What is CoQ10 and Why You Need it?

CoQ10 is short for coenzyme Q10, an antioxidant enzyme that is produced by your body. The primary function of CoQ10 is to convert food to energy and protect cells. Because of its potent antioxidant effects, it is present in every single cell. For the same reason, CoQ10 supplements are widely recommended and used in treating heart conditions.

What is Co Q10?
CoQ10 is naturally produced by your body, present in foods, and is available as supplements. It occurs in two forms, ubiquinol, the active antioxidant form, and ubiquinone, the oxidized form, which the body partially converts to ubiquinol. The name ubiquinone comes from the word “ubiquity” since it is present in all cells. CoQ10 is found in the highest levels in your heart, pancreas, liver, and kidneys. As part of your mitochondria, the powerhouse of your cell, CoQ10 is involved in energy production. Besides, it plays a vital role in bodily functions like regulating blood pressure, transporting electrons, and other crucial roles. Here are the principal functions and benefits of CoQ10.

Benefits of CoQ10

Releases energy: CoQ10 is a critical component in the process of energy release. It helps convert the fat and carbohydrate from your food into the energy form usable by cells. This energy form is called ATP (Adenosine Tri Phosphate), aka energy currency. Since CoQ10 is a fat-soluble component, it is present in the inner membranes of mitochondria to aid in the conversion of raw energy into ATP[1]. Co Q10 helps to maintain energy by facilitating ATP production. Based on three separate studies, it was found that CoQ10 may help reduce exercise-related fatigue[2] [3][4].

Supports brain function: CoQ10 may have a crucial role in protecting brain tissues and reducing the risk of degenerative diseases. Research reveals that people with cognitive disorders show reduced levels of CoQ10 in the blood. A randomized, placebo-controlled trial evaluated the effect of 300, 600, or 1200 milligrams a day of CoQ10 given to 80 patients with early Parkinson’s. The study found that the supplementation was well-tolerated and linked to slower deterioration of cognitive functions compared to the placebo[5]. A smaller study found that oral administration of 300 mg/day of CoQ10 for 48 to 96 months moderately improved motor symptoms in treated patients (with Levodopa) with re-emerging symptoms but not in patients at an early stage of the disease[6]. Several trials are still underway to study the efficacy of CoQ10 supplementation in other neurodegenerative conditions like Huntington’s disease. The moderately positive results make CoQ10 a possible addition to the diets of patients with conditions like Alzheimer’s[7]. 

Reduces inflammation: One significant effect of CoQ10 is its ability to lower inflammation in the body by decreasing the activity of inflammatory cells. Since chronic inflammation is aging-related and there is a significant drop in CoQ10 production with aging, CoQ10 supplementation appears meaningful. A meta-analysis of the study provided evidence that CoQ10 intake reduced inflammatory markers like C- Reactive protein[8]. Another publication reported that patients with metabolic diseases (obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and nonalcoholic fatty liver had a significant decrease in a specific inflammatory marker, TNF-α plasma levels with CoQ10 intake[9]. 

Aids heart health: CoQ10 is naturally highly concentrated in the heart muscles enabling it to function optimally. As a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent, it helps improve heart functions by fighting free radical damage. Decades of research have postulated that CoQ10 may benefit those with heart conditions like heart failure and angina. A meta-analysis that included 13 studies found that 100 mg of CoQ10 per day for 12 weeks improved blood flow from the heart in people with heart failure[10]. Another study observed the effects of long-term CoQ10 intake in patients with chronic heart failure found it improved symptoms and reduced the risk of major adverse heart-related issues[11]. 

May help prevent premature aging: Research confirms that the body’s ability to make CoQ10 drop significantly with aging[12]. This finding makes it vital to increase CoQ10 intake through external sources[13] like diet and supplements. One of the crucial functions of energy production is healthy metabolism, muscle and bone strength, and youthful skin. Inadequate CoQ10 impacts energy release leading to signs of premature aging such as chronic fatigue, achy muscles, and bones. For instance, the function of CoQ10 concerning skeletal muscles reveals that it helps protect the genetic structure to keep those muscles strong and minimize the risk of bone and joint injuries[14]. Research shows CoQ10 positively influences the age-affected cell metabolism and helps combat signs of aging by improving the mitochondrial function in the skin[15]. 

