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Ubiquinones are a class of lipid-soluble benzoquinones that are involved in mitochondrial electron transport. They are found in the majority of aerobic organisms, from bacteria to mammals, hence the name “ubiquinone” (“ubiquitous quinone”). Studies in rats have shown that levels of ubiquinone and cytochrome C reductase increase adaptively during endurance exercise training. This increase occurs in red quadriceps and soleus muscle but not in white cardiac or quadriceps muscle. The increase in red muscle levels represents a positive adaptation to training. Experiments have shown that ubiquinones participate in oxidation-reduction reactions in the mitochondrial respiratory chain. They also have properties of hydrogen carriers, thus providing a coupling of proton translocation to respiration by means of a chemiosmotic mechanism.
Structurally ubiquinones are analogous to vitamin K. The basic molecule is 2,3-dimethoxy-5-methylbenzoquinone, to which are attached variable terpenoid side chains containing 1 to 10 monounsaturated trans-isoprenoid units. The 6- to 10-unit chain forms (Q-6 to Q-10) are found in animals, with Q-10 being exclusive to humans. All of the ubiquinones have been synthesized in the laboratory. Studies with deuterated analogs of Q-10 have demonstrated that Q-10 occurs in a mobile environment within the cell, physically separate from the orientational constraints of bilayer lipid chains. This suggests that the bulk of the long-chain ubiquinones are not directly involved functionally in electron transport. Q-10 may represent only a small fraction of total ubiquinone.
- Ubiquinone Information for Consumers
- Ubiquinone Information for Healthcare Professionals (includes dosage details)
- Side Effects of Ubiquinone (detailed)
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