Updated: Jan 25, 2019
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What is Coenzyme Q10 or COQ10?
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a vitamin-like substance that is found in every cell of the body. Cells use CoQ10 to produce energy the body needs for cell growth and maintenance. CoQ10 also functions as an antioxidant, which protects the body from damage caused by harmful molecules
What is CoQ10 used for?
The fact that CoQ10 is present in many cells across the body, tells us it could have effect on multiple organ systems. It is recommended to consult with your doctor before you take any supplements, especially if you have any chronic illnesses.
As the heart muscle consumes energy, it generates free radicals that can be damaging to heart tissue. CoQ10 helps the heart muscle produce energy more efficiently and also works as an antioxidant that removes the damaging free radicals. Studies have demonstrated that low levels of CoQ10 are associated with increased incidence of heart failure.
Unfortunately for those trying to prevent a first or second heart attack by lowering their cholesterol, statin based drugs (commonly used to fight high cholesterol) also deplete CoQ10 levels. CoQ10 supplements are a good way for statin drug users to replenish their bodies’ supply of this enzyme.
CoQ10 may also be beneficial for people with heart failure when combined with heart failure medications. Typically a person who has heart failure has lower levels of CoQ10.
High blood pressure
Several clinical studies involving small numbers of people suggest that CoQ10 may lower blood pressure. However, it may take 4 to 12 weeks to see any change. In one analysis, after reviewing 12 clinical studies, researchers concluded that CoQ10 has the potential to lower systolic blood pressure by up to 17 mmHg and diastolic blood pressure by 10 mm Hg, without significant side effects. More research with greater numbers of people is needed.
Preliminary clinical studies also suggest that CoQ10 may:
Improve blood sugar in people with diabetes
Improve immune function in people with HIV or AIDS
Increase sperm motility, improving male fertility
Be used as part of the treatment for Parkinson disease
Improve exercise ability in people with angina
Help prevent migraines
Because of the potential for side effects and interactions with medications, you should take dietary supplements only under the supervision of a knowledgeable health care provider.
CoQ10 appears to be safe with no major side effects, except occasional stomach upset. However, researchers have not done studies and do not know if CoQ10 supplements are safe during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
CoQ10 may lower blood sugar, so people with diabetes should talk with their provider before taking it to avoid the risk of low blood sugar. Some suggest that it may also lower blood pressure.
Sources of CoQ10
CoQ10 is naturally present in organ meats such as heart, liver, and kidney, as well as beef, soy oil, sardines, mackerel, and peanuts.
Coenzymes help enzymes work to digest food and perform other body processes, and help protect the heart and muscles.
CoQ10 is available in the United States as a dietary supplement. It is also known as Q10, vitamin Q10, ubiquinone, or ubidecarenone.