What is Coenzyme Q10?

Sheri Cyprus

Coenzyme Q10 is a vitamin-like substance found naturally in the body as well as in some foods. Older people often have a lower amount in their bodies, as do people with some types of chronic illnesses. This substance is said to minimize wrinkling and aging and to have antioxidant properties.

The companies that make Coenzyme Q10 and other dietary supplements are loosely monitored by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The companies that make Coenzyme Q10 and other dietary supplements are loosely monitored by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

While many skin creams and vitamin supplements containing Coenzyme Q10 continue to be popular and some research has suggested that it has beneficial properties, the idea that it has "miracle" properties is somewhat controversial. The Mayo Clinic has stated that there is insufficient evidence to show that replenishing lost Coenzyme Q10 with supplements has any effect on the body. Some studies that have linked this substance with a reduction in blood pressure, however.

Vitamin supplements that contain Coenzyme Q10 tend to be quite popular.
Vitamin supplements that contain Coenzyme Q10 tend to be quite popular.

The Linus Pauling Institute has said that more research into the effect of supplemental Coenzyme Q10 is needed and has also warned that supplements may reduce the anticoagulant properties of drugs such as warfarin. The substance is found naturally in fairly high amounts in meat, fish, and poultry as well as nuts, canola oil, and soybean oil. Coenzymes are necessary for enzymes in the body to work properly.

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Coenzyme Q10 cream reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Coenzyme Q10 cream reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

The discipline of free radical chemistry studies the antioxidant properties of substances and some biochemical research has found Coenzyme Q10 to have an antioxidant affect on the body's cells. Antioxidants work at the cellular level and are said to help the body better handle the affects of aging. Increased oxidation is thought to make the skin appear less wrinkled.

Dr. Frederick Crane discovered Coenzyme Q10 in a cow's heart in 1957. Later that year, Professor R.A. Morton from England found a substance similar in a rat's liver. Morton observed that this quinone-based substance was ubiquitous, or existing in many places at once, so he named it ubiquinone. The pharmaceutical company, Merck, Inc., analyzed it and was able to manufacture it synthetically.

Coenzyme Q10 may be moderately effective at reducing wrinkles in the skin.
Coenzyme Q10 may be moderately effective at reducing wrinkles in the skin.

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