Co-Q-10 CoQ10 is not a secret password nor is it the answer from one of Albert Einstein’s other mathematical equations. CoQ10 or Coenzyme Q-10 is in fact a substance that is found in every cell in the human body. It is also in animals and plants. First discovered in 1957 at the University of Wisconsin, CoQ10 aids in extracting energy from food. Of course that is very simply put but the gist of all this is that for our bodies to function properly we need appropriate levels of CoQ10. To be technical, this substance aids in and is crucial for converting the energy in carbohydrates and fats into usable energy. This all occurs inside the mitochondria cells. (Think of the mitochondria as a type of energy producing factory much like a PPL electric generating station.) To the point, our vital organs, such as the heart, require a steady supply of CoQ10. The body makes CoQ10 but some question whether it is enough. It has been said that levels of CoQ10 diminish as you age. Others propose that certain medications will interfere with this delicate balance of production and usage. In a 2004 commentary written by Dr Laurie Barclay MD, she reviews and discusses an article that was published in the archives of Neurology which elaborates on the negative effect that cholesterol medications may have on CoQ10 levels. The focus was the prescription drug Atorvastatin, otherwise known as Lipitor. Essentially, this article discusses that while statins, such as Lipitor, are widely used for the treatment of high cholesterol, coronary heart disease, and for the prevention of a stroke, there has been various adverse effects, most commonly affecting muscle. I guess this is no big deal if you think that statins are just going to make your biceps ache. But don’t forget that your heart is a muscle! The article goes on to say that this medicine may be suppressing CoQ10 production inside the body. This absolutely amazes me as we find ourselves attempting to fix one problem and are potentially creating another. This article concludes that “It may be reasonable to add CoQ10 in individuals receiving long term treatment with statins in general and Lipitor in particular”. I don’t know anyone who has ever used Lipitor “short term” do you? Beside it’s important role in energy production, CoQ10 has been associated with having antioxidant and anti-aging benefits as well. CoQ10 has been linked to protecting cells from free radicals. These free radicals are highly reactive chemicals which can damage your cells and possibly lead to changes or mutations. Some research suggests that COQ10 may also help those afflicted with Parkinsons disease. Maybe COQ10 would help ease high blood pressure as well. While the FDA has not officially set a recommended daily intake (RDI), it is not uncommon to see individuals supplementing with 60 mg to over 200 mg of co-enzyme Q-10 daily. "To Your Health" is a health commentary only and does not claim to diagnose and/or make treatment recommendations. Always seek the advice of your health care professional.