Who should take a CoQ10 supplement?
Certain health conditions and diseases could be contributing factors to CoQ10 deficiency. These include,

  • Genetic defects that interfere with CoQ10 production or utilization.
  • Age-related factors that cause a decline in CoQ10 production.
  • High levels of oxidative stress.
  • Individuals who take statin treatments may produce less CoQ10
  • Anyone with B6 deficiency may not produce enough CoQ10[16]People with chronic diseases conditions or mitochondrial diseases.

In addition to the deficient states, athletes in strenuous physical activities and women trying to conceive[17] could also benefit from CoQ10 supplements.

Signs of CoQ10 deficiency
Since CoQ10 is highly concentrated in heart muscles, low levels of this antioxidant manifest themselves as cardiovascular problems like angina heart failure, irregular heartbeat, and high blood pressure. Some individuals also experience gum issues, stomach ulcers, and problems with blood sugar levels. Besides, people that take statin therapy fall short of CoQ10 and exhibit fatigue and achy joints and muscles.

How much CoQ10 does an adult need, and what forms are best?
There is no recommended daily allowance established for CoQ10. However, experts recommend getting at least 90 – 120 mg of CoQ10 per day for anyone on statin medications. The same dosage is also applicable to people with a family history of heart problems or increased risk of heart diseases. Since CoQ10 is safe to consume. It is also recommended as a daily dietary supplement in healthy men and women to promote healthy aging and heart function. Ubiquinol forms of CoQ10 supplements have greater antioxidant efficiency and work well for those who need higher doses, like athletes. Ubiquinol is also highly suitable for the elderly who have trouble converting CoQ10 to ubiquinol (the active form).

A few points to keep in mind
Since the body’s ability to produce CoQ10 starts declining from age 40, it is a good idea to reach for high-quality CoQ10 dietary supplements alongside a healthy diet.
CoQ10 is a fat-soluble nutrient; hence it is best to be consumed along with a meal.
It is important to note that CoQ10 supplements can decrease the anticoagulant efficacy of statins and common cholesterol-lowering drugs. If you take these medications talk to your doctor about CoQ10 before starting a dietary supplement.

Here are a few supplements to consider, 

CoQ10 by Pure Encapsulations: It is a hypoallergenic formulation that offers CoQ10 in capsule form. Pure Encapsulations offers CoQ10 in various strengths and sizes to meet the needs of consumers. The supplement is available in 30 mg, 60 mg,120 mg, 250 mg, and 500 mg formulations to increase energy, exercise tolerance, and optimal support for the heart. The supplement meets the need of those seeking a non-GMO, gluten-free, vegetarian CoQ10 dietary supplement. The recommended dosage for 30 mg strength CoQ10 is one capsule 1-4 times per day with meals.

UBQH by Integrative Therapeutics: Integrative Therapeutics offers CoQ10 as UBQH or ubiquinol, the reduced active form of CoQ10. UBQH is more stable and well utilized by the body. It is beneficial for those that have difficulty in converting CoQ10 to its active form (ubiquinol). Ubiquinol form is more readily available for the nervous system, heart, and other vital organs. It is also beneficial for patients that require high doses of CoQ10. Since the ubiquinol form is readily available to the body, it is recommended for athletes too. Integrative Therapeutics offers CoQ10 as ubiquinol using a patented process, so the bioactive form retains its structure and unique properties. Integrative Therapeutics offers Ubiquinol (CoQ10) in 50 mg and 100 mg strengths. The suggested dosage is one softgel two times per day or recommended by your physician.

Ubiquinol-QH by Douglas Labs: This formulation combines ubiquinol (reduced form of CoQ10), and vitamin E. Ubiquinol is the biologically reduced form of ubiquinone, also known as coenzyme Q10. Ubiquinol-QH by Douglas Laboratories is a critical nutrient specially formulated for older adults to support healthy aging and heart function. The CoQ10 component of the formulation offers support for energy production. It also provides antioxidant support along with vitamin E. Both Ubiquinol-QH and vitamin E are fat-soluble antioxidants and thus work to prevent the oxidation of fat components in the blood. Douglas Labs Ubiquinol-QH is a softgel containing 100 mg of natural ubiquinol in a patented, naturally self-assembling nano-colloid system called VESIsorb technology for enhanced absorption. The formulation is available in 30-and 60 count softgels. The recommended dosage is one softgel per day or suggested by your physician.

CoQ10 is found in low quantities even on a healthy diet, hence it is practical to take a CoQ10 supplement to cover the needs of your body. This recommendation is true to anyone over 40, since it is evident that there is a decline in CoQ10 production as we age. Choose your CoQ10 supplements from reputed manufacturers.