What is Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10): Benefits, Side Effects & Dosage

CoQ10 (Coenzyme Q10) is a compound similar to a vitamin that acts to help produce energy in cells in the form of ATP and as an antioxidant that may be a powerful contributor to protecting cells from oxidative damage.

Type: Energy Supplement
Used For: Anti-Aging, Heart Health, Energy, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Exercise Performance, Migraines, Hypertension, Diabetes, Immune Booster, Fibromyalgia
Typical Dosage: 30 mg-200 mg daily
Half-Life: 34 hrs
Some Drug Interactions: Anti-Hypertensive Drugs, Warfarin (Coumadin), Chemotherapy
Supplement Interactions: May interact with Vitamins A, C, E and K, Omega 3 fatty acids, Red Yeast, Acacia

What is CoQ10?

CoQ10 (also known as ubiquinone ) is a fat-soluble substance, similar to a vitamin. It is found throughout the body within mitochondrial membranes and in high concentrations in hard-working organs where it is involved in aerobic cellular respiration and the production of energy in the form of adenosine triphosphate (ATP).

What is CoQ10 Used For?Coenzymes like CoQ10 are non-protein molecules that assist enzymes in carrying out their biological activities.

It is naturally synthesized by the body and can be found in almost all human cells, particularly in its highest concentrations in the heart, liver, kidneys and the brain or organs that have the greatest energy requirements.

CoQ10 acts as a cofactor in the production of ATP, also known as the primary energy currency of cells, inside the mitochondria or the “tiny powerhouses” of almost all cells. It also serves as a naturally occurring antioxidant, protecting cells from free radical damage.

The mitochondria are the energy generators that power your cells and are also involved in sustaining several aspects of cell survival and controlling cell death by acting to protect the cells from oxidative damage which has been linked to the development of various health conditions.

Since the body already produces this nutrient, it is not considered a true vitamin, however, the natural production of CoQ10 tends to decrease as we age. Supplementing may serve to optimize the production of the body’s primary fuel source ATP, act as an antioxidant and capture damaging free radicals that compromise the health of cells.

CoQ10 supplements are most commonly used to help support heart health, metabolic processes, mental performance and for prevention of migraines. Similar to grape seed extract, this supplement also helps support blood vessel function and boost blood flow but how this action occurs is still not fully understood.

There has been a substantial amount of research done on this supplement, especially in the last few decades but there is still much more for us to learn about all the effects of CoQ10.

This article will discuss the benefits associated with CoQ10, the common uses, safety and side effects of this supplement and dosage recommendations.

CoQ10 as an Antioxidant

Other than its role in the production of cellular energy, Coenzyme Q10 is considered to act as a powerful antioxidant capable of neutralizing free radicals, inhibiting further damage to cells and possibly helping to even reverse existing free radical damage.

In addition, some researchers speculate that the antioxidant effects of CoQ10 may lead to recharging other antioxidant nutrients in the body, firing them up to expel other harmful chemicals and toxins.

Free radicals are highly reactive fragments of molecules, byproducts of oxygen metabolism produced naturally in the body. When there is an excessive amount of free radicals from an imbalance between their production and the body’s ability to neutralize them via an antioxidant, it can lead to oxidative damage.

Scientists believe that free radicals play a role in the aging process and contribute to increasing the risk of several serious health issues like heart disease, diabetes and potentially cancer.

These unstable molecules can damage cells in the body. Most vulnerable to free radicals are cell membranes, the outer protective layer of the cell and when attacked can put the entire health of a cell at risk including tampering with DNA or even the eventual entire death of the cell.

Overall, CoQ10 is considered a super powerful antioxidant that helps protect your cells from free radical damage and may be a powerful synergistic addition to other antioxidants in many longevity promoting stacks.

Benefits of Coenzyme Q10

The Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database states that CoQ10 supplementation appears to be more beneficial for individuals with initially lower levels. Those with sufficient amounts may experience no benefit. However, it is suggested that the body tends to naturally produce less of it as we get older and this may be most apparent after the age of forty.

To begin, for those interested in boosting the health and functioning of their brain, there are several reasons why you may want to consider taking Co-enzyme Q10.

The brain requires an enormous amount of energy to do its job. The mitochondria are the tiny, main energy generators of neurons and involved in cellular respiration. As we age, it is theorized that mitochondrial function tends to decline, as cells may have a harder time coping with oxidative stress. As a result, the production of cellular energy is reduced.

Neurons rely on mitochondrial energy production for survival and as “defects” accumulate, cells can get damaged or die. Dysfunctions can result in brain fog, problems with cognition and poor memory. Total mitochondrial dysfunction has been associated with diseases like Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s and others.

CoQ10 plays a role in fueling your cells’ mitochondria or “cellular power plants” helping them produce energy in the form of adenosine triphosphate so they can provide brainpower and promotes antioxidant capacity.

Individuals with lower levels of this nutrient are more likely to experience sluggish mental processing, difficulty remembering, maintaining focus and general cognitive decline. In several cognitive tests, people with higher levels CoQ10 showed greater energy levels and sharpness of the mind (mental acuity).

In addition, there are several other potential benefits associated with this supplement. Studies suggest that Coenzyme Q10 may help aid in treating patients with heart failure, especially when combined with conventional medications and assist in improving symptoms, reducing hospitalization for worsening heart failure and reducing the risk of death from heart problems.

Low levels of CoQ10 may also be linked to people who suffer from migraine headaches. While more research is needed, some studies suggest that it may help reduce the frequency and severity of migraines in individuals with low levels.

Finally, according to several clinical studies, oral CoQ10 (taken for up to 12 weeks), is thought to help reduce high blood pressure, potentially lowering systolic blood pressure by up to 17 mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure by up to 10 mm Hg without significant side effects.

More research is needed to determine the therapeutic efficacy of Coenzyme Q10 for these conditions and others. The FDA has not approved CoQ10 as a drug to treat or prevent any medical conditions.

Is CoQ10 Safe to Take?

CoQ10 is considered safe and generally well tolerated in most adults when taken orally and appropriately, however, this supplement may have interactions with certain medications. It is important to consult with your doctor first before adding it to your daily routine.

In regards to known side effects, in a few cases, some people who have used this supplement have reported experiencing diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and rash.

There is not enough information on the safety of CoQ10 for nursing women. Consult with your doctor first before using this supplement or avoid it entirely to stay on the safe side.

CoQ10 Dosage

There is currently no established recommended daily dosage for CoQ10. Expert opinions and typically reported daily dosages for adults seems to suggest a dosage range between 30 mg-200 mg per day, divided into two doses over the course of the day if taking more than 100 mg.

This supplement is fat soluble and may be absorbed better when taken with a source of healthy fat such as avocados, olive oil, flaxseed oil, coconut oil, oily nuts or sunflower seeds.

There are two available sources of this ingredient in CoQ10 supplements. Ubiquinone is the oxidized form and easily converts into Ubiquinol. While ubiquinol is the reduced form that is almost identical to what is most commonly found in the body and is more expensive. Both appear to be potent for increasing levels in the body.

The proper daily dosage of CoQ10 can depend on several factors such as age, sex or the reason for using this supplement. It is important to follow the manufacturers dosing instructions on the specific Coenzyme Q10 supplement bottle unless instructed differently by your doctor.

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