“Chlorophyll is the green pigment that makes green leaves green. Chlorophyll in our bloodstream after eating greens may react with wavelengths of sunlight that reactivate the antioxidant Coenzyme Q10 (ubiquinol).”
— Dr. Michael Greger, NutritionFacts.com
Dr. Michael Greger
How to Regenerate Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) Naturally
(A vital compound that helps generate energy in your cells.)
Sunlight is the most abundant energy source on this planet. However, only plants are really able to use sunlight directly — or so we thought.
After eating plants, animals, too, may be able to derive energy directly from sunlight as well. What?! First of all, the light can’t get through our skin, right? Wrong, as was demonstrated by century-old science—and any kid who’s ever shined a flashlight through their fingers; the red wavelengths do get through.
In fact, if you step outside on a sunny day, there’s enough light going through to your brain, you could read a book in there. OK, so our internal organs are bathed in sunlight, and absorbed chlorophyll in the body does actually appear to produce cellular energy, but unless we eat so many greens we turn green ourselves, the energy produced is probably negligible.
However, light-activated chlorophyll in our body may help regenerate Coenzyme Q10. CoQ10 is an antioxidant our body basically makes from scratch using the same enzyme that our body uses to make cholesterol, the same enzyme that’s blocked by cholesterol-lowering statin drugs. So, if CoQ10 production gets caught in the crossfire, then maybe that explains why statins increase our risk of diabetes, by accidentally also reducing CoQ10 levels.
Maybe that’s why statins can lead to muscle breakdown. So, should statin users take CoQ10 supplements? No, they should improve their diets sufficiently to stop taking drugs that muck with their biochemistry. And by doing so, by eating more plant-based chlorophyll-rich diets, they may best maintain their levels of active CoQ10, also known as ubiquinol.
However, when ubiquinol is used as an antioxidant, it is oxidized to ubiquinone. And for ubiquinol to act as an effective antioxidant again, the body must regenerate ubiquinol from ubiquinone, maybe using dietary chlorophyll metabolites and light.
They exposed some ubiquinone and chlorophyll metabolites to the kind of light that makes it into our bloodstream, and poof, CoQ10 was reborn, but without the chlorophyll, or without the light, nothing happened. And look, we get light, we get chlorophyll if we’re eating our veggies.
Maybe that’s how we maintain such high levels of CoQ10 in our bloodstream. Maybe that explains why dark green leafy vegetables are so good for us. We know the sun can be good for us; we know greens can be good for us. These benefits are commonly attributed to an increase in vitamin D from sunlight exposure and all the antioxidants from green vegetables. But maybe these explanations might be incomplete.