Coenzyme Q10, also known as ubiquinone, is present in every cell in the human body. CoQ10 is essential in the production of adenosine-5-triphosphate (ATP), the dominant form of cellular energy in the body.
In 1957, American biologist Frederick Crane became the first person to isolate coenzyme Q10 in his experiments with beef heart mitochondria. In 1958, Karl Folkers, working with Merck Inc., created the first synthesised CoQ10, using a fermentation process. Clinical studies have been conducted since the 1980s to determine CoQ10's effects on the heart and overall health.
Coenzyme Q10 can be biosynthesized by humans from the amino acid tyrosine. The reaction has multiple stages, and requires the additional nutrients vitamin B2, vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), vitamin B6, vitamin B9 (folic acid), vitamin B12 and vitamin C. The CoQ10 in nutritional supplements can be made from a variety of fermentation processes. As the FDA has not regulated production, there is no recommended process.
Many believe CoQ10 supplementation can increase heart health because the heart contains most of the body's two grams of coenzyme Q10. The ATP created from CoQ10 powers the heart. Increased CoQ10 intake is not supported by the American Heart Association, but many believe it can help prevent congestive heart failure by increasing the heart's stored ATP energy.
Coenzyme Q10 has shown antioxidant capabilities in some clinical studies. Antioxidants are nutrient substances that can neutralise free radicals, which are waste byproducts of cellular process that can damage cells. Unchecked cellular damage caused by free radicals can increase an individual's risk of cancer. CoQ10 can also prevent heart damage caused by certain drugs used to treat cancer.
Coenzyme Q10 can be administered either intravenously or as a dietary capsule, the latter being the more popular form. Recommended daily dosage for adults is anywhere between 30 and 90 milligrams. There is no known level of CoQ10 toxicity, and side effects are minimal.