Spotlight On: Coenzyme Q-10

Ingredients, Skin Care

Structure of Coenzyme C 10

Coenzyme Q-10 — also known as ubiquinone — is found naturally in the human body as something essential for the production of cells (Mayo Clinic). Coenzyme Q-10 levels are at their highest for the first 20 years of life and then subsequently decrease as we age. Researchers are investigating how this coenzyme might be related to the aging process and longer life span. Though it’s shown process with lab rats, it doesn’t appear to do much for lab rats (MedlinePlus).

It’s also a powerful antioxidant that’s being studied for its potential heart-healthy benefits (University of Maryland Medical Center).

In the Body

Broken Heart
Coenzyme Q-10 is promising in treating heart conditions like heart failure.(Photo credit: Gabriela Camerotti)

Coenzyme Q-10 shows a lot of promise for treating ailments of the body (American Family Physician). Studies have shown how Q10 helps with neurological disorders. They’ve shown in studies to slow functional decline and improve mild symptoms in people with Parkison’s Disease (Archives of Neurology, Neuroscience Letters). They’ve been shown to have benefits for people with mitochondrial abnormalities (Journal of Neurology, European Neurology). And they even benefits migraine sufferers who saw a reduction in the frequency of migraines when taking Q-10 (Neurology, Cephalalgia).

Coenzyme Q-10 is especially promising for the heart. Several small studies have found the this enzyme is effective in the clinical parameters of heart failure, decreasing frequency of hospitalization, dyspnea, and edema (Clinical Investigation, Journal of Cardiac Failure, Molecular Aspects of Medicine). It’s also been indicated as potentially helping people with hypertension and atherosclerosis, but further studies, particularly on long-term effects, need to be done.

On the Skin

Iranian girl using sunglasses in northern moun...
Coenzyme Q-10 can help stop the effects of UV-irradiation. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Coenzyme Q-10 is considered a regenerative antioxidant (Journal of the American College of Nutrition). When applied to the skin it’s been shown to penetrate the skin layers and reduce the oxidation, reduce wrinkles, and also help prevent UVA-irradiation damage (Biofactors). It’s antioxidant and coenzyme effects also help prevent cell death. Q-10 is an integral part of the mitochondrial electron transport chain, which is depolarized by UVB-irradiation. When skin was treated with Q-10 before UVB exposure, it mitigated these effects and increased cell viability (Journal of Biological Chemistry).

In addition to this, it helps to suppress the inflammation that occurs with UV-irradiation. That was magnified when coenzyme Q-10 was applied with carotenoids (Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology). And when mixed with carotenoids, it’s also able to stop the UVR induction of matrix metalloproteinase-1, which degrade collagen (Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology). In this way it serves as a powerful ingredient in anti-aging.

It can degrade in heat and light, so products in air tight, opaque containers are ideal (Chemical Pharmacy Bulliten).

Bottom Line

Coenzyme Q-10 has beneficial effects in and on the body and hasn’t been found to have many negative reactions — though it’s untested on pregnant women and children. Some think it could help people live longer because it’s in every cell and is an integral part of cell production. It’s promising to help with neurological disorders like Parkinson’s Disease and migraines, as well as health problems like heart failure. On skin, it’s a powerful antioxidant and excellent for anti-aging.


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