Coenzyme Q10 or CoQ10 is a compound you rarely if ever hear about. One would assume this is because it is not that important, but that's completely wrong. Multiple studies showed the true importance of optimizing CoQ10 levels in the body. From increased athletic performance to the reduction of cancer risk. From reducing the risk of diabetes to improving the overall skin condition. From promoting brain health to increased fertility. Coenzyme Q10 is responsible for all of those and more.
The human body produces CoQ10 naturally as well as receives it from some foods. CoQ10 is stored in cells mitochondria which is responsible for energy production. It also protects cells from oxidative damage as well as viruses and bacteria. In addition, CoQ10 participates in cell growth and maintenance.
CoQ10 can be found in meat, fish, and nuts, but the small amounts of the coenzyme found there can’t significantly increase it in the body. So, the only two ways to keep CoQ10 levels normal is to have it naturally produced by the body or to supplement it.
While a healthy and young individual who eats a balanced diet is supposed to have CoQ10 levels optimized through the bodily natural production of it, certain people would benefit from supplementing CoQ10.
Coenzyme Q10 production naturally decreases with age and its deficiency is related to cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and a variety of brain disorders.
Additional causes of low Coenzyme Q10
- Mitochondrial diseases
- Genetic defects causing issues in CoQ10 production or utilization
- Vitamin and mineral deficits like vitamin B6 deficiency
- Increased demand for the compound by organs and tissues as a result of diseases
- Statin treatment side effects
Benefits of Coenzyme Q10
Lowers blood pressure
The study showed that CoQ10 helps lower blood pressure in hypertension patients without any significant side effects.
Reduces risk of dying from heart diseases
Several studies showed improvements in patients with a variety of heart conditions and decreased their hospitalization and death rate.
Prevents skin damage and skin cancer
CoQ10 showed positive effects in dealing with skin damage from UV rays and other environmental factors. In addition, people with low CoQ10 levels are more likely to develop skin cancer.
Reduces risk of diabetes
CoQ10 was shown to regulate blood sugar levels as well as improve insulin sensitivity.
Reduces risk of cancer
CoQ10 helps fight oxidative damage in organ and tissue cells. Numerous studies showed low levels of CoQ10 to be associated with a 53% increase in cancer risk, poor prognosis for different types of cancer, and increased chance of cancer recurrence.
Promotes brain health
CoQ10 prevents oxidative damage to the brain which affects proper brain function. It was also shown to slow the progression of several brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
Improves lung conditions
Studies showed positive improvements in people with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Increases athletic performance and protects the heart during exercise
CoQ10 prevents oxidative stress on muscles and thus affects overall performance and recovery as well as reduces fatigue. Athletes also put a lot of pressure on the heart and CoQ10 may act as a cardio protector to minimize negative results of over training.
How much CoQ10 should you supplement?
CoQ10 studies used doses ranging from 50mg to 1200mg on its participants. So, there is no ideal dose and it highly depends on the reason you supplement the compound. General recommendations range from 100mg to 200mg a day. However, doses as high as 500mg and even higher seemed to be tolerated well without significant side effects. CoQ10 is fat-soluble, so it is better to take it with a meal for the best absorption. Follow the recommendation of your physician or dietitian as well as directions of the bottle of your supplement.
Potential side effects
Coenzyme Q10 supplements are generally safe and rarely produce side effects, especially at lower doses. However, you need to keep in mind the possibility of those. Possible side effects may include: insomnia, headaches, dizziness, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, skin itching, rashes, irritability, loss of appetite, and upper abdominal pain.
Interactions with medications and other precautions
Individuals going through chemotherapy should consult with their physician before taking CoQ10. Also, if you are taking blood thinner medications such as warfarin (Jantoven) and thyroid medications, check with your physician as well since CoQ10 can make your medicine less effective. CoQ10 is also not recommended to children as well as to pregnant or breastfeeding women given the lack of research on its safety for those groups of people.
Disclaimer. Information in this article is for educational purposes and doesn’t replace the advice of a medical professional. Always consult your physician before starting to take any supplements.