Dr Peter Mitchell receives the Nobel Prize in 1978 for his discovery of biochemical transfer of energy among living creatures' cells by means of Q10. Today, this miraculous substance, which can be used as a dietary supplement, enables an extension of life span, a better physical appearance and an improved capabilities in all efforts.EM>

The consequences include more frequent infections, quick tiring, cardiovascular disorders, reduction of capabilities and strength, and the process of aging is accelerated. The wrinkled skin as a consequence is only an external manifestation of those processes. The seamen used to bring that miraculous coenzyme from America, which was much in demand by ladies who wanted to preserve their good looks and smooth skin. This especially holds true for coastal areas, in which ladies noticed that their skin lost its smoothness and got wrinkled. With excessive exposure to sunlight, a fair part of Q10 is lost and the skin ages at a faster pace. Q10 compensates that and in combination with vitamin E protects the skin and functions as a powerful antioxidant against free radicals that affect the cellular membranes. Therefore, if you want to slow down the process of aging, to extend your life span and your vital functions, you should start taking Q10 as of the age of 35, as reasonably recommended today.

Who should take Q10?
A recommended dose of 60 to 150 mg of Q10 should be taken by those who entered the mature stage of life; those who wish to keep healthy and fit and have the healthy heart, be strong, vital and fit for work and studying; those who are exposed to stress and sunlight; those who are active in sports or suffer from excessive physical strain on their workplace; those who recuperate from illnesses; those who wish to make their organism younger both inside and out. It is also needed by those who have not managed to quit smoking. Q10 stimulates the immune system and protects the heart from damages caused by some chemotherapy agents. The clinical trials conducted in the last three decades emphasised the efficiency of Q10 in improvement of heart functions in myocardiopathy and heart failure patients, as well as in case of heart malfunctions during open heart surgeries. The physicians know that statins, the medicines which reduces the level of cholesterol in the organism, reduce also the production of Q10 in the liver**. Therefore special care should be taken of taking both substances** on both sides. The application of Q10 is particularly increasing in case of heart diseases*** and the latest research studies also show that it is beneficial in treatment of Parkinson’s disease. The results obtained in treatment of male sterility are not unimportant either.

* In Greek mythology, Panacea is the goddess of healing. A miraculous remedy the alchemists were searching for - to cure all diseases, to use it as the elixir of life and as the philosopher's stone to turn metals into gold - was named after her.

** Source: Ghirlanda, et al.: “Evidence of plasma CoQ10lowering effect of HMG COA reductase inhibitors” Journal of Clinical Pharmacology. 1993., 33(3):226229., the synthesis of coenzyme Q10 is reduced up to 40 % during taking of statins.

*** A. Sears: The Doctor’s Heart Cure, Dragon Door Publications, 2004

**** The heart has the highest concentration of Q10. Therefore the deficit of Q10 causes cardiovascular disorders (See also T.S. Sinatra et al: Reverse Heart Disease Now: Stop Deadly Cardiovascular Plaque Before It’s Too Late, Wiley 2008, and the Website of Per Langsjoen, who published his research study conducted on a sample of 800 patients and found out that all forms of cardiomyopathy positively reacted to the intake of Q10).


  1. E.G. Bliznakov, G.L. Hunt: The Miracle Nutrient: Coenzyme Q10, Bantam, 1986
  2. B.M. LeyJacobs: Coenzyme Q10: AllAround Nutrient for AllAround Health! Latest Research As a Heart Strengthener, Energy Promoter, Aging Fighter and Much More, Bl Publications, 1999
  3. M. Zucker: User’s Guide to Coenzyme Q10, Basic Health Publications, 2002
  4. N. Messing: Zellenergie durch Coenzym Q10, Ganzheitliche Gesundheit 9. A., 2003

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