CQ10, also known as, in its various forms, Coenzyme Q10, CoQ10, ubidecarenone, ubiquinone, coenzyme Q, is a fat-soluble antioxidant, primarily synthesized by the body.
It is found in almost every cell in the body and aids mitochondria during energy production.
Antioxidants are an important part of optimal health. When antioxidant levels in the body are lower than that of free radicals (toxins exposure, due to poor nutrition, or other factors) oxidation wreaks havoc in the body.
Furthermore, many studies show that free radicals can contribute to the development of a cardiovascular disease, cancer, cataracts, brain dysfunction, and more. Hence, antioxidants may help maintain ideal well-being and health.
This antioxidant was first identified in 1957 by Professor Fredrick L. Crane. Its chemical structure was determined in 1958. It is mainly found in most body tissues.
The highest amounts are found in the heart, kidneys, liver, and pancreas. The lowest amounts are found in the lungs.
It’s not a vitamin
The reason it’s not considered to be a vitamin is that humans can make the necessary amounts (in healthy people) on their own even without the help of food or supplements.
Its main functions are as a membrane stabilizer, antioxidant, and production of adenosine triphosphate in the oxidative respiration process.
ATP (adenosine triphosphate) molecules are available to supply energy to the numerous chemical reactions necessary for sustaining life.
Moreover, it enhances the power of vitamin C and vitamin E and stabilizes blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes mellitus.
Health Benefits of CQ10
A 2007 analysis of twelve studies on patients with hypertension, at Cardiac Surgical Research Unit, Melbourne, Australia, concluded that substance lowered systolic blood pressure 11 to 17 points, and diastolic 8 to 10 points.
One reason may be due to this substance capability to dilate blood vessels (1).
The heart consumes more energy in the form of adenosine triphosphate than almost any other part of the body.
Periodontal is a pathological inflammatory condition of the gum and bone support surrounding the teeth.
Healing and repair of periodontal tissues require energy production, that as we have seen, required sufficient amounts of this substance.
This substance plays an essential role in mitochondrial ATP functions and synthesis as a powerful antioxidant in mitochondrial membranes.
In 2005, a study at the Institute of Nutrition and Food Technology, University of Granada, Spain, concluded that supplementation attenuates the age-related increase in DNA damage (3). However, further research is needed to understand its role in skin aging.
It stimulates the immune system, leading to greater numbers of macrophages and T cells (T lymphocytes). T cells are a specific type of white blood cells that mature in the thymus and stimulate the B cells to make antibodies, that help killer cells develop.
Cancer is the result and a significant cause of free-radical damage related to inflammation, therefore, this antioxidant may help prevent cancer from developing.
Mitochondrial dysfunction has been associated with an array of degenerative illnesses, ranging from neurological disorders and diabetes to heart failure.
According to clinical studies, when supplement with this substance was given for 6 months, it seemed to reduce the symptoms associated with mitochondrial encephalomyopathies (4).
This substance has been shown to slow down the progression of Parkinson’s disease, a neurodegenerative brain disorder that progresses slowly in most patients.
A 2002 study at the University of California and published in the Archives of Neurology established that high doses (1200mg/day) appear to slow the progressive deterioration of function in early PD when compared to placebo (5).
However, based on the current evidence, official supplementation with the antioxidant is not recommended.
The 2016 study, conducted at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, established that children and teenagers who suffered from this condition are likely to have mild deficiencies in riboflavin (vitamin B2), vitamin D, and this substance (6).
Enhances exercise performance
In 2008, a study issued in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition determined that supplementation with this substance resulted in increased time to exhaustion and maximal oxygen consumption (7).
Plant-Based Food Sources
Our levels of this antioxidant naturally decline with age. This decline is most apparent in individuals over the age of 40.
Fortunately, you can replenish these levels by eating the right foods, such as – oils from sesame, soybean, and canola, sesame seeds, roasted peanuts, pistachio nuts, broccoli, cauliflower, oranges, spinach, or strawberries.
It’s estimated that the average person’s diet contributes around 25% of the total level of this substance.
What are the signs of deficiency?
Symptoms of deficiency include high blood pressure, heart failure, fatigue, and chest pain, muscle weakness, and soreness.
Causes of deficiency
Individuals with certain conditions, including Parkinson’s disease, type 2 diabetes, and heart problems, tend to have low levels of this antioxidant.
Also, tobacco smoke can deplete body stores.
Furthermore, fatigue, stress, and aging can diminish the amount of the substance found in your body.
Statins and CoQ10
Cholesterol-lowering statin drugs (statins such as atorvastatin, cerivastatin, pravastatin lovastatin, and simvastatin) block the production in your body.
These drugs work to lower LDL cholesterol by inhibiting a liver enzyme called HMG Co-A reductase, that will ultimately lead to a reduction of the liver’s capability to make cholesterol. But, that same mechanism that blocks LDL cholesterol also blocks the production of this antioxidant.
Currently, at least 1 in 4 American adults over the age of 40 is taking a statin drug to lower LDL cholesterol levels. Thus, if you’re on these drugs it’s important to supplement with this powerful antioxidant.
There is no official daily value recommendation but a daily dosage up to 90 to 120 mg was found to be tolerated by all persons (healthy or unhealthy). In addition, some studies have found high daily dosages safe up to 3,600 mg per day.
This supplement is fat-soluble, therefore it is best to ingest it with meals that contain at least a little bit of fat.
Side effects and precautions of Coenzyme Q10
No serious adverse effects have been reported from the use of this supplement. However, some individuals have experienced: insomnia, increased liver enzymes, rashes, loss of appetite, nausea, upper abdominal pain, itching, sensitivity to light, irritability, dizziness, headaches, heartburn, flu-like symptoms and fatigue.
Additionally, it may interact with anticoagulant medications, at high doses.
Pregnancy & Breastfeeding
A study demonstrated that supplementation with CoQ10 during pregnancy may prevent preeclampsia in at-risk women.
However, it is recommended that pregnant or nursing mothers and people with a known medical condition should consult a healthcare specialist before using this supplement.
There’s no need to take the supplement, particularly if you are healthy. However, if you have high blood pressure, heart disease, mitochondrial dysfunction or Parkinson’s disease, this supplement may be helpful.