Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a natural antioxidant synthesized by the body, found in many foods, and available as a supplement. It comes in two forms: ubiquinol, the active antioxidant form, and ubiquinone, the oxidized form, which the body partially converts to ubiquinol. Many multi-ingredient supplements contain both forms of CoQ10. In general, coenzymes support enzymes in their various biochemical functions.
Coenzyme Q10 is a vital participant in the chain of metabolic chemical reactions that generate energy within cells. It is found in every cell of the body (the name ubiquinone stems from its ubiquity), but is present in higher concentrations in organs with higher energy requirements such as the kidneys, liver, and heart. Many medical studies demonstrate CoQ10 benefits when taken as a supplement, most of which stem from its vital role in oxygen utilization and energy production, particularly in heart muscle cells.
Studies in both animals and humans have associated significantly decreased levels of CoQ10 with a wide variety of diseases. Since this enzyme is found in high concentration in heart muscle cells, deficiency has been associated with cardiovascular problems including angina, arrhythmia, heart failure and high blood pressure Problems with blood sugar regulation, gingival (gum) health, and stomach ulcers have also been associated with CoQ10 deficiency.
Those who are taking statins to lower cholesterol are at particular risk for deficiency, because not only do statins reduce cholesterol levels, but they also block Coenzyme Q10 synthesis in the body. Low CoQ10 levels in patients on statins can contribute to the common side effects of statin therapy such as fatigue and aching joints and muscles. There is no established ideal dose of CoQ10.
Studies have used doses of CoQ10 ranging from 50 milligrams to 1,200 milligrams in adults, sometimes split into several doses over the course of a day. A typical daily dose is 100 milligrams to 200 milligrams. Follow the instructions on the bottle or get advice from your doctor or a dietitian. Keep in mind that different supplement brands might have different ingredients and strengths. Here are proven reasons you should take a CoQ10 supplement.
CoQ10 and Aging
As the body ages, natural amounts of CoQ10 will drop significantly, as will the body’s ability to absorb this vital nutrient-like coenzyme. Low amounts of CoQ10 can lead to a loss of strength, vitality, and even pain, particularly in the muscles and vital organs like the heart. Cardiovascular health, including heart function, healthy blood pressure levels, and healthy cholesterol levels can be affected by lowered CoQ10. Additionally, CoQ10 is a highly active antioxidant that helps protect healthy cells from free radical damage.
CoQ10 has been shown to improve symptoms of congestive heart failure. Although findings are mixed, CoQ10 might help reduce blood pressure. Some research also suggests that when combined with other nutrients, CoQ10 might aid recovery in people who’ve had bypass and heart valve surgeries.
Reduces inflammation all over the body
Due to its antioxidative effects, research has found that CoQ10 reduces inflammation in the body. This is significant because so many diseases are caused by inflammation. We are realizing that inflammation is often due to our poor health habits, insufficient sleep, and… you guessed it lack of nutrients! CoQ10 is one nutrient you should increase to fight off disease-causing inflammation.
Supplementing with CoQ10 may help migraine sufferers by increasing mitochondrial function and reducing inflammation. More than just a headache, migraines can often be incapacitating sometimes lasting for days for those who experience them. They often involve a severe, throbbing headache accompanied by sensitivity to light, loss of balance, and/or vomiting, and they also affect women twice as often as men.
Cardiovascular disease (CVD)
Recent studies show that CoQ10 supplements can significantly increase HDL-C and ApoA1 levels, even in people taking statins, and may help reduce risk for CVD. CoQ10 supplementation also lowers levels of inflammatory biomarkers shown to be risk factors for CVD, such as high-sensitivity C-reactive protein. Finally, low CoQ10 levels have been associated with greater tissue damage to the heart during a heart attack and the brain during stroke.
Then there are CoQ10’s effects on neurological health and aging. CoQ10’s action as an antioxidant, shifting between ubiquinone and ubiquinol as it encounters free radicals, might explain its possible efficacy in slowing related diseases. Although evidence is conflicting, a rigorous randomized controlled trial of 42 patients found that 100 mg of CoQ10 three times daily decreased the frequency of migraine headaches by 30% and the number of days with headache-related nausea by 45%. Research has also found that long-term high doses of CoQ10 have the potential to slow symptom progression in people with early Parkinson’s disease. One such study used 300-2400 mg daily of CoQ10 for 16 months.
Ubiquinol is used as a marker for human patients developing lung adenocarcinomas leading to lung cancer, allowing protective measures to be taken. Human lung cancer patients have decreased antioxidant capacity and increased oxidative cell problems leading to further development of carcinomas. Intake of ubiquinol increases the antioxidant levels in cancer patients while decreasing oxidant generation leading to the formation of carcinoma cells.
Ubiquinol taken by human patients suffering from clear cell renal cell carcinoma increases survival rates through increasing cell metabolism even after kidney removal. Mice treated with Coenzyme Q10 were able to increase ubiquinol levels and antioxidant capacity to prevent the formation of cancer cells due to UV radiation.
CoQ10 Prevent Liver Damage
In patients taking statin drugs (to lower cholesterol), hepatotoxicity can be a serious side effect. Coenzyme Q10 taken as a ubiquinol supplement reduces the MicroRNA indicative of drug-related liver damage. Ubiquinol protects hepatic cells in the liver, preventing serious damage when taking statin drugs regularly. Additional supplementation of CoQ10 reduces the deficiency experienced by the liver when taking excess amounts of drugs. Liver myopathy is reversed with CoQ10 supplementation without damaging the tissues.
Promotes Fertility and Newborn Health
Ubiquinol taken by men promotes antioxidant capacity and reduces oxidative stress in sperm, increasing their count and motility. Women who take ubiquinol and CoQ10 supplements while pregnant increase overall ubiquinol levels in umbilical arterial and umbilical venous blood, reducing fetal stress during development. In developing bovines and humans, high levels of ubiquinol-cytochrome (ubiquinol protein) serve as markers for increased bone size and density for body measurement once the fetus is born.