CoQ10 is a naturally occuring compound found in every cell in the body. CoQ10's alternate name, ubiquinone, comes from the word ubiquitous, which means "found everywhere." Coenzyme Q10 (also known as ubiquinone, ubidecarenone, coenzyme Q, and abbreviated at times to CoQ10, CoQ, Q10, or Q) is a benzoquinone, where Q refers to the quinone chemical group, and 10 refers to the isoprenyl chemical subunits.
This vitamin-like substance is, by nature, present in most human cells except red blood cells and eye lens cells (no mitochondria) and is responsible for the production of the body’s own energy. In each human cell, food energy is converted into energy in the mitochondria with the aid of CoQ10. Ninety-five percent of all the human body’s energy requirements (ATP) is converted with the aid of CoQ10. Therefore, those organs with the highest energy requirements – such as the heart and the liver – have the highest CoQ10 concentrations. CoQ10 plays a key role in producing energy in the mitochondria, the part of a cell responsible for the production of energy in the form of ATP. ATP serves as the cell's major energy source and drives a number of biological processes including muscle contraction and the production of protein. CoQ10 also works as an antioxidant.
Antioxidants are substances that scavenge free radicals, damaging compounds in the body that alter cell membranes, tamper with DNA, and even cause cell death. Free radicals occur naturally in the body, but environmental toxins (including ultraviolet light, radiation, cigarette smoking, and air pollution) can also increase the number of these damaging particles. Free radicals are believed to contribute to the aging process as well as the development of a number of health problems including heart disease and cancer. Antioxidants such as CoQ10 can neutralize free radicals and may reduce or even help prevent some of the damage they cause.
Why Use CoQ10
- Heart failure
- Heart Attack Prevention and Recovery
- High Blood Pressure
- Gum Disease
- Kidney Failure
- Counteract Prescription Drug Effects
- Parkinson's disease
- Weight loss
Evidence For CoQ10
People with heart failure have been found to have lower levels of CoQ10 in heart muscle cells.
Double-blind research suggests that CoQ10 may reduce symptoms related to heart failure, such as shortness of breath, difficulty sleeping, and swelling. CoQ10 is thought to increase energy production in the heart muscle, increasing the strength of the pumping action. Recent human studies, however, haven't supported this.
In one study, 641 people with congestive heart failure were randomized to receive either CoQ10 (2 mg per kg body weight) or a placebo plus standard treatment. People who took the CoQ10 had a significant reduction in symptom severity and fewer hospitalizations.
In another study, 32 patients with end-stage heart failure awaiting heart transplantation received either 60 mg of CoQ10 or a placebo for 3 months. Patients who took the CoQ10 experienced a significant improvement in functional status, clinical symptoms, and quality of life, however there were no changes in echocardiogram (heart ultrasound) or in objective markers.
A study randomized 55 patients with congestive heart failure to receive either 200 mg per day of CoQ10 or a placebo in addition to standard treatment. Although serum levels of CoQ10 increased in patients receiving CoQ10, CoQ10 didn't affect ejection fraction, peak oxygen consumption, or exercise duration.
A longer-term study investigated the use of 100 mg of CoQ10 or a placebo in addition to standard treatment in 79 patients with stable chronic congestive heart failure. The results indicated that CoQ10 only slightly improved maximal exercise capacity and quality of life compared with the placebo.
Several small trials have found CoQ10 may be helpful for certain types of cardiomyopathy.
Lower levels of CoQ10 have also been observed in people with Parkinson's disease. Preliminary research has found that increasing CoQ10 may increase levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine, which is thought to be lowered in people with Parkinson's disease. It has also been suggested that CoQ10 might protect brain cells from damage by free radicals.
A small, randomized controlled trial examined the use of 360 mg CoQ10 or a placebo in 28 treated and stable Parkinson's disease patients. After 4 weeks, CoQ10 provided a mild but significant significant mild improvement in early Parkinson's symptoms and significantly improved performance in visual function.
A larger 16 month trial funded by the National Institutes of Health explored the use of CoQ10 (300, 600 or 1200 mg/day) or a placebo in 80 patients with early stage Parkinson's disease. The results suggested that CoQ10, especially at the 1200 mg per day dose, had a significant reduction in disability compared to those who took a placebo.
