The coenzymes or co – substrates are small type organic molecule , non – proteinaceous, whose function in the body is to transport specific chemical groups between various enzymes, without forming part of the structure of them. It is an activation method that consumes the coenzymes, which are continuously recycled by the metabolism, allowing the perpetuation of the cycle and the exchange of chemical groups with a minimum of chemical and energy investment.
There is a very wide variety of coenzymes, some of which are common to all forms of life. Many of them are vitamins or come from them.
Examples of coenzymes
- Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NADH and NAD +) . Participant in the reactions of oxidoreducción, this coenzyme is found in all living cells , either as NAD + (created from scratch from tryptophan or aspartic acid), an oxidant and electron receptor; or as NADH (product of the oxidation reaction), reducing agent and electron donor.
- Coenzyme A (CoA) . Responsible for transferring acyl groups necessary for various metabolic cycles (such as the synthesis and oxidation of fatty acids), is a free coenzyme derived from vitamin B5. Meat, mushrooms and egg yolk are foods rich in this vitamin.
- Tetrahydrofolic acid (Coenzyme F) . Known as coenzyme F or FH 4 and derived from folic acid (Vitamin B 9 ), it is particularly important in the cycle of amino acid synthesis and especially of purine, through the transmission of methyl, formyl, methylene and formimino groups . A deficiency of this coenzyme produces anemia.
- Vitamin K . Linked to the blood coagulation factor, it acts as an activator of different plasma proteins and osteocalcina. It is achieved in three ways: Vitamin K 1 , abundant in any diet and of vegetable origin; Vitamin K 2 of bacterial origin and Vitamin K 3 of synthetic origin.
- Cofactor F420 . Derived from flavin and participant in electron transport in detoxification reactions (oxidoreduction), it is vital for numerous processes of methanogenesis, sulfate reduction and oxygen detoxification.
- Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) . This molecule is used by all living beings to feed their chemical reactions with energy and used in the synthesis of cellular RNA. It is the main molecule of energy transfer from one cell to the other.
- S-adenosyl methionine (SAM) . Involved in the transfer of methyl groups, it was discovered for the first time in 1952. It is composed of ATP and methionine, and is used as an adjuvant in the prevention of Alzheimer’s. In the body it is produced and consumed by the liver cells .
- Tetrahydrobiopterin (BH4) . Also called sapropterin or BH 4 , it is an essential coenzyme for the synthesis of nitric oxide and the hydroxylases of aromatic amino acids. Its deficiency is linked to low neurotransmitters such as dopamine or serotonin.
- Coenzyme Q10 (ubiquinone) . It is also known as ubidecarenone or coenzyme Q, and is common to almost all existing mitochondrial cells. It is vital for aerobic cellular respiration, generating 95% of the energy of the human body as ATP. It is considered an antioxidant and is recommended as a dietary supplement, since in old age this coenzyme stops being able to be synthesized.
- Glutathione (GSH) . This tripeptide is an antioxidant and cellular protector of free radicals and other toxins. It is synthesized in the liver essentially, but any human cell is able to manufacture it from other amino acids, such as glycine. He is considered a valuable ally in the fight against diabetes, various carcinogenic processes and neurological diseases.
- Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) . It is a sugar acid that acts as a powerful antioxidant and whose name comes from the disease that causes its deficiency, called scurvy . The synthesis of this coenzyme is expensive and difficult, so its intake is necessary through the diet.
- Vitamin B 1 (thiamine) . Molecule soluble in water and insoluble in alcohol, necessary in the diet of almost all vertebrates and many microorganisms , for the metabolism of carbohydrates . Its deficiency in the human body leads to diseases of beriberi and Korsakoff Syndrome.
- Biocytin . Indispensable in the transfer of carbon dioxide, it occurs naturally in blood serum and urine. It is used in scientific research as a dye for nerve cells.
- Vitamin B 2 (riboflavin) . This yellowish pigment is key in the nutrition of animals, since it is required by all flavoproteins and energy metabolism, of lipids , carbohydrates, proteins and amino acids. It can be obtained naturally from milk, rice or green vegetables.
- Vitamin B 6 (pyridoxine) . Water-soluble coenzyme eliminated through urine, so it has to be replaced through the diet: wheat germ, cereals, eggs, fish and vegetables, among other foods. It intervenes in the metabolism of neurotransmitters and has a prominent role in the energy circuit.
- Lipoic acid . Derived from octanoic fatty acid, it intervenes in the use of glucose and in the activation of many antioxidants. It is of vegetable origin.
- Vitamin H (biotin) . Also known as Vitamin B 7 or B 8 , it is essential for the degradation of certain fats and amino acids, and synthesized by numerous intestinal bacteria .
- Coenzyme B . It is vital in the redox reactions proper to the generation of methane by microbial life.
- Cytidine triphosphate . Key in the metabolism of living beings, is a molecule of high energy, similar to ATP. It is essential for the synthesis of DNA and RNA.
- Nucleotide sugars . Donors of monosaccharide sugars , are vital in the constitution of nucleic acids such as DNA or RNA, through esterification processes.