What is CoQ10?

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What is CoQ10?

CoQ10 (short for Coenzyme Q10) is an essential element for many daily functions and is required by every single cell in the body. As an antioxidant that protects cells from the effects of aging, it has been used in medical practices for decades, especially for treating heart problems.

CoQ10 is synthesized within the body naturally and used for important functions, such as supplying cells with energy, transporting electrons and regulating blood pressure levels. As a “coenzyme,” CoQ10 also helps other enzymes to work properly. 

Although the body creates Coenzyme Q10, it doesn’t always do so consistently and CoQ10 production naturally declines as we age — just when we need our cells to help defend us most. Lack of CoQ10, or CoQ10 deficiency, is most commonly associated with the damaging effects of oxidative stress

CoQ10 Deficiency:

Some contributing factors to CoQ10 deficiency/low levels, besides aging and genetic defects, are believed to include:

  • Having chronic diseases
  • High levels of oxidative stress
  • Nutritional deficiencies in B vitamins
  • Mitochondrial diseases
  • Taking statin drugs

CoQ10 Benefits:

Some potential benefits of CoQ10 supplementation that have been studied are:

  • Improving symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome and sustaining natural energy: CoQ10 plays a role in “mitochondrial ATP synthesis,” which is the conversion of raw energy from foods (carbohydrates and fats) into the form of energy that our cells use called adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Also, clinical trials have found that CoQ10 may be a powerful natural method to treat fibromyalgia symptoms. Improvements include reduction of overall pain and symptoms.
  • Improving heart health and offset effects of statin drugs: CoQ10 has strong potential for prevention and treatment of heart ailments by improving cellular bioenergetics, acting as an antioxidant and boosting free radical-scavenging abilities. What we do know is that CoQ10 supplementation may be useful for those taking statins, since it can lower side effects that they often cause. Statins are used to reduce an enzyme in the liver that not only decreases the production of cholesterol, but also further lowers the natural production of CoQ10
  • Increasing sperm count and motility: It’s possible CoQ10 can improve fertility issues in men. Clinical trials have shown that supplementation with CoQ10 significantly improved sperm count and motility.
  • May protect cognitive health: In those with cognitive impairments such as Parkinson’s disease or Alzheimer’s disease, increased oxidative stress in a part of the brain called substantia nigra is thought to contribute to symptoms. Some studies have shown potential for CoQ10 to help reduce cognitive decline.
  • CoQ10 Could aid in Diabetes: CoQ10 has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity and regulate blood sugar levels. Supplementing with CoQ10 might also help increase CoQ10 concentrations in the blood by up to three times in people with diabetes who typically show low levels of this compound. Also, one study had people with type 2 diabetes supplement with CoQ10 for 12 weeks. Doing so significantly reduced fasting blood sugar levels and hemoglobin A1C, which is the average of blood sugar levels over the past two to three months. Lastly, CoQ10 might help prevent diabetes by stimulating the breakdown of fats and reducing the accumulation of fat cells that could lead to obesity or type 2 diabetes. 
  • It is good for the brain: Mitochondria are the main energy generators of brain cells. Mitochondrial function tends to decrease with age. Total mitochondrial dysfunction can lead to the death of brain cells and diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Unfortunately, the brain is very susceptible to oxidative damage due to its high fatty acid content and its high demand for oxygen. This oxidative damage enhances the production of harmful compounds that could affect memory, cognition and physical functions. CoQ10 may reduce these harmful compounds, possibly slowing the progression of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease

CoQ10 Foods:

Coenzyme Q10 is found naturally in our diets from foods, including fish, liver, kidney and the germs of whole grain. The richest natural sources of dietary coenzyme Q10 are meat, poultry and fish, but vegetarian options, such as beans, nuts, some vegetables, eggs and dairy products, are also helpful for increasing your intake.

My recommendation for the best foods supplying CoQ10:

  • Grass-fed beef
  • Wild Herring
  • Free-range chicken
  • Sesame seeds
  • Pistachio nuts
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Oranges
  • Strawberries
  • Pastured Raised eggs
  • Wild Sardines
  • Wild Mackerel

Currently, there is no specific dietary intake recommendation for CoQ10 established from the Institute of Medicine or other agencies. Because it’s a fat-soluble antioxidant, it’s most easily absorbed when consumed with a small amount of healthy fats (just like vitamins E and A). Although it can be obtained from certain foods, foods tend to only supply low doses, which is exactly why many experts recommend supplementing if you’re older or have a condition that may benefit from CoQ10 supplementation.

CoQ10 Supplement Dosage:

CoQ10 comes in two different forms — ubiquinol and ubiquinone. Ubiquinol accounts for 90% of the CoQ10 in the blood and is the most absorbable form. Thus, it’s recommended to choose from supplements containing the ubiquinol form. 

Because CoQ10 is a fat-soluble compound, its absorption is slow and limited. However, taking CoQ10 supplements with food can help your body absorb it up to three times faster than taking it without food. Additionally, some products offer a solubilized form of CoQ10, or a combination of CoQ10 and oils, to improve its absorption. 

Your body does not store CoQ10. Therefore, its continued use is recommended to see its benefits. Supplementing with CoQ10 appears to be well tolerated by humans and have low toxicity. Dosage sizes of CoQ10 supplements range anywhere from 50–1,200 milligrams per day. Most supplements fall in the 100–200 milligram range.  Depending on the condition studies attempt to treat, the CoQ10 dosage recommendations can range from 90 milligrams up to 1,200 milligrams. This larger dose has typically been used only to study the neurological benefits of CoQ10 — most successful studies use between 100–300 milligrams. If side effects appear, it is recommended to divide the daily dose into two to three smaller doses. To find out which brand we recommend, reply back or comment below CoQ10.

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