A 2010 study by Hokkaido University suggests that intestinal absorption of Coenzyme Q10 is significantly improved by the introduction of grapefruit juice. The juice increases the bioavailability of the coenzyme by inhibiting the production of a specific cell membrane protien called P-glycoprotein, the researchers said.
CoQ10 is a naturally-produced vitamin-like substance that is found in every cell of the body, but is most concentrated in the heart, liver, kidneys, and pancreas. It is present in the mitochondria or “power plant” of each cell, where it plays a crucial role in the production of chemical energy.
The coenzyme is necessary for the basic functioning of all cells, but the body’s ability to produce it reaches a peak at about twenty years of age, and decreases rapidly after 40. Though supplementation is a solution, low absorption and less than optimum bioavailability are longstanding issues with CoQ10 supplements. The findings of the Japanese study suggest that the “the co-administration of CoQ10 with grapefuit juice constitues an easily accessible way to improve intestinal absorption.”
But while the juice’s ability to effect protein activity raises the amount of CoQ10 the cell can absorb, the same action can have serious negative effects on the body’s ability to absorb certain prescription medications. Grapefruit juice has been shown to interfere with the production of enzymes that metabolize certain drugs, including statins commonly prescribed for high blood pressure and medications for high cholesterol and irregular heartbeat.
Individuals who are taking medications are advised to consult their physicians before adding grapefruit juice to their diets.
In addition to its key role in the production of energy at the cellular level, CoQ10 has been proven to be a powerful antioxidant capable of reducing, repairing, and even preventing free radical damage. Byproducts of cellular oxidation, free radicals are chemically unstable molecules that scavenge and damage other cells. This damage has been associated with a host of diseases and is implicated in virtually all age-related disorders.
A growing body of international research indicates that supplemental CoQ10 can be an effective adjuvant treatment for many conditions, including heart disease, high blood pressure, gum disease, diabetes, and both Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s Disease.
In addition, low levels of the coenzyme are strongly associated with certain types of cancer, including cancers of the breast, lung, prostate, pancreas, colon, and kidney, raising the possibility of supplementation as a potential treatment.