One of the world’s most popular supplements, the chemical coenzyme Q10 has generated great excitement as a heart disease remedy and a cure for countless other conditions. The body naturally produces this compound, which has been dubbed “vitamin Q” because of its essential role in keeping all systems running smoothly. In fact, the scientists who identified coenzyme Q10 in 1957 initially honored its ubiquitous presence–it’s found in every human cell and in all living organisms–by naming it “ubiquinone.” Small amounts are also present in most foods.
Carotenoids are the pigments that color some fruits and vegetables red, orange and yellow. Recent research has shown that, acting as antioxidants, these natural plant compounds can boost the immune system and possibly lower the risk of heart disease, prevent the onset of some cancers, and protect against such age-related diseases as cataracts and macular degeneration.
Carnitine is an amino acid-like compound that helps the body produce energy. While readily abundant in meats and dairy foods, some people take carnitine in supplement form to increase vitality. Carnitine transports fatty acids to the “factory” portion of cells, which then convert the fat into energy that the heart, muscles, and other body tissues can use.
From its bristly stems to its blue star-shaped flowers, virtually all parts of the borage plant (Borago officinalis) have been used over the centuries for their healing properties and as a flavoring for foods. As early as the 1600s, Europeans mixed borage leaves and flowers into a wine that was renown for relieving boredom and dispelling melancholy.
Beta-carotene is probably the best known of the carotenoids, those red, orange, and yellow pigments that give color to many fruits and vegetables. The body converts beta-carotene into vitamin A, a nutrient first identified in the 1930s and now recognized as vital to the growth and development of the human body.
Over the last several decades, scientists have discovered that the body’s formation of unstable oxygen molecules called free radicals is unavoidable–every cell produces tens of thousands of them each day. We’re also exposed to free radicals in the environment on a daily basis. Cigarette smoke, for instance, is one of the most concentrated sources of free radicals.
Q I saw an article in our local paper on citicoline, which they called a natural substance found in all living things. The article said taking citicholine as a supplement could boost the power of aging brains. Is this true? Also, what exactly is it?