Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a fat-soluble antioxidant and nutrient stored in organs. The level of CoQ 10 is highest in organs with high rates of metabolism (require a lot of energy to work) such as the heart, kidney, and liver. CoQ10 ensures that our organs are functioning well and that our bodies can perform metabolic processes. Existing studies have suggested how CoQ10 can help in various health conditions like diabetes, heart diseases, and brain disorders.
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a fat-soluble antioxidant and nutrient stored within the mitochondrion, the energy factory of our cells. High levels of this compound are stored in organs that require high energy to work, such as the heart, lungs, kidney, and liver.
What is an antioxidant?
Antioxidants are molecules that mainly aim to defend us from cell deterioration or damage. Within our bodies, there are naturally-occurring molecules called free radicals, which are unstable atoms that can play a role in different kinds of illnesses and diseases. Antioxidants respond to these free radicals by destroying them.
Some of the most common antioxidants include Vitamin C, Vitamin E, lycopene, and beta-carotene. These can be found in dietary sources such as fruits, vegetables, and certain oils.
Why is CoQ10 important to my health?
CoQ10 ensures that our organs are functioning well and that our bodies are capable of performing metabolic processes. Although healthy people can already produce and store CoQ10 in their bodies, its levels decrease with aging. Low levels of CoQ10 are associated with certain health conditions, such as the following:
- Cardiovascular or heart diseases
- Neurological or brain disorders
- Oxidative stress
Oxidative stress occurs when the levels of free radicals and antioxidants within our bodies are not proportional or balanced. Having high levels of free radicals, for example, can overwhelm our immune system’s repair processes and may contribute to aging and other health conditions.
I have a health problem. Will taking CoQ10 benefit me?
Further research must be conducted to verify the CoQ10’s added benefits, but studies suggest that the molecule can help people with various health conditions.
When oxidative stress occurs, it can become a contributing factor to the onset and progression of diabetes due to its damaging effect on the mitochondria. Several studies have discovered findings that partially support the potential of CoQ10 in promoting mitochondrial function, improving blood sugar level control.
Research suggests that taking CoQ10 in supplement form may improve symptoms and reduce the risk of high blood pressure and persistent chest pain. CoQ10 is also claimed to be capable of preventing the conversion of cholesterol into plaque, which occurs when bad cholesterol reacts with free radicals. CoQ10, in this regard, may slow down plaque buildup in the body’s major blood vessels.
Neurological or brain disorders
The CoQ10 stored in the mitochondrion plays a key role in ensuring that the brain receives a constant supply of oxygen and prevents oxidative stress which is typical among organs that require high energy in order to function properly.
When oxidative stress damages the brain, it can affect a person’s ability to perform simple cognitive functions such as memory formation and retention. This effect is associated with the onset of neurodegenerative conditions such as Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. However, studies also note that CoQ10 does not stop or cure such diseases—it can only potentially slow down their progression.
Besides this, according to the American Academy of Neurology, CoQ10 may help prevent migraines, and has been used as a preventive treatment for migraine-type headaches.
Since decreased CoQ10 levels in our body come with age, older adults take CoQ10 supplements in order to overcome the signs associated with aging —from general physical activity to muscle strength. Studies suggest that higher levels of CoQ10 in the body are also associated with lower levels of oxidative stress, which can help prevent heart problems and brain disorders that come with aging.
There is also evidence that with CoQ10’s antioxidant activity, it can potentially energize the skin cells of people across age groups—slowing down the formation of fine lines and wrinkles on the face.
One way to absorb CoQ10 is through food such as animal liver, fatty fish, and legumes among others, but these foods contain low amounts of CoQ10 compared to dietary supplements. A combination of the two is advised to maximize health benefits.
What is the recommended dosage for CoQ10 supplements?
The typical recommended dosage ranges from 30 milligrams to 90 milligrams per day or higher depending on the health condition to be managed.
Are there adverse effects I should be worried about?
Generally, our bodies can tolerate CoQ10 supplements well even when very high doses of 1,000 milligrams (or 1 gram) are consumed daily or over the course of a few days. It may be ideal to take the supplements during the day—either in the morning or in the afternoon—in order to prevent possibly causing or worsening insomnia.
Am I allowed to take CoQ10 with my medications?
According to Healthline, CoQ10 supplements can interact with some medications including blood thinners, antidepressants, and chemotherapy drugs. Further consultation is advised for those with pre-existing or life-threatening health conditions.
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