What is COQ10 (CoenzymeQ10)?
Coenzyme Q10, also known as CoQ-10, is a type of natural antioxidant and coenzyme found in all cells of the human body. Coenzymes support enzymes from various body processes, from food digestion to muscle repair and much more. Antioxidants protect the cells of your body from damage to harmful molecules. In particular, CoQ10 plays a major role in the production of cellular energy and helps oxygen get where it needs to go. The human body produces CoQ10 with multiple benefits and uses, but only in certain quantities. CoQ10 production declines with aging, often leading to hypertension (high or high blood pressure).
CoQ10 has been shown to help treat heart failure, help with fertility, slow skin aging, reduce headaches, improve exercise performance, treat diabetes, prevent cancer, improve brain health, provide lung protection, and much more.
CoQ10 Supplementation benefits
Human cells need CoQ10 to function properly. CoQ10 plays a role in cell growth, maintenance and protection, but mostly in the production of cellular energy. More than 500 articles are published on the link between reduced levels of CoQ10 and various health conditions. In other words, if cells lack energy, it may be difficult for the human body to stay healthy and fight against certain conditions. A number of side effects occur when levels of CoQ10 decrease as a result of age or drug interactions.
CoQ10 supplementation can result in the following advantages:
- Decreased blood pressure
- Increased immune system support
- Less muscle and joint pain
- Increased energy levels
- Lowered cholesterol
- Improved heart health
Sources of CoQ10
As already mentioned, the human body produces CoQ10 in small quantities. CoQ10 can be beneficial and often needed under certain conditions and/or advanced age.
CoQ10 can be found in small amounts in the following foods:
- Fish, particularly sardines and mackerel
- Meats — especially beef and organ meats
- Spinach, broccoli, and other leafy vegetables
- Soy oil
In most drugstores and pharmacies, supplements CoQ10 can be found, but the quality of the OTC supplements is not regulated or guaranteed.
Do I Need A CoQ10 Supplement?
CoQ10 supplements are generally considered safe for healthy individuals. After exercise, they can increase energy levels and reduce recovery time. However, if you have or are at risk for any of these conditions, CoQ10 supplementation may be particularly beneficial.
The following health conditions are known to cause reduced or low levels of CoQ10:
- Prader-Willi Syndrome
- Male Infertility
- Several studies have found that CoQ10 can improve sperm quality, activity, and concentration by increasing the protection of antioxidants in men with fertility problems
- Migraine disorders
- Abnormal mitochondrial function can lead to increased calcium absorption by cells, excessive free radical production, and decreased antioxidant protection, which can lead to low energy in brain cells and even migraines.
- Since CoQ10 resides in the cell mitochondria, it has been shown to improve mitochondrial function and help to decrease the inflammation that may occur during migraines, and it also appears that it may not only treat migraines but also prevent them.
- Peyronie’s Disease
- Nutritional deficiencies, such as vitamin B6 deficiency
- Genetic defects in CoQ10 synthesis or utilization
- Increased demands by tissues as a consequence of disease
- Mitochondrial diseases
- Oxidative stress due to aging
- Side effects of statin treatments
The FDA does not officially recognize CoQ10 deficiency as causal to any of the conditions below, but it has been found to be connected:
- Oxidative stress can lead to cell damage that can lead to metabolic diseases such as diabetes. CoQ10 has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity and help regulate blood sugar levels.
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Heart disease/failure
- CoQ10 treatment has shown that it helps restore optimum energy production, reduces oxidation damage and enhances heart function, all of which can support heart failure treatment.
Several preliminary clinical studies have found that taking CoQ10 by mouth, alone or in conjunction with other antihypertensive medicines significantly reduces blood pressure. In some cases, CoQ10 may support a decrease in dosage or an end to conventional therapy. Taking CoQ10 alongside traditional treatment seems to result in improved heart function, better quality of life, and lower hospitalization rates for people with cardiovascular disease. In addition, various prescription drugs are known to reduce or deplete CoQ10 levels. The most common are statins (drugs that lower cholesterol). Taking CoQ10 can reduce the effects of statin medicines and it is therefore important to find the right combination.
How much I need CoQ10?
For CoQ10 supplementation, there is no official RDA (recommended daily amount). For most individuals, a starting dose of 100 mg daily is sufficient. By taking the Vitality DNA test, the best way to know exactly what supplements your body needs.
