By now you know that the supplement market is massive and there are literally thousands of products you can choose from. The problem is that, with so many products available, it’s difficult to find the right supplements for you. And this is not made any better by the fact that, while some of these supplements offer evidence-based benefits, others don’t do much at all.
One of the supplements that has a wide range of health benefits is CoQ10, a powerful compound that helps your cells generate energy. But what is CoQ10? Is it safe? Why should you take it?
In this post, we’ll look at these questions in more detail.
What is Coenzyme Q10?
Coenzyme Q10 or CoQ10 is a nutrient that occurs naturally in your body. It’s a powerful antioxidant, concentrated in the mitochondria of your cells, and plays a vital role in protecting your heart, brain, and muscles against damage.
Generally, your body produces enough CoQ10 to meet your needs. However, the levels of CoQ10 in your body decrease as you age, and it’s also possible that these levels might decrease as a result of certain medical conditions.
While you can get CoQ10 from foods like eggs, oily fish, chicken, nuts, and whole grains, the amounts in these foods are unlikely to make a significant difference. For this reason, especially if you’re older or suffer from a condition that leads to lower levels of CoQ10, you might need to take a supplement. These supplements are available in many different forms from capsules to tablets and syrups with ubiquinone or ubiquinol as active ingredients.
What are the Health Benefits of CoQ10?
Now that we’ve seen what Coq10 is, you’re probably wondering what benefits it provides. So, with that in mind, let’s look at these benefits in more detail.
Researchers have shown that CoQ10 can be beneficial for heart health and might be effective in the treatment of heart failure. This disease is often caused by other health conditions like coronary artery disease and hypertension, which causes oxidative damage and inflammation in the arteries. In turn, when the heart is unable to pump enough blood through the body due to these effects, heart failure occurs.
In a 2020 study, researchers found that people who were diagnosed with moderate to severe heart failure reduced their risk of having their first major cardiovascular event by 42% by taking daily CoQ10 supplements. In another study of people who were diagnosed with heart failure, they reduced the risk of dying from heart problems after treatment with CoQ10 for two years.
A 1993 study also demonstrated the powerful effects of CoQ10 treatment in patients with congestive heart failure. Here, a group of 641 people was treated with CoQ10 or a placebo for a year. After the end of the study, the treatment group had been hospitalized less often and had fewer complications compared to the placebo group.
Another benefit of CoQ10 supplementation is in patients who take statins to lower their cholesterol. While statins could reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes, in some cases, they can cause side effects like muscle pain, cramping, and weakness.
In a 2018 study, researchers found that CoQ10 could reduce these side effects when used in conjunction with other treatments. Likewise, a 2013 study found that CoQ10 supplementation might reduce inflammation in patients with heart disease taking statins. However, it’s important to remember that, based on a 2020 review of several trials, more research is needed to confirm the effects of CoQ10 supplementation on statin side effects.
Abnormal mitochondrial function can lead to oxidative stress and increased inflammation in the brain which, in turn, result in low energy in brain cells and could cause migraines. However, a 2011 study demonstrated that when treated with CoQ10, patients were able to reduce the severity, frequency, and duration of migraine attacks compared to the placebo group. This was also found in a 2005 study.
In addition, a 2017 study found that while CoQ10 treatment might reduce the frequency, severity, and duration of migraine attacks, it could possibly also prevent them.
As mentioned earlier, CoQ10 is concentrated in the mitochondria of cells. These mitochondria play a vital role in generating energy in the brain. Because mitochondrial function decreases with age, it can that lead to the loss of brain cells and diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Oxidative stress, which increases the production of harmful compounds, can also increase the progression of these diseases.
Studies conducted in 2002 and 2008 have shown that CoQ10 can protect brain cells against oxidative damage and, thus, slow the progression of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.
Apart from damaging brain cells, oxidative stress can also cause damage to other cells and lead to diseases like diabetes. Moreover, abnormal mitochondrial function has also been linked to insulin resistance. CoQ10 can be helpful in both these cases, as a 2014 study demonstrated that it might improve insulin sensitivity and help regulate blood sugar levels.
Moreover, in another 2014 study, researchers demonstrated that, after treating patients diagnosed with type 2 diabetes for 12 weeks, they were able to reduce fasting blood sugar levels and hemoglobin A1C compared to a placebo group. These are vital markers of diabetes disease progression.
Because oxidative stress causes cell damage and affects cell function, it could lead to an increased risk of cancer. Cancer patients also have lower CoQ10 levels and lower levels of CoQ10 have been associated with higher levels of cancer incidence and poor prognoses.
As such, it’s believed that CoQ10 supplementation could benefit cancer patients. Because it reduces oxidative stress, it could increase the health and longevity of cells. Also, a 2007 study showed that CoQ10 supplementation could decrease the risk of cancer reoccurrence.
As mentioned earlier, CoQ10 is most concentrated in the mitochondria of your cells. These mitochondria play a vital role in how you produce energy and power several biochemical processes in your body. For this reason, it’s believed that CoG10 might improve physical performance. This could be especially relevant for athletes.
One of the reasons for this is that oxidative stress impacts muscle function, which then affects exercise performance. Likewise, abnormal mitochondrial function inhibits muscles from contracting efficiently which brings about an inevitable decrease in performance.
A 2010 study, however, showed that CoQ10 can improve mitochondrial function and decrease oxidative stress. This, in turn, could then improve exercise performance.
Is CoQ10 Safe?
Although it hasn’t been well researched, it’s believed that CoG10 supplements are generally safe to take. However, as with any supplement or medication, there are always some risks you should be aware of.
For example, CoG10 might lower your blood pressure and if you’re taking it with blood pressure lowering medication, your blood pressure might drop too low, which could lead to fainting and injuries when falling. Likewise, because CoG10 might lower blood sugar levels, you should be careful when taking it with diabetes medication. The combination of the medication and supplement might lead to hypoglycemia which could become life-threatening.
Apart from these risks, CoQ10 could also present several side effects, although they are rare and typically mild. Here, mild side effects include diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and loss of appetite. Other possible side effects include headaches, dizziness, insomnia, fatigue, itching, and irritability.
Finally, CoQ10 might also have interactions with several prescribed medications. For example, it might make blood thinning medication less effective, which, in turn, increases the risk for cardiac events. Likewise, it could possibly also interact with thyroid medication and chemotherapy.
Ultimately, if you would like to take a CoQ10 supplement, it’s better to discuss it with your doctor first to make sure that it won’t cause any unnecessary risks or interact with medications you’re currently taking. Despite this, because its safety has not been proven, it’s advisable that you don’t give it to children or take it when you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.
What is the Ideal Dosage for CoQ10?
If you’ve decided to take a CoG10 supplement and your doctor gives you the go-ahead, the next question is: How much should you take? Unfortunately, there’s not a single defined dose for CoQ10. The studies that have investigated the efficacy of the supplements used dosages ranging from 50mg per day to 1200mg per day. Some of these doses were also split between several daily doses.
This means that you should follow the instructions on the bottle of the specific supplement you’d like to take. This is especially true when you consider that different manufacturers use different ingredients and concentrations in their products. Also, if you’re not sure, you can get your doctor’s advice.
Hopefully, this post helped illustrate what CoQ10 is and what benefits CoQ10 supplementation offers. If you now want to supplement with CoQ10, consider our Liposomal Glutathione with CoQ10 and Pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ). We’ve paired these compounds to create a synergistic formula that not only supports the health and integrity of cells, but also supports the energy of cells and the creation of new mitochondria.
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