Who doesn’t love being surrounded by people who exude energy?
Good energy is contagious; it motivates us as well as lifting our spirits. Energy is the fuel that drives our body through its daily processes and to a large degree dictates almost all aspects of our lives. When we have an abundance of energy the world is our oyster, we feel positive and our enthusiasm is infectious. The flip side is waning energy levels; these not only drag us down and demotivate us, but a low energy person will negatively affect all those around them too.
Central to our sense of vigour are tiny energy-producing units called mitochondria. These are located within all our cells (except red blood cells) and create around 90% of the energy we need daily. There is a catch though; our energy levels naturally decline as we age so scientists have looked into why this happens and how the mechanisms involved in energy production could be manipulated.
The answer in part lies in the workings of the mitochondria
Mitochondria generate adenosine triphosphate (ATP) – the major currency for energy in our body. Like a battery that gets charged, ATP sets off a spark that then can be used to deliver our daily energy requirements. But as we age both the amount of mitochondria and their degree of functioning decline, leaving us with diminishing energy levels. There can be many reasons for this decline including exposure to toxins – environmental, alcohol, hormone imbalances, infections, hypothyroidism, some medications, stress and overexcercing or inherited mitochondria mutations. There is also evidence that decreased mitochondrial function also contributes to diseases. A decreased ability to produce ATP is commonly seen in people with fibromyalgia (FM) and chronic fatigue syndrome. Furthermore oxidative stress may also play a role in the development of FM. Chronic heart disease is also a condition that can develop in the presence of decreased ATP production, and it seems that heart failure is caused by a lack of ATP production within the cells of the heart muscle.
Co-enzyme Q10 (Co-Q10) – is a nutrient that is found in all our cells and is a critical component in mitochondrial function – particularly the heart muscle. Co-Q10 is also an antioxidant capable of reducing cell death by up to 50% and being able to recycle other antioxidants such as vitamins A, C and E. Researchers at the Southeastern Institute of Biomedical Research in Bradenton, Florida, studied 20 women with chronic fatigue syndrome – some of whom required bed rest after just minimal exercise. Tests revealed that 80% of these women were deficient in Co-Q10. After three months of taking 100 milligrams (mg) of Co-Q10 daily, they were able to exercise for twice as long, and 90% of them showed fewer symptoms of fatigue, even more impressive, none at all. While Co-Q10 is produced naturally in our body, this decreases with age. Also in a more sinister vein commonly prescribed statin medications interfere with the production of mevalonic acid, which is a precursor in the synthesis of Co-Q10. People with cardiovascular problems should routinely take Co-Q10 and it is an imperative supplement for people on statin medications.
Co-Q10 is a large, oily molecule and is best absorbed when taken in an oily mix, such as blended with omega-3 essential fatty acids. Because all our cells have mitochondria, and Co-Q10 is present in each cell, the benefits to energy levels and overall vitality of Co-Q10 supplementation cannot be overstated. However, there is no need to wait until you notice diminishing energy levels or the diagnosis of heart problems – taking Co-Q10 daily as a preventative and supportive nutrient can only enhance your quality of life and offer superior support to all your body systems. With summer just around the corner now is an ideal time to build up your energy stores in order to be ready, and more importantly willing to embrace the warmer months!
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