The following amounts are often recommended for therapeutic dosages of CoQ10:
- If you have a known CoQ10 deficiency, a daily dosage of 150 mg may be recommended for your doctor.
- As a preventive migraine, it may be effective to divide 300 mg of CoQ10 into 3 separate doses.
- You may be advised to take 200 mg daily divided into 2 doses for heart failure.
- If you have HIV / AIDS, taking 200 mg of CoQ10 daily may be recommended.
- It may be recommended to take 2–100 mg doses after 20 weeks of pregnancy for pre-eclampsia.
What are CoQ10’s side effects?
CoQ10 supplementation is linked to higher energy levels. Users of CoQ10 reported negative effects such as slight stomach upset, headaches, feeling jittery or “wired” and mild insomnia, as well as other energy-enhancing supplements. Other less common adverse effects are palpitations, anxiety, dizziness, irritability, and rare rashes. Long-term addition of 300 mg or more of CoQ10 daily has been noted for increased liver enzymes but not associated with liver toxicity.
Studies show that CoQ10 can be used for up to 30 months safely. One of the most common side effects of CoQ10 is insomnia, heartburn, dizziness, and increased liver enzymes. If you are taking warfarin (an anticoagulant), CoQ10 is not recommended because CoQ10 may make warfarin less effective. CoQ10 should not be used for pregnant or lactating women.
Do I have any medicines or supplements to take with CoQ10?
Generally, take CoQ10 with any medications, herbs or supplements that are hypotensive and/or specifically treat high blood pressure disorder. CoQ10 can lower blood pressure in some people and can thus improve the risk of adverse effects when combined with other hypotensive drugs or supplements. While CoQ10 is regarded as safe for use with no side effects for up to 30 months at a time, you should be aware of the information potential with:
Interactions in medicines
- Warfarin, or any other anticoagulants
CoQ10 may result in decreased efficacy of the above drugs.
- Acacia gum may increase the absorption of CoQ10, which may increase the risk of side effects
- CoQ10 may increase beta-carotene levels, which could increase the possibility of beta-carotene side effects such as skin discoloration
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids
- Omega-3’s are known to decrease CoQ10 levels in the bloodstream
- Red Yeast
- This supplement has effects similar to statin medications and may decrease your CoQ10 levels.
- Vitamin A
- CoQ10 may increase vitamin A levels, which may increase the likelihood of vitamin A side effects, such as fatigue or irritability.
- Vitamin C
- CoQ10 may increase serum levels of vitamin C, and therefore may increase the risks of side effects associated with vitamin C, such as upset stomach or headaches.
- Vitamin K
- Taking CoQ10 with vitamin K may increase the risk of blood clots in individuals on anticoagulant medications
- Vitamin E
- CoQ10 may increase vitamin E levels, which may increase the likelihood of side effects associated with vitamin E, such as a headache or dizziness.
Do you need to supplement CoQ10?
More than 500 articles on the association between the supplementation of CoQ10 and its potential health benefits have been published. CoQ10 supplementation is generally considered to be beneficial for up to 30 months at a time, usually in order to help increase energy levels. There are a few groups of people who will almost certainly benefit from the CoQ10 supplementation: people over 50 years of age, people with hypertensive disorders or heart disease, and people with conditions known to deplete CoQ10 levels of serum (listed above).
In summary, CoQ10 is a fat-soluble compound and antioxidant that has demonstrated numerous health benefits and is involved in cellular energy production. It is a useful compound for cell preservation and chronic disease prevention and treatment. CoQ10 has been found along with other uses to help improve heart health, regulate blood sugar, prevent cancer, and lower headaches and migraines frequency. It has also shown that it reduces the oxidative damage that leads to muscle tiredness–explaining its help with athletic ability–and reducing the damage to the skin, brain, and lungs that comes with aging.
CoQ10 is a well-tolerated supplement that can be found in different foods such as animal organs, vegetables, and legumes. People of all ages may benefit from CoQ10, but adults over 50 may benefit in particular as the production of CoQ10 declines with age.
Whether you decide to eat CoQ10 foods or take supplements, CoQ10 could be a great addition to your daily lifestyle.
Would you like to know if the CoQ10 supplement is right for you? Vitagene provides actionable intelligence on your ancestors, health characteristics, and helps you create healthy, lasting changes in your life through diet, exercise, and supplement recommendations based on your DNA, lifestyle, family history, and goals.