Coenzyme Q10 is a compound found naturally in every cell of your body. Sometimes referred to as CoQ10 or ubiquinone, it's also available in dietary supplement form. Coenzyme Q10 supplements are often touted for their supposed benefits on heart health.
Known to have antioxidant effects, coenzyme Q10 is essential for the proper functioning of your cells. One of its main functions is to aid in the production of energy within your cells.
As you get older, your body's levels of coenzyme Q10 decrease. Many proponents suggest that taking coenzyme Q10 in supplement form can offer anti-aging benefits.
Uses for Coenzyme Q10
Coenzyme Q10 is said to help treat or prevent the following health conditions:
high blood pressure
In addition, coenzyme Q10 is said to enhance fertility, stimulate the immune system, improve athletic performance, sharpen memory, and protect against some forms of cancer.
The Benefits of Coenzyme Q10
Here's a look at some of the science behind the health effects of coenzyme Q10:
1) Heart Health
Coenzyme Q10 may benefit patients with certain cardiac diseases (including atherosclerosis, heart failure, and coronary artery disease), according to a report published in Pharmacology & Therapeutics in 2009.
The report's authors note that coenzyme Q10 may treat cardiac ailments in a number of ways.
For example, research suggests that coenzyme Q10 may reduce oxidative stress, as well as promote widening of the blood vessels (a key factor in blood pressure control).
In addition, coenzyme Q10 may be beneficial to cardiac cells, which have high energy requirements and are extremely sensitive to coenzyme Q10 deficiency.
2) Blood Pressure
For a report published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews in 2009, scientists sized up three previously published clinical trials (with a total of 96 participants) comparing the effects of coenzyme Q10 to those of placebo in the treatment of high blood pressure.
In their review, the report's authors found some evidence that coenzyme Q10 may provide blood-pressure-lowering effects. However, the reviewed studies were too unreliable to draw any firm conclusions as to coenzyme Q10's effectiveness in the long-term management of high blood pressure.
3) Neurodegenerative Disease
Coenzyme Q10 shows promise in the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders, such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease, according to a research review published in Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment in 2009.
While few clinical trials have tested the effects of coenzyme Q10 supplementation in people with Parkinson's or Alzheimer's disease, some preliminary research indicates that the supplement may be helpful to such patients. For example, animal-based research has shown that coenzyme Q10 may inhibit overproduction of beta-amyloid (a protein fragment that forms the brain plaques associated with Alzheimer's disease).
Side Effects & Safety Concerns
Use of coenzyme Q10 supplements may trigger a number of side effects, including: dizziness, fatigue, headaches, heartburn, increased liver enzymes, insomnia, irritability, nausea, rashes, diarrhea, sensitivity to light, low blood sugar, and upper abdominal pain.
There's also some concern that coenzyme Q10 may reduce the effectiveness of anticoagulant medications.
Should You Use Coenzyme Q10 Supplements?
More research is needed before coenzyme Q10 supplements can be recommended for the treatment or prevention of any health condition, including cardiovascular problems.
For help in preserving your heart health, it's important to follow a balanced diet rich in vegetables and fruits, keep your blood pressure and cholesterol in check, exercise regularly, maintain a healthy weight, and avoid smoking.
There's also some evidence that natural remedies like garlic, omega-3 fatty acids, and resveratrol may have heart-healthy effects.
If you're thinking of using coenzyme Q10 to treat a health problem, it's crucial to talk to your doctor before starting your supplement regimen.
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Littarru GP1, Tiano L. "Clinical aspects of coenzyme Q10: an update." Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2005 Nov;8(6):641-6.
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. "Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10): In Depth." NCCIH Pub No.: D489. March 2015.
Singh U1, Devaraj S, Jialal I. "Coenzyme Q10 supplementation and heart failure." Nutr Rev. 2007 Jun;65(6 Pt 1):286-93.
Spindler M1, Beal MF, Henchcliffe C. "Coenzyme Q10 effects in neurodegenerative disease." Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat. 2009;5:597-610.
Weant KA1, Smith KM. "The role of coenzyme Q10 in heart failure." Ann Pharmacother. 2005 Sep;39(9):1522-6.
Disclaimer: The information contained on this site is intended for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for advice, diagnosis or treatment by a licensed physician. It is not meant to cover all possible precautions, drug interactions, circumstances or adverse effects. You should seek prompt medical care for any health issues and consult your doctor before using alternative medicine or making a change to your regimen.