Chapter 10

Enzymes, Cofactors, and Coenzymes:



Enzymes are proteins that catalyze (accelerate) chemical reactions. 

In enzymatic reactions, the molecules at the beginning of the process are called substrates, and the enzyme converts them into different molecules. Almost all processes in a biological cell need enzymes. Since enzymes are extremely selective for their substrates and speed up only a few reactions from among many possibilities, the set of enzymes made in a cell determines which metabolic pathways occur in that cell.


Some enzymes do not need any additional components to show full activity. 

However, others require non-protein molecules called cofactors to be bound for activity. Cofactors can be either inorganic (metal ions and iron-sulfur clusters) or organic compounds, (flavin and heme). Organic cofactors can be either prosthetic groups, which are tightly bound to an enzyme, or coenzymes, which are released from the enzyme's active site during the reaction. Coenzymes include NADH, NADPH and adenosine triphosphate. These molecules act to transfer chemical groups between enzymes.


Coenzymes are small organic molecules that transport chemical groups from one enzyme to another. Some of these chemicals such as riboflavin, thiamine and folic acid are vitamins and cannot be made in the body and must be acquired from the diet.


                      The following Co-Enzyme is of significant importance:

Coenzyme Q-10 plays an important role in the production of energy within each cell of the human body.

Coenzyme Q-10 (Ubiquinone) is a naturally occurring cofactor in the electron transport chain, the biochemical pathway in cellular respiration, from which ATP and most of the body's energy are derived. 

Co Q-10 is considered essential for the health of all the body's cells, tissues, and organs. Coenzyme Q10 is found in every cell in the human body and is key to the process that produces 95% of the energy consumed at the cellular level.

Coenzyme Q-10 acts as part of another class of substances, known as enzymes. 

These important compounds are proteins found in plants, animals, humans, and all living things. Their role is to facilitate (to act as catalysts), in countless chemical reactions that take place in the human body. In essence, they make reactions happen without themselves being consumed in the reaction. When calcium is turned into bone, an enzyme makes the reaction possible, but the enzyme itself does not end up becoming part of the bone. When we digest our food, when we flex a muscle, when our heart beats, in some way an enzyme is playing a key role.

Enzymes consist of two parts, a protein portion made up of one of a variety of amino acids, and a cofactor portion that is either a mineral (like calcium, magnesium, or zinc) or a vitamin. When a vitamin, the vitamin is called a coenzyme.

Coenzyme Q10 is a naturally occurring vitamin-like molecule that has a structure similar to vitamin K. As part of an enzyme, it acts as a catalyst in the vital biochemical pathway that leads to cellular energy production. 

Specifically, every cell must have a special substance known as ATP (adenosine triphosphate), which provides all the cell's energy. The energy obtained from the food we eat is used to make this fuel for the cells, and when a cell needs energy, it breaks the bonds that hold the ATP molecule together. When this chemical bond is broken, it releases energy equivalent to approximately 7,000 calories, more than twice the energy a person consumes in an entire day. However, the body, at any given time, only stores enough ATP to sustain vigorous activity for 5 - 8 minutes. Thus, ATP must be produced constantly, and for this ATP to be produced, there must be a ready supply of CoQ10.

This explains why, in particular, COQ10 is found in high concentrations in muscle cells and especially in the muscles that form the heart - because the heart is constantly in motion, it creates a great demand for energy, and at the same time, a need for the CoQ10 to create it.

Various studies have found that as we age our body's supply of CoQ10 slowly diminishes. Clearly, it is beneficial to provide the body with an adequate supply of this important nutrient.

Coenzyme Q-10 is an important part of the "anti-oxidant network". 

Isolated in its pure form in 1957, researchers have found it to be an essential substance in cell respiration, electron transfer, and the control of oxidation reactions. A recent review of its therapeutic benefits suggests CoEnzyme Q10 may become a standard therapy for the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease, including angina pectoris and congestive heart falure. 

CoEnzyme Q10 deficiency has been reported in 60% to 96% of patients with gingivitis. Deficient levels of CoEnzyme Q10 have been found in diabetes mellitus, periodontal disease and muscular dystrophy. No serious side effects have been reported with long-term clinical use of CoEnzyme Q10.

 Cardiovascular disease is still the largest killer of both men and women in the US. More than 950, 000 Americans die of heart disease and stroke every year, accounting for more deaths than cancer, accidents and AIDS combined.

CoQ-10 is the world's most comprehensive cardiovascular support supplement. It is also the best selling cardio-vascular prescription drug in Japan. It is widely recommended to repair heart damage and to boost the function of the heart, as well as in preventative use to safeguard against heart attacks and valve damage. It has also been shown to be beneficial in breast and lung cancer, as well as helping to maintain cognitive function.

Although Coenzyme Q does occur naturally in all fruits and vegetables, it is difficult to get enough of it on a daily basis from food alone. Men who have proven coronary heart disease should consider taking 300mg of coenzyme Q a day, as should women with breast cancer, since this dosage has been shown to increase survival times in women with that disease.

