Co-enzyme Q10 is an essential element in allowing the mitochondria in our cells to convert food into energy, and up to 95% of the body’s energy is converted with the help of Q10. As people age, the production of Q10 is reduced, resulting in less available energy, not just for the muscles, but also for major organs such as the heart, liver and lungs.
Because Q10 plays such an important part in energy conversion, large quantities are found in our hearts, brains and other organs. Since the heart is a muscle that works 24 hours a day, the demand for Q10 in the heart is high. Q10 is also a powerful antioxidant, not just in the heart, but in most of the cells in the body, and because of its role in the use of energy, can prevent the muscles from tiring during physical activity. One of the many uses of Q10 is keeping the gums healthy, and gingivitis (gum disease) could be a possible sign of a Q10 deficiency. Younger people convert other, more readily available CoQ enzymes into Q10, but the elderly may not, since the process requires eight vitamins, several trace elements and an amino acid, and takes seventeen stages to complete.
Since older people sometimes have problems absorbing certain vitamins and trace minerals this could lead to less production of Q10 in the body. Unfortunately there are not many good common food sources rich in Q10, and the best tend to be animal organs such as the heart or liver. Other food sources include beef, soy, sardines, mackerel, spinach and peanuts. Supplement forms of Q10 are available in capsule form, and are best taken with a meal containing fats, to ensure the body absorbs the Q10 efficiently.
Long term use of statin medicines (to lower cholesterol levels) could reduce the quantity of Q10 in the body, making this an interesting supplement for people on these medications.
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