Coenzyme Q10 is a natural compound found within our bodies that acts as an antioxidant to support cellular growth and function. Antioxidants are key players in our immune system’s fight against diseases. Due to its antioxidant activity, CoQ10 offers protection against inflammaging, which occurs when there is persistent or prolonged inflammation in the body. Without CoQ10, we may be left at risk of cell and tissue damage.
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a fat-soluble antioxidant and nutrient stored within the mitochondrion, the energy factory of our cells. This compound can naturally be found within our bodies. High levels of this compound are stored in organs that require high energy to work, such as the heart, lungs, kidney, and liver.
CoQ10 ensures that our organs are functioning well and that our bodies are capable of performing metabolic processes. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, CoQ10 is involved with the conversion of complex energy sources such as adenosine triphosphate (ATP) into much simpler molecules. Although healthy people can already produce and store CoQ10 in their bodies, its levels decrease with aging.
Why is taking CoQ10 everyday important to my health?
CoQ10 acts like an antioxidant, and our bodies use it in order to support cellular growth and function. Antioxidants—molecules that are either manufactured by man or naturally found in the human body—are key players in our immune system’s fight against disease. It is an antioxidant’s role to defend or protect us from cell deterioration or damage in the long run.
Within our bodies, there are naturally-occurring molecules called free-radicals—unstable atoms that can play a role in the onset or progression of different kinds of illnesses and diseases. These free radicals may form when we lack a proper diet or lifestyle and when we are exposed to harmful environmental factors such as air pollution. Antioxidants respond to these free radicals by destroying them.
The imbalance between levels of antioxidants and free radicals is called oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is believed to be harmful to our health—it is linked to some serious illnesses such as cancer, among others. Having abnormally high free radicals may overwhelm our immune system’s repair processes as well.
What makes CoQ10 special?
Due to its antioxidant activity, CoQ10 offers protection against inflammaging, which occurs when there is persistent or prolonged inflammation in the body. Without CoQ10, we may be left at risk of cell and tissue damage.
Listed below are some potential benefits of taking CoQ10.
Promotes heart health
CoQ10 supplementation is believed to help manage cardiovascular issues such as heart failure.
In a study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology: Heart Failure, researchers studied 420 chronic heart failure patients. The subjects were administered either 100 milligrams of CoQ10 thrice daily or placebos, alongside standard treatment, over the span of two years. At the end of the study, it was discovered that CoQ10 supplementation helped improve the patients’ symptoms and reduce their risk of succumbing to the disease.
Managing adverse effects caused by taking statin medications
Statins are medications used to prevent and treat coronary heart disease; however, one of its primary adverse effects, myopathy (i.e. dysfunction of muscle fibers), can be quite bothersome to users. Existing studies suggest that taking CoQ10 supplements may improve statin-induced side effects on the muscles, such as pain, weakness, cramping, and fatigue.
A study conducted in 2014 examined patients who reported mild to moderate muscle pain from taking statin medications. After taking 100 milligrams of CoQ10 for 30 days (two doses of 50 milligrams CoQ10 daily), they reported reductions in pain intensity.
IMPORTANT: If you are taking statins for a health condition, your ideal CoQ10 dosage may vary depending on your healthcare professional’s recommendation.
Protects the lungs
Your lungs are primarily in charge of your respiration or breathing—it is in constant contact with carbon dioxide and oxygen, the latter being a crucial element for your survival. At the same time, however, the organ is said to be highly susceptible to oxidative damage.
A randomized controlled trial published in the BioFactors journal examined patients struggling with persistent bronchial asthma and were thus reliant on corticosteroids for symptom alleviation. Bronchial asthma, a chronic respiratory and inflammatory disease, is said to affect the lungs’ “dynamic balance of antioxidant-oxidant capacity.” Researchers observed that following CoQ10 supplementation, the asthmatic patients required less doses of corticosteroids—indicating decreased inflammation and oxidative damage.
Another study, published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, investigated the effects of oral CoQ10 supplementation at 90 milligrams daily for eight weeks on chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients’ pulmonary function and exercise performance. After taking CoQ10 supplements, COPD patients exhibited improvements in blood oxygen levels and exercise performance, as well as a reduction in heart rate.
There is also evidence suggesting that individuals suffering from bronchial asthma and COPD have low levels of CoQ10. With that said, CoQ10 supplementation may help temper the harmful effects of inflammation on the lungs.