CoQ-10 is an enzyme found in all cells of the body. It occurs naturally, and is the co-factor in the electron transport chain between cells. If it is lacking, the body's most important source of cellular energy is depleted, and many medical conditions are aggravated. It is most concentrated in the heart and liver, and is a vital component in the mitochondria, the body's metabolic factories.

It is a powerful antioxidant, scavenging free radicals, sitting in the membranes with Vitamin E, which it recycles to keep it most active.

It has been shown that enhancing the body's CoQ-10 can:

      Reduce many of the serious side effects of cholesterol and other prescription drugs such as Adriamycin, beta-blockers and psychiatric drugs.   

     Reduce the effects of aging    

     Aid in the recovery from a wide range of heart problems including angina pectoris, congestive heart failure and mitral valve prolapse.    

     Can reduce blood pressure and blood lipids at 60 mg day.    

     Assists chronic fatigue sufferers when administered at 100 to 300 mg per day.   

     Assists in weight loss by stimulating mitochondria and thermogenic activity 

     Treating chronic gum disease

     Building a strong immune system as a defense against all forms of disease

     May normalize blood sugar levels   

     Help maintain a healthy brain


Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is produced by the human body and is necessary for the basic functioning of cells. CoQ10 levels are reported to decrease with age and to be low in patients with some chronic diseases such as heart conditions, muscular dystrophies, Parkinson's disease, cancer, diabetes, and HIV/AIDS. Some prescription drugs may also lower CoQ10 levels.

CO-Q-10 offers many benefits. The RDA recommended dose is 30 mg. but a minimum dosage of 100 mg. is needed for medicinal applications.

As with all things, any therapies should be discussed with your doctor prior to beginning.

                                 CARDIOVASCULAR ENHANCER

Co-enzyme Q-10 is a fat soluble vitamin-like substance that is found in minute amounts in a variety of foods and although it is synthesized in all tissues, it is found in greater percentages in the heart muscle.
Coenzyme Q-10 plays an important role in the production of energy within each cell of the human body. Co-enzymes are co-factors upon which large and complex enzymes absolutely depend for their function.

Co-Q-10 is the Co-enzyme for at least three mitochondrial enzymes, (mitochondria are the power-plants of cells) as well as enzymes in other parts of the cell. Mitochondrial enzymes are essential for the production of the high-energy phosphate, adenosine triphosphate (ATP), upon which all cellular functions depend. Co-Q-10 is critical in the Electron and Proton transfer function, fundamental to all life forms - animals, plants and bacteria. 

CoQ10 is known to be highly concentrated in heart muscle cells due to the high-energy requirements of this cell type. Specifically, congestive heart failure has been strongly correlated with significantly low blood and tissue levels of CoQ10. The severity of heart failure correlates with the severity of CoQ10 deficiency. CoQ10 appears to be a major treatable factor in the otherwise inexorable progression of heart failure

Disease states that involve immune dysfunction have been recognized to have low levels of Co-Q-10. Q-10 is a powerful antioxidant and can greatly reduce oxidative damage to tissues as well as inhibit oxidation of LDL cholesterol. Co-Q-10 protects the mitochondria, the powerhouse of the cell, from free radical damage.

Co-Q-10 equals ENERGY which equals LIFE FORCE: 

Evidence supports positive results with the use of Co-Q10 involving various disease states:

     High blood pressure (hypertension)

Preliminary research suggests that CoQ10 causes small decreases in blood pressure (systolic and possibly diastolic). Low blood levels of CoQ10 have been found in people with hypertension, although it is not clear if CoQ10 "deficiency" is a cause of high blood pressure. CoQ10 is less commonly used to treat hypertension than it is for other heart conditions such as congestive heart failure.


    Alzheimer's disease

Promising preliminary evidence from human research suggests that CoQ10 supplements may slow down, but not cure, dementia in people with Alzheimer's disease.


     Angina (chest pain from clogged heart arteries)

Preliminary small human studies suggest that CoQ10 may reduce angina and improve exercise tolerance in people with clogged heart arteries.


    Anthracycline chemotherapy heart toxicity

Heart damage (cardiomyopathy) is a major concern with the use of anthracyclines, and CoQ10 has been suggested to protect the heart.

    Breast cancer

Several studies in women with breast cancer report reduced levels of CoQ10 in diseased breast tissue or blood.

    Cardiomyopathy (dilated, hypertrophic)

Some studies report improved heart function (ejection fraction, stroke volume, cardiac index, exercise tolerance).

    Exercise performance

The effects of CoQ10 on exercise performance have been tested in athletes, normal healthy individuals, and in people with chronic lung disease.

     Gum disease (periodontitis)

Preliminary human studies suggest possible benefits of CoQ10 taken by mouth or placed on the skin or gums in the treatment of periodontitis. Improvements in bleeding, swelling, and pain are reported.

