How did the story of the oil-soluble, vitamin-like substance, Co enzyme Q10 start? Who were the major players involved in it's discovery,knowledge of it's properties,and new discoveries of it's uses?
First, to remind us, what is it what is Co enzyme Q10?
Co enzyme Q10 is found in everyone of the little sausage-shaped bodies,(called the mitochondria), in the 100 trillion cells of which our body is made. There are between 500 and 3000 mitochondria in every cell! So in total that's trillions and trillions of them in our body!
It is in these little engines that the food that we eat and the oxygen we breath, are used to produce our energy.
One of the main players,the "spark plug" in all this, is a natural substance called Co enzyme Q10,the job of which is to continually make and remake one of the the most famous molecules in medicine:- ADENOSINE TRIPLE PHOSPHATE (ATP).
This substance is continually being broken down to become ADENOSINE DOUBLE PHOSPHATE(ADP), the breaking down of which releases OUR ENERGY, only to be rebuilt then broken down then rebuilt over and over again to keep giving us our energy so that we can do every thing we want to do over and over again
ATP< >ADP ADP< >ATP ATP < >ADP etc...etc...
This reaction takes place trillions and trillions of times every second in all the mitochondria of our cells,and scientists have worked out that every day we make an amount of ATP equal to half our body weight!Yes, that's right,if you weigh, say, 12 stones then you make 6 stones of ATP every day!
CO enzyme Q10 is found, to a certain extent,in our food, such as in:-
Peanuts, mackerel, herring, sardines (you would have to eat 3 pounds of sardines to get the amount of Co enzyme Q10 in one 100mg capsule!), meat, fish, poultry, kidney, liver, heart, nuts, canola oil, and soybean oil but the majority of Co-enzyme Q10 we make ourselves in our own cells, but especially in our liver.
2000mg is roughly the amount in the average person's body but after the age 21 liver production starts to diminish, and by the time we reach the age 40 our levels are back to the levels of a 2 year old! So, if you are thinking of maintaining your energy levels in your ageing body then think of taking a supplement of Co enzyme Q10 on a regular basis.
How DID it all start?
As Dennis the Chemist, I have had the honour of meeting two of the three main players involved in the story of Co enzyme Q10. The first was Professor Frederick L. Crane, who is now aged 92. I have met him at several of the world conferences on Co enzyme Q10 over the last 15 years:- Boston, Germany, Italy, London, Prague and Los Angeles. He is the discoverer of Co-enzyme Q10 which happened in 1957.
In 1978, Dr. Peter Mitchell of Glynn Research Laboratories, Bodmin, Cornwall, U.K.received a NOBEL PRIZE for his research on important new aspects of Co enzyme Q10 in mitochondrial energy production.
A few years later in 1986, the late Professor Dr. Karl Folkers (who sadly died age 91 several years ago) was awarded the Priestly Medal from the American Chemical Society for his work with Co-enzyme Q10. He had already been presented a Presidential Certificate of Merit by President Harry Truman in 1948, elected President of the American Chemical Society in 1962, co-recipient of the VanMeter Prize given by the American Thyroid Association in 1969, and in 1990, his numerous merits were rewarded with the President's National Medal of Science by President George Bush,with the citation:-
"FOR HIS DISCOVERIES AND LEADERSHIP IN COMBINING BASIC CHEMICAL RESEARCH AND CLINICAL MEDICINE TO ACHIEVE NEW TREATMENTS OF DISEASES WHICH HAVE ENHANCED THE QUALITY OF LIFE AND EXTENDED SURVIVAL RATES FOR COUNTLESS PEOPLE".
It was around this time that, having learnt of the wonders of Co-enzyme Q10 from numerous articles, including the work of Professor Folkers and his work in giving it to cancer patients to help "enhance the quality of life and help to extend survival rates" I started to phone him in America on a regular basis to update him on the progress of patients with cancer who were taking, in addition to their chemotherapy/radiation treatment, Co-enzyme Q10 with another complimentary food substance, the mineral selenium, levels of which, here in the U.K. are the lowest in the world.
He was very pleased with me giving it to so many cancer patients. He said, on the phone, "Dennis, you are my friend, your results show the way Co-enzyme Q10 should be used in high doses (100mg four times day with food). You call me Karl."
He sent me a signed photograph, which I have in pride of place in my Pharmacy, here in Prestwich, Manchester, England, and which, over the years, thousands of customers/patients have read. It reads:-
"TO DENNIS, THANKING YOU FOR YOUR INITIATIVE AND INSPIRATION IN USING CO ENZYME Q10 and CANCER SIGNED KARL."
He told me he hoped that there would be enough money generated from interested parties world wide to support very large scale trials to further his research on the use of Co enzyme Q10 in enhancing the quality of life and extending survival rates in cancer patients.We discussed the fact that we thought higher doses would be part of the answer as,15 years ago, when these conversations were taking place, many trials were only using levels of 100mg daily.
Now we know that many people do use much higher levels in different illnesses, and whereas in those days, a dose of 100mg would give a blood level of 2.0 micrograms per ml of blood much higher doses are now given, which culminate in levels as high as 7.0 micrograms per ml of blood. He also felt that many other natural factors would be discovered to enhance the quality of life and extend survival rates, and much research has been ongoing with potential benefits emerging from natural products such as bilberries, pomegranates, alkylglycerols, salvestrols, 1.3/1.6 glucans, plant sterols and sterolin glycosides.
In 1997, the International Co-enzyme Q10 Association was founded by renowned scientists, nutritionalists, and doctors. Kaneka Corporation of Japan, was amongst the founding members.
In 2006 due to rapid growth in consumer consumption in the USA, Kaneka Corporation built the first manufacturing plant in the USA. Kaneka Corporation is the world's largest manufacturer of Co-enzyme Q10.