Every cell makes CoQ10, so why are many deficient in it?
It is believed that as many as 75% of men and women over age 50 are deficient in CoQ10
- The body's natural ability to produce CoQ10 decreases by up to 80% with age. Starting around 25 years and accelerating after 40;
- As we age the body is less able to convert CoQ10 to its active form (ubiquinol).
The average diet supplies only a small amount of CoQ10 and is also deficient in its cofactor vitamins
Only small amounts of CoQ10 can be extracted from food. The best sources are organ meats (heart, kidney, liver - i.e. tissues with high energy demands); other good sources are meat, fish/shellfish (especially mackerel, salmon, sardines), peanuts, soybean, palm, olive, corn, sunflower and peanut oils, broccoli and spinach. However, a typical diet does not provide enough to maintain optimal CoQ10 levels. E.g. You would have to eat 1# of sardines, 2# of beef, or 2 ½# of peanuts to obtain the equivalent of a 30mg supplement, about enough to maintain health, but nowhere enough for therapeutic benefit against disease. Weber C et al. The coenzyme Q10 content of the average Danish diet. Int J Vitam Nutr Res. 1997
It takes certain nutrients to make CoQ10. These essential components can adversely affect the production of adequate amounts of CoQ10:
- Amino acid TYROSINE (Non-essential)
✔Tyrosine is found in many high protein food products. E.g. soy products, chicken, turkey, fish, peanuts, almonds, avocados, bananas, milk, cheese, yogurt, cottage cheese, lima beans, pumpkin seeds, and sesame seeds.
✔Tyrosine can also be synthesized in the body from phenylalanine (rich food sources of this essential amino acid are curds, milk, cottage cheese, pulses and legumes, poultry, piyal seeds (Indian), peanuts, pistachios, almonds, leafy vegetables, and whole grains).
- At least seven vitamins
✔ B2, B3, B6, folic acid, B12, C, pantothenic acid and certain trace minerals, such as selenium. In particular, dietary B6 (pyridoxine) is notably low in the elderly and those eating a refined / processed food diet.
Emotional stress depletes body's CoQ10. Emotional stress increasing oxidative stress in the body, which creates oxidants (E.g. free radicals). The body's CoQ10 supply is depleted when used to neutralize these oxidants.
Cholesterol lowering drugs
Cholesterol lowering drugs greatly reduce the body's ability to produce CoQ10. This is because the metabolic pathway that produces cholesterol also produces CoQ10.
Anyone taking statin drugs should be taking supplementary CoQ10.
Beta-Blockers decrease endogenous serum CoQ10 levels. By inhibiting CoQ10-dependent enzymes
Fuke C et al, Coenzyme Q10: A review of essential functions and clinical trials. US Pharmacist 2000.
Overactive Thyroid depletes CoQ10. By increasing thyroid hormone, metabolism is accelerated, which depletes the CoQ10 supply. Symptoms of hyperthyroidism include anxiety, bulging eyes, irregular/fast heart rhythm, irritability, muscle weakness, and weight loss. The heart is usually the first casualty.
Extreme physical exertion
Although moderate exercise stimulates the body's production of CoQ10, exhaustive, prolonged exercise depletes CoQ10 by using it up as fuel to support increased activity. Those at risk are weekend warriors and performance athletes.