CoQ10 is similar to vitamin K, which protects the body against free radical damage and exerts a protective effect on cell membranes. It is a naturally occurring fat-soluble antioxidant, necessary to the functioning of every cell in our bodies. It is produced in the body and found throughout nature in plants and animals. In man, CoQ10 was first discovered by Lamberts consultant Dr Len Mervyn.
CoQ10 is a vitamin-like substance found within the mitochondria of every cell in the human body. A lack of CoQ10 has been associated with periodental (gum) disease. Similarly it has been shown that heart patients and the obese tend to have low CoQ10 levels. CoQ10 is found in foods, particularly organ meat, but cooking and processing methods tend to destroy it and, whilst it can be made in the body, production declines as the body ages.
The antioxidant nature of CoQ10 comes from its energy carrier function, where the CoQ10 molecule continuously goes through an oxidation-reduction cycle. As it takes electrons it reduces and as it gives up on these electrons, it becomes oxidized. Once reduced, the CoQ10 molecule holds electrons rather loosely, so this molecule will quite easily give up one or both electrons and, thus, act as an antioxidant.