Preventive and natural medicine is gaining ground with each new day on the calendar.
Among the factors that are spearheading the conversation in this approach in medicine is the role of micronutrients and vitamins, especially that act as antioxidants.
One of those is co-enzyme Q10, otherwise known as ubiquinone or ubiquinol.
This article endeavors to exactly find out the benefits of coQ10 and how to incorporate it into our diet for better results.
What is CoQ10?
CoQ10 is one of the substances produced by all body cells and acts as an antioxidant and coenzyme in the growth and maintenance of the body.
As an antioxidant, it scavenges free radicals that have been implicated in the aging process, thus protecting the body from damage.
Additionally, coQ10 is essential for metabolism and, thus, energy production. This is supported by the fact that its highest concentration is seen in the mitochondria- “the powerhouse of the cell.”
While it is produced naturally by cells, it has been found that with age, its production reduces, requiring supplementation.
11 benefits of CoQ10
CoQ10’s role has been explored in several studies, including its role in heart health, migraines, low sperm count, HIV, gum health, Parkinson’s disease, and many other conditions. We shall take a look at some of the important benefits of coQ10.
1) Heart diseases
Heart failure is usually caused by other heart conditions that exacerbate inflammation and oxidative stress. This leads to damage to the myocardium, making it difficult to sufficiently pump blood to all body parts.
While drugs are used to treat such conditions, some have dire side effects. CoQ10 has been shown to effectively treat heart failure.
In one study, it was shown that coQ10 improved the symptoms while reducing the risk of dying.
In another study, it was found to slow the progression of heart failure while reducing the risk of developing complications. Finally, it is essential to note that coQ10 reduces blood pressure slightly.
Overall, coQ10 is an integral nutrient in the maintenance of heart health and should be provided in adequate amounts, especially in those experiencing dwindling levels.
Preliminary studies on coQ10 for diabetes show that it is useful in reducing the amount of low-density lipoprotein and thus a reduction in the risk of heart disease, which is a complication of type 2 diabetes.
Additionally, low levels of coQ10 are associated with diabetic nephropathy, which is an important prognostic factor in diabetes.
Further research needs to be done on the topic of diabetes and coQ10, but considering current research, it is likely to be found that coQ10 is essential in the management and better prognostication for diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
3) Parkinson’s disease
Parkinson’s is a neurodegenerative disorder associated with reduced levels of coQ10. This, therefore, means that it is helpful to have enough amounts of coQ10 before the disease sets in. If it does take root, then it is difficult to reverse the process.
Usually, headaches are due to low energy levels in brain cells, accumulation of free radicals, and inflammation of the mitochondria.
CoQ10, in this case, helps at each stage to reduce the severity, frequency, and duration of migraines.
For one, they act as antioxidants and thus scavenge for any free radicals in the brain that might precipitate headaches. In addition, they also possess an anti-inflammatory effect, thus reducing inflammation and helping in energy production.
With these benefits, coQ10 has been shown to reduce the incidence of migraines, especially when coupled with magnesium and riboflavin.
5) Statin-induced myopathy
Statins are often prescribed to those with heart disease to reduce the risk of accumulating low-density lipoproteins that may lead to heart attacks or even heart failure. One of the side effects of these statins, however, is muscle weakness and cramping.
For this matter, coQ10 has been used in some to RCT’s help reduce this weakness and cramping, and success has been achieved.
Most physicians now recommend that as you take statins, you should follow up with coQ10 to avoid some of the statin side effects.
6) Physical performance
As discussed earlier, coQ10 helps energy production through the metabolic process. For this reason, it has been used as a natural supplement to help those taking physical performance session to achieve maximum productivity.
It achieves this by reducing oxidative stress that may cause cramping of muscles and improving mitochondrial function, thus leading to efficient production and use of energy.
This works for both men and women. As women age, the egg quality and quantity decline, and this is made worse by the fact that as you also age, coQ10, an important anti-oxidant, also reduces.
Supplementing it, however, can reverse the process of damage done to the eggs due to oxidative stress.
On the other hand, oxidative damage also happens to sperm, leading to low-quantity and low-quality sperm, which eventually leads to infertility.
As such, supplementation improves the quality of sperm and their count, thus improving one’s fertility.
Overall, coQ10 reduces oxidative damage done to germ cells improving fertility for both men and women.
8) Keeping the skin young
Let’s face it; everyone loves to have smooth young skin. Being the largest organ in the body, the skin is exposed to damage and aging more than any other organ.
The application of coQ10 directly to the skin helps reduce the damage done to it by both external factors, such as UV rays, and internal free radicals that accelerate the aging of the skin. It is important to note that coQ10 supplementation reduces the risk of skin cancer.
9) Cancer prevention
Research suggests that low levels of coQ10 may increase the risk of cancer by 53.3% and indicate a poor prognosis for various types of cancer.
