What’s the Deal with CoQ10?
If you are on cholesterol medication, chances are that you’ve heard of CoQ10 before. Chances are that you’ve even been advised to take a CoQ10 supplement because of the statin (cholesterol) medication you’re on. There’s been some buzz around CoQ10 as more studies reveal the vital role and function it has in our body’s energy production, vitality and health.
What Does CoQ10 Do?
Coenzyme Q10, also knowns as CoQ10, is a fat-soluble compound that helps cells generate energy and protects against cell damage with its antioxidative properties. Within the mitochondria of cells, CoQ10 helps to produce ATP energy. Therefore, CoQ10 is present in all cells of the body, but can be found in greatest concentration in the liver, heart, kidneys, and lungs. This compound supports energy production but also protects these active tissues from oxidative stress; hence, its antioxidant function.
What are sources for CoQ10?
CoQ10 is a fat-soluble compound, therefore it can be found in abundance in organ meats like heart, liver and kidney. Other rich food sources for CoQ10 include fatty fish like trout, herring, mackerel and sardines. Foods like pork, beef, chicken, lentils, soy beans, peanuts, pistachios, and sesame seeds also contain considerable amounts of CoQ10. Fruits like oranges and strawberries also contain smaller amounts of CoQ10. Increasingly, reaching for supplements has been the easier method to obtain CoQ10, especially when one’s routine diet is lacking in nutrients. That’s where consumer diligence comes in as far as seeking out high quality supplements. While absorption rates from food sources and supplements are similar, supplements should be taken in combination with a snack or meal that contains dietary fat to improve absorption of this fat-soluble compound.
How much CoQ10 is needed?
There are no established guidelines set for CoQ10 intake. Studies have shown benefits with intakes of 50mg to 400mg. Given some health conditions, more or less may be recommended in supplementation. Those with liver, kidney or heart diseases should always consult with their physician before starting any supplementation regimens. Typically, there are no adverse reactions. But if taken in persistent high quantities, of 1,000mg or more, some may experience side effects of nausea, diarrhea, headache and skin rashes.
Additionally, there are some factors that cause the body’s level of CoQ10 to deplete. As you age, your CoQ10 stores decrease naturally and supplementation can help compensate for natural losses. Additionally, those on statin (cholesterol) medications and those with deficiency in B6 vitamin are at risk for lower or depleted CoQ10 stores. When supplementing CoQ10 due to statin use, it is best to take the medication and supplement separately. Because of the fat-blocking actions of statin medications, taking CoQ10 with the statin does not allow proper absorption of CoQ10 and therefore inhibits the maximum benefits.
Benefits of CoQ10?
Because of its properties, CoQ10 supports cardiovascular health. It has also been shown to improve insulin sensitivity and blood sugar status in those with type 2 diabetes. According to studies, therapeutic effects have been achieved with supplementation doses for 150mg to 300mg.
Sports performance places high demand on muscles and can lead to fatigue from high oxidative stress. Studies have shown improved sports performance in athletes who supplemented with 300mg of daily CoQ10. A particular study looked at 100 athletes preparing for the 2012 London Olympics. These subjects were observed over a six-week period and received either placebo or 300mg of CoQ10 (Ubiquinol). While both groups performed better, the test group receiving the CoQ10 supplementation showed significant improvements in performance and power output.
Other studies have also observed benefits in those with heart failure, Parkinson’s Disease, Alzheimer’s, muscle aches, migraines, and fertility problems. And some benefits are thought to be present in prevention of cancer and lung disease, but ongoing studies hope to reveal concrete results in CoQ10’s function and involvement.
Once more, this is my case to promote a balanced diet with a variety of foods inclusive of all macro and micronutrients. Food sources don’t just provide one single nutrient, but a combination which often work together to promote better absorption and function in the body. Because supplement manufacturers are not closely regulated and have no production quality enforcements, consumers have to be diligent in seeking out quality products from trustworthy companies – which is never an easy task.
Alf, D.; Schmidt, M.; Siebrecht, S. (April 29, 2013). Ubiquinol Supplementation Enhances Peak Power Production in Trained Athletes: A Double-Blind, Placebo Controlled Study. Journal of International Sports Nutrition, 10 (24). Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3661336/.
Amin, MM.; Asaad, GF.; Abdel Salam, RM.; El-Abhar, HS.; Arbid, MS. (Feb 20, 2014). Novel CoQ10 Antidiabetic Mechanisms underlie its Positive Effect: Modulation of Insulin and Adiponectine Receptors, Tyrosine Kinase, PI3K, Glucose Transporters, sRAGE and Visfatin in Insulin Resistant/Diabetic Rats. PLoS One, 9 (2). Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24586567.
Metagenics Blog. Retrieved from: https://blog.metagenics.com/post/2019/05/13/coq10-101/?utm_campaign=Meta_Newsletter&utm_source=hs_email&utm_medium=email&utm_content=72775150&_hsenc=p2ANqtz-8-7mq8LWvq9ou2SYXY-YLL1cbqJKL3qAZCHT-6z_KAv42j5zCAuMp65cCr-9s5Szfvr9Z77vxjwD3Cp3C8uVM6TGhjaQ&_hsmi=72775150
Semeco, Arlene (Oct 12, 2017). 9 Benefits of Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10). Healthline. Retrieved from: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/coenzyme-q10#section13.
Zahedi, H.; Eghtesadi, S.; Seifirad, S.; Rezaee, N.; Shidfar, F.; Heydari, I.; Golestani, B.; Jazayeri, S. (July 25, 2014). Effects of CoQ10 Supplementation on Lipid Profiles and Glycemic Control in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes: A Randomized, Double Blind, Placebo-controlled Trial. Journal of Diabetes Metabolic Disorders, 13 (81). Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26413493.