     Heart attack (acute myocardial infarction)

There is preliminary human study of CoQ10 given to patients within three days after a heart attack. Reductions in deaths, abnormal heart rhythms, and second heart attacks are reported

     Heart conditions (mitral valve prolapse in children)

There is early data to support the use of CoQ10 in children with mitral valve prolapse.

     Heart failure

Several studies have shown benefits of coenzyme Q10 in people who have been diagnosed with chronic heart failure (with or without cardiomyopathy), including in transplant recipients. Some studies report improved heart function (ejection fraction, stroke volume, cardiac index, exercise tolerance). In some parts of Europe, Russia, and Japan, CoQ10 is considered a part of standard therapy for congestive heart failure patients.

     Heart protection during surgery

Several studies suggest that the function of the heart may be improved after major heart surgeries such as coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) or valve replacement when CoQ10 is given to patients before or during surgery.


There is limited evidence that natural levels of CoQ10 in the body may be reduced in people with HIV/AIDS.

    Increasing sperm count (idiopathic spermatozoa)

There is early evidence that supports the use of CoQ10 in the treatment of increasing sperm count and motility.

    Kidney failure

There is initial data from one small trial to support the use of CoQ10 in the treatment of kidney (renal) failure.


There is fair evidence to support the use of CoQ10 treatment in migraine prevention or treatment.

    Mitochondrial diseases and Kearns-Sayre syndrome

COQ10 is often recommended for patients with mitochondrial diseases, including myopathies, encephalomyopathies, and Kearns-Sayre syndrome. Several early studies report improvements in metabolism and physical endurance in patients with these conditions after treatment with CoQ10.

    Muscular dystrophies

Preliminary studies in patients with muscular dystrophy taking COQ10 supplements describe improvements in exercise capacity, heart function, and overall quality of life.

    Parkinson's disease

There is promising human evidence for the use of CoQ10 in the treatment of Parkinson's disease. 

Parkinson's disease is a degenerative disorder of the brain in which patients develop tremor, slowness of movement and stiffness of muscles. It affects approximately 1 percent of Americans over the age of 65. Although certain drugs, such as levodopa, can reduce the symptoms of Parkinson's disease, no treatment has been shown to slow the progressive deterioration in function.

A national clinical trial with 80 Parkinson's disease patients has shown that high dosages of a naturally occurring compound, coenzyme Q10, slowed by 44 percent the progressive deterioration in function that occurs in the disease. The greatest benefit was seen in everyday activities such as feeding, dressing, bathing and walking. 

Mitochondria produce the energy-containing molecules that supply energy to chemical reactions in cells; coenzyme Q10 plays an integral role in that process. Mitochondrial function is impaired in patients with Parkinson's disease and coenzyme Q10 levels are reduced in the mitochondria of Parkinsonian patients. In an animal model of Parkinson's disease Coenzyme Q10 was found to protect the part of the brain affected by the disorder. 

Coenzyme Q10 is also a potent antioxidant.

Coenzyme Q10 plays a crucial role in normal mitochondrial function both as a component of the electron transport chain, which makes cellular energy and as a molecule with antioxidant and pro-oxidant properties. Tissue coenzyme Q10 levels fall with aging. The normal lower levels of Coenzyme Q10 in older individuals may be a contributing factor in the progression of some diseases of aging.


Preliminary evidence suggests that CoQ10 does not affect blood sugar levels in patients with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, and does not alter the need for diabetes medications (Co-Q-10 does not help diabetes per se but diabetics can certainly take it without apprehension).

Uses based on tradition or theory

The below uses are based on tradition or scientific theories. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.

  • Abnormal heart rhythms, 
  • amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), 
  • antioxidant, 
  • asthma, 
  • atherosclerosis, 
  • Bell's palsy, 
  • blood flow disorders, 
  • breathing difficulties, 
  • cancer, 
  • cerebellar ataxia, 
  • chronic fatigue syndrome, 
  • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), 
  • deafness, 
  • gingivitis, 
  • hair loss (and hair loss from chemotherapy), 
  • heart irregular beats, 
  • hepatitis B, 
  • high cholesterol, 
  • immune system diseases, 
  • infertility, 
  • insomnia, 
  • kidney failure, 
  • leg swelling (edema), 
  • life extension, 
  • liver enlargement or disease, 
  • lung cancer, 
  • lung disease, 
  • macular degeneration, 
  • MELAS syndrome, 
  • metastatic disease, 
  • MIDD (maternally inherited diabetes mellitus and deafness), 
  • muscle wasting, 
  • nutrition, 
  • obesity, 
  • Papillon-Lefevre Syndrome, 
  • physical performance, 
  • prevention of muscle damage from "statin" cholesterol-lowering drugs, 
  • psychiatric disorders, 
  • QT-interval shortening; reduction of phenothiazine drug side effects, 
  • reduction of tricyclic antidepressant (TCA) drug side effects, 
  • stomach ulcer, 
  • swelling,

Drugs used to treat elevated cholesterol levels, also block the biosynthesis of Co-Q-10 in the heart muscle, where it is needed most.



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