Coenzyme Q10 is a powerful antioxidant, that is present in almost every cell in the body with higher concentrations in “hard working” organs such as heart, kidney and liver. As an antioxidant, it protects protein, lipids and DNA in your body from damage by free radicals. CoQ10 plays an important role in energy production, as it transforms nutrients into Adenosine triphosphate (ATP), “energy currency” of the body. There are numerous health benefits of CoQ10 including supporting cardiovascular health, boosting immune system and improving physical performance.
CoQ10 deficiency or lower concentration is linked to numerous medical issues such as
- Cardiovascular disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Kidney failure
- Muscular dystrophy
- Disorders of the mitochondria
- Type 2 Diabetes
Aging and taking cholesterol lowering statin drugs can also lower concentrations of CoQ10 in the body.
How does CoQ10 benefit your heart health?
Benefits people with cardiovascular disease
For too long the focus has been only on reducing and managing high cholesterol, high blood pressure and other cardiovascular disease risk factors. Mounting evidence shows that chronic inflammation can negatively impact cardiovascular health independently as well as exacerbate the effect of other cardiovascular risk factors. Inflammation can promote the growth of plaques, loosen plaques from the walls of arteries and even trigger blood clots. CoQ10 can reduce CRP levels and other inflammatory markers linked to cardiovascular disease.
Reduces blood pressure
Studies have shown that CoQ10 supplementation in people with hypertension can reduce systolic blood pressure up to 17mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure up to 10mm Hg.
Reduces Angina symptoms
CoQ10 supplementation reduces the frequency of angina episodes. It also increases the ability to exercise without chest pain.
Improves Congestive Heart failure symptoms
Research shows that CoQ10 supplementation when used together with conventional drug therapy, can improve heart failure symptoms and reduce major cardiovascular events. Discontinuation of CoQ10 in people with CHF has resulted in relapses. So people with congestive heart failure should not discontinue CoQ10 supplementation without talking to their Physician.
Reduces side-effects of statin medication
In addition to lowering cholesterol, statin medication can reduce CoQ10 concentration in the body as it works mainly by blocking the enzyme, HMGCoA reductase that is required to produce both cholesterol and CoQ10. Reduced concentration of CoQ10 can lead to mitochondrial dysfunction, causing muscle pain and myopathy. CoQ10 supplementation can reduce the symptoms of statin-induced myopathy.
Improves cardiac surgery outcome
CoQ10 supplementation taken prior to heart surgery helps reduce damage to the heart from the surgery, reduce arrythmias post-surgery and shorten recovery time. Always talk to your physician about taking supplements prior to any surgery.
Studies show that CoQ10 improves glycemic control. Most importantly it improves mitochondrial dysfunction and protects from the damage of oxidative stress associated with diabetes.
Testing CoQ10 levels
Several labs test for CoQ10 levels in the blood but the test results do not show actual CoQ10 concentration in the heart.
Food sources of CoQ10:
- Meat especially organ meats
- Nuts especially pistachio
- Soybean and Canola oils.
- Smaller concentrations are found in dairy products, eggs, vegetables, fruits and whole grains.
The daily average consumption of CoQ10 is 3-6 grams from diet. The remaining CoQ10 needed for optimal functioning must be made by the body. Foods high in CoQ10 are not the best source of CoQ10. If there is a CoQ10 deficiency, the amount of CoQ10 needed far exceeds availability from food sources. Take beef for example, a food source with relatively higher concentration, 3 oz can supply only 2.6mg of CoQ10.
When you have certain medical conditions with lower CoQ10 concentration or when additional CoQ10 is needed, getting CoQ10 via supplementation might be a better option than food sources.
What is best form of CoQ10?
CoQ10 is available in two different forms: ubiquinone and ubiquinol. Ubiquinol is the reduced form of CoQ10 and ubiquinone is the oxidized form. Ubiquinone is the most common supplement form available. Your body can convert ubiquinone to ubiquinol readily and vice versa. Though there is mixed opinion on which form is better, some research suggests that fat soluble ubiquinol is readily absorbed and more bioavailable. If you are older or have heart health issues, ubiquinol may be a better form of CoQ10 for you.
How much CoQ10 should I take daily?
Studies often use 90mg to 150mg of CoQ10 per day. With certain neurodegenerative condition, higher dosages may be indicated.
As CoQ10 is a fat soluble nutrient, it is always better taken with a meal.
Side effects and possible interactions
Side effects reported are usually minimal and include diarrhea, rash, nausea, upset stomach.
If you are taking warfarin or other blood thinning medication or taking certain chemotherapy drugs, you should talk to your physician before taking CoQ10 supplement as it can reduce the effectiveness of these medications.
Food for thought
Supplements should always be secondary to a good diet and healthy lifestyle. Supplements should only be considered when therapeutic doses are needed and cannot be provided by food sources alone.
Always talk to your physician before starting any new supplements to make sure it is right for you.
The information and other content provided in this blog are for information purpose only, and not intended and should not be considered as medical advice. If you have a medical concern, you should consult with your health care provider before you make any changes to your diet or lifestyle.
To learn about 3 easy steps you can start right away to keep your heart healthy, click on the link below
Saini R. Coenzyme Q10: The essential nutrient. J Pharm Bioallied Sci. 2011;3(3):466–467. doi:10.4103/0975-7406.84471
Hernández-Camacho JD, Bernier M, López-Lluch G, Navas P. Coenzyme Q10 Supplementation in Aging and Disease. Front Physiol. 2018;9:44. Published 2018 Feb 5. doi:10.3389/fphys.2018.00044
Igor Pravst, Katja Žmitek & Janko Žmitek (2010) Coenzyme Q10 Contents in Foods and Fortification Strategies, Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 50:4, 269-280, DOI: 10.1080/10408390902773037
Pravst I, Zmitek K, Zmitek J. Coenzyme Q10 contents in foods and fortification strategies. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2010;50(4):269-280.
Rosenfeldt, F., Haas, S., Krum, H. et al. Coenzyme Q10 in the treatment of hypertension: a meta-analysis of the clinical trials. J Hum Hypertens 21, 297–306 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1038/sj.jhh.1002138
Zhai J, Bo Y, Lu Y, Liu C, Zhang L. Effects of Coenzyme Q10 on Markers of Inflammation: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. PLoS One. 2017;12(1):e0170172. Published 2017 Jan 26. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0170172
Fioranelli M, Bottaccioli AG, Bottaccioli F, Bianchi M, Rovesti M, Roccia MG. Stress and Inflammation in Coronary Artery Disease: A Review Psychoneuroendocrineimmunology-Based. Front Immunol. 2018;9:2031. Published 2018 Sep 6. doi:10.3389/fimmu.2018.02031
Zhang Y, Liu J, Chen XQ, Oliver Chen CY, Ubiquinol is superior to ubiquinone to enhance Coenzyme Q10 status in older men. Food Funct. Published 2018 Nov 14;9(11):5653-5659. doi: 10.1039/c8fo00971f.
Franklin R, Silvano M, William L et al. Coenzyme Q10 therapy before cardiac surgery improves mitochondrial function and in vitro contractility of myocardial tissue. Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular surgery. Published 2005 Jan 129(1):25-32. doi.org/10/1016/j.jtcvs.2004.03.03
Shen Q, Pierce JD. Supplementation of Coenzyme Q10 among Patients with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus. Healthcare (Basel). 2015;3(2):296–309. Published 2015 May 21. doi:10.3390/healthcare3020296