CoQ10

Nonessential Micronutrient

OVERVIEW

Summary

Not only is CoQ10 one of the most powerful antioxidants in our bodies, it also plays a vital role in energy production — a cell without CoQ10 is akin to an engine without its sparkplugs. As a matter of fact, due to its remarkable antioxidant properties and energy-production capabilities, CoQ10 may soon take a “step up” on the supplement ladder, going from a nonessential coenzyme to being classified as an “essential fat-soluble vitamin.”

Other names for CoQ10

coenzyme Q10, ubiquinone, Vitamin Q10, Q10


Where to find CoQ10

Sources of CoQ10 include fish, organ meat, and whole grains.

Note: Cooking and processing foods destroys natural coenzyme Q10.

PERFORMANCE BENEFITS

Why athletes use CoQ10

There isn’t much chance CoQ10 will help anyone run faster, lift more weight, or significantly improve performance. But that doesn’t mean this vitamin-like nutrient doesn’t have significant benefits. It definitely plays a key role in the body’s ability to produce energy, and it may have powerful antioxidant effects. In addition, it’s shown promising potential for people wanting to boost healing and heart health.

Ways that CoQ10 can enhance Energy & Endurance:
  • Sustain energy in the body by aiding the internal process of transforming ATP into energy
  • Improve endurance by enabling the heart to pump more blood and increase its tolerance to reduced oxygen
Ways that CoQ10 can enhance Longevity:
  • Enhance immune-system functioning and protect the body from free radicals

HEALTH BENEFITS

Signs of CoQ10 deficiency

Seldom do deficiencies arise; however, older individuals (usually over 55) are found to have reduced levels of CoQ10.

Potential uses for CoQ10

Research indicates that CoQ10 may be useful in the treatment of:

  • Congestive Heart Failure
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Gingivitis
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Muscular Dystrophy
  • Periodontal disease
  • Angina
  • Alzheimer’s disease

DISCUSSION

More about CoQ10

The potent antioxidant CoQ10 plays a vital role in energy production throughout the body, as well as protecting the body from the potentially harmful effects of free radicals. Every cell in our bodies uses an energy source called adenosine tri-phosphate (ATP). ATP is produced within the mitochondria, or the energy factory, of each cell. CoQ10’s primary function is to aid in the complex process of transforming food into ATP, so it can be used as energy — you might say a cell without CoQ10 is akin an engine without sparkplugs.

Energy enhancement

While CoQ10’s importance in the energy production process is clear, what’s unclear is the effects of CoQ10 supplementation on energy enhancement or physical output. The controversy arises from the conflicting results of various studies, with some demonstrating that strenuous exercise can reduce blood levels of CoQ10, and supplementing to restore levels may improve athletic performance. Yet other studies show no positive effects of supplementation. One thing that is clear is that while CoQ10 helps maintain energy levels, it doesn’t create an actual energy surge, so to speak. Essentially, it works overtime to help produce more efficient energy sources within our bodies.

Optimal health and healing

CoQ10’s most notable quality is its ability to help people with various heart conditions, such as congestive heart failure, angina, and cardiomyopathies — diseases that all negatively affect the heart muscle and can restrict one from exercising or even living a healthy, normal life. CoQ10 has been shown in clinical trials to significantly help people with these types of heart disease by increasing the heart’s tolerance to reduced oxygen, as well as enhancing the heart’s ability to pump blood to the major organs of the body and improving energy production within the heart muscle itself.

Research has also shown CoQ10 may help slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, moderate immunity and protect against breast-cancer recurrence, and lower blood pressure — again by encouraging improved blood flow through the circulatory system. In addition, CoQ10 may counteract some of the adverse effects of taking certain cholesterol-lowering, beta-blocker, and psychotropic drugs.

Because of its role in helping internal tissues heal, this coenzyme and relative of Vitamin E has documented beneficial effects for people with gum disease.

Interesting theory

As we age, our bodies’ levels of CoQ10 naturally decrease, and some scientists have theorized this contributes to the overall aging process itself. Thus, researchers have suggested supplementing with CoQ10 may help slow this process and defer some of the aging effects. In fact, one recent study published in the American Journal of Cardiology revealed that heart patients taking CoQ10, either alone or with medications, lived an average of three years longer than those who didn’t supplement with the nutrient. Worth thinking about, anyway, isn’t it?

