CoQ10, short for Coenzyme Q10, is a substance known for its vitamin-like activity within cells. As such, it is often referred to as a micronutrient. It plays an indispensable part in the production of chemical energy in the form of adenosine triphosphate as it is directly involved in electron transfer chain. Its completely reduced form is known as ubiquinol, which has been observed to be more bioavailable.
Supplements that contain either CoQ10 or ubiquinol are noted for their effects on cellular energy, the reason why there are marketed as energy boosters. However, their physiological roles are not limited to the synthesis of adenosine triphosphate. They are involved in a continuing cycle of oxidation and reduction at the cellular level, which significantly contributes to the antioxidant defense of cells.
Aerobic metabolism refers to chemical reactions implicated in energy production that necessitates the presence of an oxidizing agent, which is molecular oxygen. Chemical energy in use throughout the body comes in the form of adenosine triphosphate. In the event that the availability of oxygen molecules is compromised, as is the case curing intense exercise, cells utilize other oxidizing agents.
Cellular respiration can be aerobic or anaerobic, depending on the oxidizing agent employed. Almost all cases of cellular respiration within human cells occur in the presence of oxygen, and thus aerobic in nature. In its fully oxidized form, CoQ10 participates in electron transfer chain that takes place in mitochondria during aerobic metabolism, producing more energy than anaerobic metabolism.
There are drawbacks to aerobic metabolism, inasmuch as it gives rise to harmful derivatives known as reactive oxygen species, which include singlet oxygen, peroxides, and free radicals. For more than a hundred years, reactive oxygen species have been the subject of scientific research and laboratory studies largely due to the fact that they impair cellular function and trigger disease activity.
Ubiquinol is produced when CoQ10 is fully reduced, following electron transfer chain within cells. It is an organic compound rich in electrons, making it an ideal neutralizer of reactive oxygen species. It not only scavenges free radicals, but also significantly enhances the overall antioxidant capacity of cells throughout the body as it replenishes other known antioxidants, such as vitamin C and vitamin E.
The pervasive nature of CoQ10 and ubiquinol is one of the reasons why it has been extensively studied in the past few decades. Not surprisingly, CoQ10 and ubiquinol supplements have been linked to many health benefits, especially in the management and treatment of cardiovascular diseases, radiation injury, gum problems, neurological disorders, inflammatory diseases, and cancer.
It is a widely accepted fact that ubiquinol has better bioavailability in comparison with CoQ10. Since both of them are practically insoluble in water, it takes a relatively long time to absorb them. CoQ10 have been part of more clinical trials than ubiquinol, earning itself a positive reputation in the scientific community and nutraceutical industry. In fact, it is the third most sold supplement in the US.
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