Oxidative stress on cells causes damage which, if not well controlled, can lead to the development of cancer. CoQ10 reduces this risk by fighting off oxidative stress and promoting cellular energy production.
In addition, coQ10 also helps reduce the chance of cancer recurrence in cases where complete remission has been achieved.
10) Good for the brain
Mitochondria provide energy for the brain, and as one ages, their function diminishes. This kind of dysfunction is likely to lead to oxidative damage making the brain susceptible to diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, affecting the physical and cognitive brain functions.
CoQ10 supplementation helps reduce the accumulation of harmful substances and slows the progression of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
11) Good for the lungs
In lung diseases like asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, increased oxidative damage and low antioxidant levels may contribute to lung damage.
Therefore, supplementation with enough antioxidants can be essential in reducing oxidative damage to the lung in cases of Asthma and COPD.
How do you know if you need CoQ10?
As we have already established, coQ10 is vital for energy production and fighting oxidative stress. Its deficiency, therefore, follows that in its absence, these functions are compromised.
One cannot measure the coQ10 levels in the blood as they are different from those in tissue. Thus, there is no definitive way to measure a deficiency of coQ10.
On the other hand, the symptoms of coQ10 deficiency can be vague as they may manifest from a different disease, but some of those symptoms include:
- Muscle aches and pains
- Shortness of breath
- Memory issues
- Mental confusion
- Heart problems
- Gum disease
- Seizures in severe deficiency
Therefore, if you are experiencing these signs, it is prudent to seek supplementation of coQ10. This is especially if you are susceptible to deficiency, as in having Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s, or aging.
These conditions are usually associated with low coQ10 levels, and combined with the coq deficiency symptoms, they can be a good indicator that you need coQ10 supplementation either from food or capsules.
Food sources of CoQ10
CoQ10 can be found as a supplement in many forms, including capsules, but before considering this option, it is important to consider its natural availability in foods.
The current trend of taking ready-to-eat foods or fast foods significantly reduces the intake of coQ10, which is often found in fresh foods.
Foods that are rich in coQ10 include fatty fish such as mackerel, sardines, and herring, organic meats, peanuts, and broccoli which are described below.
- Organ meats: Heart, liver, and kidney
- Muscle meats: Beef, chicken, and pork
- Fatty fish: Trout, herring, mackerel, and sardine
- Vegetables: Broccoli and spinach
- Fruits: Oranges and strawberries
- Legumes: Soya beans and lentils
- Oils: Canola oil
- Nuts and seeds: Sesame seeds
Eating the above foods can help provide enough of the coQ10.
Should CoQ10 be taken daily?
CoQ10 can be taken daily. Usually, the daily dosage is about 100mg to 200mg, but one can take up to 500mg without adverse effects.
The reason for taking coQ10 daily is that it is not stored by the body, thus requiring continuous replacement each time.
Usually, the formulation is with some oils to enhance absorption as coQ10 is fat soluble. It comes in two forms, ubiquinone and ubiquinol, which is the form that is readily absorbed and found in the blood.
Essentially, one should take this supplement each day according to the need of those aging and having certain conditions being advised to consider these supplements more.
What happens when you take CoQ10 every day?
So, what will happen if one takes coQ10 every day? Taking coQ10 regularly will lead to one experiencing the advantages and benefits of coQ10.
Summarily, one will have more energy, and the aging effect will reduce as free radicals are scavenged for by the anti-oxidant.
With consistent intake, one will experience:
- Improved aging
- Better exercise performance
- Improved heart health
- Fewer migraines
- Reduced statin-induced cardiomyopathy
- Better cognitive function
When should I take CoQ10, morning or night?
CoQ10 is concerned with energy production in the body cells.
Although it can be taken at any time of the day, it is recommended that it should be taken early in the morning when one needs the energy to carry out the daily tasks.
Taking it in the evening can lead to an excess of energy, unnecessarily forcing one into conditions of insomnia.
So, preferably, if you want to supplement coQ10, use it early in the morning or in the afternoon, but not past 2 pm.
Are there any side effects of CoQ10?
There is little data on the safety of the coQ10 supplements. For this reason, physician act on the assumption that it is safe until they find otherwise. This is why this supplement is not recommended for pregnant and lactating mothers or their children.
On the other hand, coQ10 side effects are rare and mild and include nausea, diarrhea, and heartburn.
Additionally, coQ10 presents a risk to those with chronic diseases such as liver failure and diabetes, as sugar levels may fall too low.
Finally, it is important to note that coQ10 interacts with other drugs, such as blood thinners and thyroid medications. It is essential to check with your doctor before incorporating these supplements into one’s lifestyle.
In summary, coQ10 is an essential micronutrient that improves aging, acts as an oxidant, and helps in energy production, among other benefits.
It is, therefore, necessary that everyone should acquire enough amounts, especially those susceptible to deficiency, either from food or supplements in about 100mg -200mg per day.
Consuming enough coQ10 will result in benefits such as a better aging process and help prevent some diseases, including cancer.