CoQ10 and Statin Drugs
Some research suggests that statin drugs, or HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors, a class of drugs used to lower cholesterol, may interfere with the body's production of CoQ10. However, research on the use of CoQ10 supplements in people taking statins is still inconclusive, and it is not routinely recommended in combination with statin therapy.
In a 12-week randomized controlled trial, 74 people with type 2 diabetes were randomized to receive either 100 mg CoQ10 twice daily, 200 mg per day of fenofibrate (a lipid regulating drug), both or neither for 12 weeks. CoQ10 supplementation significantly improved blood pressure and glycemic control. However, two studies found that CoQ10 supplementation failed to find any effect on glycemic control.
A small study looked at the topical application of CoQ10 to the periodontal pocket. Ten male periodontitis patients with 30 periodontal pockets were selected. During the first 3 weeks, the patients applied topical CoQ10. There was significant improvement in symptoms.
CoQ10 is fat-soluble, so it is better absorbed when taken with a meal that contains oil or fat. The clinical effect is not immediate and may take up to eight weeks.
Consult your doctor before trying CoQ10, especially if you have heart disease, kidney failure, or cancer.
Side effects of CoQ10 may include diarrhea and rash.
CoQ10 is used in combination with standard treatment, not to replace it.
CoQ10 may lower blood sugar levels, so people with diabetes should not use CoQ10 unless under a doctor's supervision. CoQ10 may also lower blood pressure.
The safety of Co q10 in pregnant or nursing women or children has not been established.
Because of the potential for side effects and interactions with medications, dietary supplements should be taken only under the supervision of a knowledgeable healthcare provider.
Coenzyme Q10 appears to be generally safe with no significant side effects, except occasional stomach upset. However, the safety of CoQ10 supplementation during pregnancy and breastfeeding is unknown and, therefore, should not be used during that time until more information is available.
If you are currently being treated with any of the following medications, you should not use CoQ10 without first talking to your healthcare provider.
Daunorubicin and Doxorubicin
Coenzyme Q10 may help to reduce the toxic effects on the heart caused by daunorubicin and doxorubicin, two chemotherapy medications that are commonly used to treat a variety of cancers.
Blood Pressure Medications
In a study of individuals taking blood pressure medications (including diltiazem, metoprolol, enalapril, and nitrate), CoQ10 supplementation allowed the individuals to take lower dosages of these drugs. This suggests that CoQ10 may enhance the effectiveness of certain blood pressure medications, but more research is needed to verify these results.
There have been reports that coenzyme Q10 may decrease the effectiveness of blood-thinning medications such as warfarin, leading to the need for increased doses. Therefore, given that this medication must be monitored very closely for maintenance of appropriate levels and steady blood thinning, CoQ10 should only be used with warfarin under careful supervision by your healthcare provider.
CoQ10 supplementation may reduce the heart-related side effects of timolol drops, a beta-blocker medication used to treat glaucoma, without decreasing the effectiveness of the medication.
Other Medications that can lower the levels of coenzyme Q10 in the body include statins for cholesterol (atorvastatin, cerivastatin, lovastatin, pravastatin, simvastatin), fibric acid derivatives for cholesterol (specifically, gemfibrozil), beta-blockers for high blood pressure (such as atenolol, labetolol, metoprolol, and propranolol), and tricyclic antidepressant medications (including amitriptyline, amoxapine, clomipramine, desipramine, doxepin, imipramine, nortriptyline, protriptyline, and trimipramine).
The general recommended dose for CoQ10 supplementation is 30 to 60 mg daily. Higher doses have been used in studies and may be recommended for the following conditions:
Congestive heart failure: 50 to 150 mg a day
High blood pressure: 50 to 150 mg a day
To enhance athletic performance: 60 mg a day for 4 to 8 weeks
Heart attack: 120 mg a day for 28 days after the heart attack
Breast cancer: 400 mg per day for potential prevention and treatment
Coenzyme Q10 is fat-soluble so should be taken with a meal containing fat for optimal absorption. Olympian Labs Softgels contain extra virgin olive oil which is a healthy fat to enhance absorption.