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What is Q10, how does it work, and what is appropriate dosage?


Ask Dr. Mike


What is Q10, how does it work, and what is appropriate dosage?

– Emily Deyanova, Assistant Manager of Green Acres Health Food in Piscataway, NJ


CoQ10 is an energy co-factor, or carrier molecule, necessary for optimal cell energy production. One of the leading theories of cellular aging is Mitochondrial Decay – decay of the mitochondrial biomass and subsequent loss of cell energy production or ATP.

There are many reasons why the mitochondria decay, for instance oxidative damage to the protein complexes involved in making ATP is one of them. And the loss of CoQ10 is another.

Research conducted at Baker Medical Research Institute, Australia, showed that the aging process itself reduces CoQ10 levels in the heart muscle wall by 72%. I believe that this can be extrapolated to other tissues, like nerve cells and other types of muscles.

And why is the loss of CoQ10 so devastating to cell energy production? Without CoQ10, an essential step critical to ATP production begins to fail: the flow of electrons. Creating ATP requires an electrical potential across the inner membrane of the mitochondrion. This potential is created by hydrogen ions, as they are pumped across the membrane. This pumping occurs because it is coupled to the transport of electrons from a donor molecule called NADH to a mobile carrier, ubiquinone CoQ10. If CoQ10 is missing, the electrical potential decreases as the flow of electrons and the pumping of hydrogen are diminished. The net result is less available ATP for cellular functions.

So a simple solution for the loss of cell energy production is to replenish CoQ10 levels. This is why it’s a foundation supplement. The average dose is between 100 and 200 mg/day. I suggest supplementing with the reduced, ubiquinol form of CoQ10. This has proven improvements in absorption and distribution throughout the body than the original ubiquinone form.

– Michael Smith, MD, Senior Health Scientist

Ask Dr. Mike is a new feature where readers are invited to submit questions to Dr. Michael Smith on a topic of interest. Click here to submit a question to Dr. Mike.

Michael A. Smith, M.D. is the author of The Supplement Pyramid – How to Build Your Personalized Nutritional Regimen., and host of Healthy Talk on RadioMD.com. He also serves as senior health scientist for Life Extension. His engaging ability to present complex medical topics, be it inflammation, diabetes, migraines, food sensitivity or weight management, in a clear, conversational manner has won him a sizable following among anti-aging and disease-prevention enthusiasts. Also known as “Dr. Mike,” he is heard on numerous syndicated national health television and radio shows. He is a graduate of the University of Texas, Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Texas.

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