Aside from the health benefits listed above, CoQ10 intake is also said to help reduce the following:
Oxidative damage risk and insulin resistance associated with diabetes
A study, published in the Journal of Pakistan Medical Association journal, assessed the impact of 100-milligram CoQ10 supplementation on 52 type 2 diabetics. Researchers reported in their findings that levels of malondialdehyde, a marker of oxidative stress, were significantly reduced.
Evidence also suggests that CoQ10 supplementation may help slow down the progression of prediabetes to diagnosed diabetes in patients with impaired glucose tolerance. In 2018, a study—published in the BioMed Research International journal—examined the effect of CoQ10 supplementation on 80 prediabetic patients aged 20 years and above for eight weeks. Following the treatment period, the researchers found that the patients exhibited reductions in insulin resistance markers.
Damage from exposure of the skin to ultraviolet rays
Skin aging is said to occur due to oxidative stress from exposure to ultraviolet rays. There is research suggesting that CoQ10, when applied topically, may play a role in revitalizing the skin by decreasing wrinkle depth and preventing other harmful effects of cellular oxidation.
Risk, recurrence, side effects, and complications associated with cancer
Research has found that CoQ10 may contribute to lowering chances of cancer recurrence in survivors. In addition, findings from a study published in the Journal of International Medical Research report that CoQ10, when co-administered with other antioxidants, has the potential to assist with improving the survival of patients with advanced (i.e. end-stage) cancer.
CoQ10 is also often administered to individuals who have depleted energy levels and struggle with fatigue, such as cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy treatment. CoQ10 is said to support the production of energy, which cancer patients’ bodies need in order to compensate for the energy lost to chemotherapy.
Individuals recovering from surgery may also benefit from CoQ10 intake. A clinical trial published in the Nutrition Journal found that liver cancer patients who took 300 milligrams of CoQ10 for twelve weeks after surgery exhibited significantly higher “antioxidant capacity” and lower inflammation levels.
Is taking CoQ10 enough to keep aging-related diseases at bay?
Daily CoQ10 consumption may be beneficial for slowing down the onset or progression of aging and chronic diseases, but it is also important to complement this practice with a well-balanced diet and adequate sleep or rest—especially if you are under constant stress.
To maximize the antioxidant activity of CoQ10, be mindful of your eating habits. CoQ10’s potential disease risk-reducing benefits may not be as potent if a healthy lifestyle is not practiced and maintained.
How can I increase CoQ10 levels in my body?
Information sourced from Healthline and WebMD
One way to absorb CoQ10 is through the food that we eat. Listed below are the dietary sources of CoQ10:
- Animal meats such as pork, beef, and chicken
- Animal organ meats such as heart and liver
- Fatty fish such as trout, mackerel, salmon, tuna, and sardines
- Fruits such as oranges and strawberries
- Vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, and spinach
- Legumes such as peanuts, soybeans (and soybean products), and lentils
- Nuts and seeds such as sesame seeds and pistachios
- Oils such as soybean oil and canola oil
It is worth noting, however, that these foods contain low amounts of CoQ10 compared to dietary supplements. If you have pre-existing health conditions or experience bodily limitations, eating food rich in CoQ10 alone may not be enough. In order to absorb more amounts of CoQ10 in the body and to maximize its potential health benefits, you may opt to combine a CoQ10-rich diet with a daily CoQ10 supplement.
What is the recommended dosage for CoQ10 supplements?
CoQ10 supplements are available in different forms, such as soft-gel or hard-shell capsules, oral spray, and tablets, among others. The typical recommended dosage ranges from 30 milligrams to 90 milligrams per day, but the recommended amount can be as high as 200 milligrams to 300 milligrams per day. This will depend on the health condition that you wish to manage, and its severity.
Are there any side effects or precautions 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. However, caution must still be exercised as the side effects listed below may still be experienced:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Abdominal pain
- Appetite loss
- Headaches and dizziness
- Skin itching or rashes
I have certain medical conditions that require treatment. Will CoQ10 interact with my medications?
According to Healthline, CoQ10 supplements can interact with some medications that are found in households. These include blood thinners, antidepressants, and chemotherapy drugs. For your safety, consult with your doctor prior to taking CoQ10 supplements, especially if any underlying health conditions must be taken into consideration.
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