In conclusion

CoQ10 is certainly gaining a lot of attention in Western medicine, with numerous studies supporting its effectiveness as a powerful heart-health agent and for its healing properties. So much so, some leading researchers and advocates of this unique coenzyme suggest it may soon be considered an “essential fat-soluble vitamin” due to its remarkable and almost “essential” capabilities as a widespread antioxidant.

NOTES ON USAGE

Amount

Use of 30 to 60 mg 2 to 3 times per day is an effective, healthy range. Up to 300 mg per day is typical for individuals supplementing with CoQ10 for heart conditions.

A more accurate recommendation may be based on a person’s weight. Some studies suggest 2 mg for each 2.2 lbs of bodyweight. (For example, a 180-lb person would need around 165 mg per day — 180 / 2.2 x 2 = ~165 — whereas a 120-lb person would need only 110 mg per day.)

Timing

Research suggests CoQ10 be taken with some form of healthy fat (such as flax or primrose oil), so it may be more readily absorbed. For this reason, it’s often taken at mealtimes.

Notes

Research indicates it may take up to 12 weeks for CoQ10 supplementation to begin imparting benefits.

Synergists of CoQ10

Vitamins C and E may enhance the effectiveness of CoQ10 and help preserve their antioxidant properties.

CoQ10 may work synergistically with niacin to support circulation, with carnitine to support a healthy heart, and with pantethine to support energy production.


Safety of CoQ10

Extremely high amounts (over 300 mg per day) can result in upset stomach or diarrhea.

CoQ10 should not be used during pregnancy or breastfeeding, as safety has not yet been determined.

Toxicity of CoQ10

No known toxicity.

Bans and restrictions

None reported.

RELATED RESEARCH

  • Fujioka, T., et al., “Clinical Study of Cardiac Arrhythmias Using a 24-Hour Continuous Electrocardiographic Recorder (5th Report)-Antiarrhythmic Action of Coenzyme Q10 in Diabetics,” Tohoku J Exp Med 141S(1983) : 453-63.
  • Gohil, K., et al., “Effect of Exercise Training on Tissue Vitamin E and Ubiquinone Content,” J Appl Physiol 63.4 (1987) : 1638-41.
  • Imagawa, M., et al., “Coenzyme Q10, Iron, and Vitamin B6 in Genetically-Confirmed Alzheimer’s Disease (letter),” Lancet 340.8820 (1992) : 671.
  • Kamikawa, T., et al., “Effects of Coenzyme Q10 on Exercise Tolerance in Chronic Stable Angina Pectoris,” Am J Cardiol 56.4 (1985) : 247-51.
  • Lockwood, K., et al., “Progress on Therapy of Breast Cancer with Vitamin Q10 and the Regression of Metastases,” Biochem Biophys Res Commun 212.1 (1995) : 172-77.
  • Makabi-Panzu, B., et al., “Coenzyme Q10 in Vesicles Composed of Archaeal Either Lipids or Conventional Lipids Enhances the Immuno-Adjuvanticity to Encapsulated Protein,” Vaccine 16.16 (1998) : 1504-10.
  • Morisco, C., et al., “Effect of Coenzyme Q10 Therapy in Patients with Congestive Heart Failure: A Long-Term Multicenter Randomized Study,” Clin Investig 71.85 (1993) : S134-6.
  • Mortensen, S.A., et al., “Long-Term Coenzyme Q10 Therapy: A Major Advance in the Management of Resistant Myocardial Failure,” Drug Exp Clin Res 11.8 (1985) : 581-93.
  • Murray, M.T., Encyclopedia of Nutritional Supplements (Prima Publishing, Rocklin, CA, 1996) 296-308.
  • Singh, R.B., et al., “Effect of Hydrosoluble Coenzyme Q10 on Blood Pressures and Insulin Resistance in Hypertensive Patients with Coronary Artery Disease,” J Hum Hypertens 13.3 (1999) : 203-8.
  • Tanaka, J., et al., “Coenzymed Q10: The Prophylactic Effect on Low Cardiac Output Following Cardiac Valve Replacement,” Ann Thorac Surg 33.2 (1982) : 145-51