Tuesday, March 9, 2010


Food-drug interaction is a fascinating field of study and the quantum and quality of information available in this area are limited though there has been an explosive growth of drug industry during the last two decades. While new drugs have to undergo extensive human trials before approval for marketing, many drug like substances reach the market in the form of GRAS supplements with very little oversight regarding their use and consequences on the consumer. How these supplements interact with other food constituents/ingredients is a Grey area calling for studies to ascertain their effects. Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ 10) supplements which are now being marketed are not easily absorbed in the intestine and grapefruit which has a cocktail of biochemical substances is found to have beneficial effects in increasing absorption of CoQ.

"CoQ10 has properties similar to vitamins, but since it is naturally synthesized in the body it is not classed as such. Our ability to synthesise the compound peaks at the age of 20 and amounts in our body decrease rapidly after we pass the age of 40. With chemical structure 2,3-dimethoxy-5-methyl-6-decaprenyl-1,4-benzoquinone, it is also known as ubiquinone because of its 'ubiquitous' distribution throughout the human body. The coenzyme is concentrated in the mitochondria - the 'power plants' of the cell - and plays a vital role in the production of chemical energy by participating in the production of adenosince triphosphate (ATP), the body's co-called 'energy currency'. There is an ever-growing body of scientific data that shows substantial health benefits of CoQ10 supplementation for people suffering from angina, heart attack and hypertension. The nutrient is also recommended to people on statins to off-set the CoQ-depleting effects of the medication. Other studies have reported that CoQ10 may play a role in the prevention or benefit people already suffering from neurodegenerative diseases".

While many of the claims may or may not stand strict scientific scrutiny, the scientific findings on CoQ absorption cannot be brushed away and grapefruit happens to be one of the well known "health promoting" fruits that has many other properties beyond facilitating CoQ absorption. CoQ-grapefruit complimentary relationship can be an interesting area for further studies, especially to identify the chemical constituent responsible for this phenomenon and the mechanism involved. Grapefruit may also have positive role in facilitating utilization of other hard to absorb nutrients also which needs to be looked into.


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