Antioxidant supplementation and CoQ10

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The above video shows an  explanation of free radicals, how antioxidants work, plus a plug for a supplement called The Formulation.  I have no idea of the quality of this product, but the 11 antioxidants featured in the product are good examples of the huge variety of antioxidants needed by the body to reduce free radical damage. This selection is far from exhaustive.

Antioxidants – their variety, type and what they do is just a huge subject.  But one of the antioxidants used in The Formulation is worth talking a little more about.

And that is CoQ10. This is used by most cells in the body for stabilising effect of the cell membrane and in energy production. It is particularly good for the cardiovascular system, the liver, the nerves, the brain, dealing with inflammation and using fats for energy. Although it is found in small quantities in the diet, the body is designed to produce it itself.  But production does depend upon an excellent diet high in vitamins, proteins, and minerals with not too high exposure to environmental toxins.  This is virtually impossible to achieve these days in western society. And so as our nutritional status sinks, so does our production of CoQ10 -which also slows down as we age.  Another thing that lowers it is chronic (long term) high intensity exercise.

The pathway that CoQ10 is used in the body is the same as the production of cholesterol and this has to be why Statins have such a devastating effect on CoQ10 levels. 1 Typically people on statins have low energy levels and suffer from depression2 . So if you are on Statins, it would be extremely wise to supplement with CoQ10.  Although it is is available from dietary sources, this does not supply enough.  CoQ10 is also very good for treating periodontal disease, it really helps cardiovascular diseases and improves the quality of life for those suffering from Parkinson’s disease.3 If you are just feeling old and a bit droopy, high quality CoQ10 could help restore your zip (and get you back out exercising again to make more of those free radicals..)

The dietary sources are principally red meats, oily fish and, weirdly, avocados.  CoQ10 is sold everywhere – not only in health food shops, but also in supermarkets, and can be very cheap – but some is very expensive. Sadly, in these days of straightened circumstances, the only CoQ10 worth taking is going to be expensive – at least £30 a pot.  The problem lies in making it bio-available. So cheap stuff just passes right on through. Charity donation would be a better use for your money. The stuff that works comes in a soft-gel and is stabilised in a mixture of oil and water.  Vitamin E is an excellent preservative in this case – but the E should be natural and not man-made, so anything but D-Alpha Tocopherol.

The anti-oxidants talked about in the clip donate electrons to neutralise the free radical.  And this is how most anti-oxidants work.  However there is one group of antioxidants called flavonoids that are found in strawberries, tea, sprouts, apples, wine, onions and dark chocolate and these work in a different way.  They are slightly toxic to the body and this spurs the body into getting rid of them, thus inducing the liver to produce the right enzymes to get rid of these free radicals.4

To get the most out of antioxidant supplementation, it is important to vary the majority of antioxidants day, even if it is a broad based source as talked about in the final clip. This stops the body getting used to the supplement which keeps it working. It also ensures that you cover all bases.


  1. Ghirlanda G et al (1993) “Evidence of plasma CoQ10-lowering effect by HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors: a double-blind placebo-controlled study” Journal of Clinical Pharmacology 33(3):226-9 []
  2. []
  3. Book: ‘The Sinatra Solution.  Metabolic Cardiology. Stephen T Sinatra []
  4. Lotito SB, Frei B (2006). “Consumption of flavonoid-rich foods and increased plasma antioxidants capacity in humans: cause, consequence of epiphenomenon?” Free Radic. Biol. Med 41(12):1727-46 []

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