What is Coenzyme Q10?

Diabetes, Heart, fatigue | March 9, 2017 | Author: Naturopath

cholesterol, heart disease, cancer, diabetes

What is Coenzyme Q10?

CoQ10  (short for Coenzyme Q10) is a compound naturally produced in the body that can also be consumed in the diet or in the form of supplements.

The body primarily uses it for energy production in the mitochondria (plural for mitochondrion) – these are the structures inside our cells known as the powerhouses of the cell, because they are responsible for nearly all the body’s energy production.

In addition to its role in energy production, CoQ10 also functions as an antioxidant, protecting our body against the damage done by free radicals, and slowing down the effects of ageing.

How can I add more CoQ10 to my diet?

Meat, poultry, fish, nuts, soybean oil, and canola oils are the richest nutritional sources of CoQ10, while much lower levels can be found in most dairy products, vegetables, fruits, eggs, and grains.

It is important to know that the method of cooking affects the content of CoQ10 in foods. Approximately 14%-32% of coenzyme Q10 is lost during frying of vegetables and eggs, however; boiling these foods does not seem to change the content of CoQ10.

Who Should Take CoQ10 Supplements?

It is believed that a varied diet can provide sufficient CoQ10 to help prevent deficiency in healthy people. However, levels of CoQ10 in our body naturally decline as we age, and this may contribute to several chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.

If you are deficient, diet alone is not enough to significantly boost the levels of CoQ10 in your body. Research suggests that CoQ10 supplementation is beneficial for a variety of conditions that are associated with low levels of CoQ10, including:

  • Heart disease. There is some evidence to suggest that supplementation of CoQ10 may improve heart function in patients with heart failure.
  • High cholesterol. Statins, the most widely used medications for decreasing LDL cholesterol, have been shown to reduce the production of CoQ10 in the body. It has been suggested that supplementation of CoQ10 may improve statin-induced muscle weakness, a known adverse effect that is associated with the use of statins.
  • Diabetes. CoQ10 supplements were found to reduce fasting blood sugar in diabetes patients.
  • High blood pressure. Some studies, but not all, suggest that CoQ10 may reduce blood pressure. Additionally, supplementation with CoQ10 from 20 weeks of pregnancy was found reduce preeclampsia (high blood pressure during pregnancy) in women at risk.
  • Cancer. Animal studies have shown that CoQ10 stimulates the immune system, and results from human trials suggest that it can protect the heart from damage caused by the chemotherapy drug doxorubicin. It is possible that supplementation may be beneficial for breast cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.
  • Fatigue. Studies found that low levels of CoQ10 were consistently associated with fatigue, especially in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome.
  • Parkinson’s Disease. CoQ10 deficiency has been reported in patients with Parkinson’s disease, and it has been suggested that supplementation may be associated with slower deterioration of function patients.
  • Huntington’s Disease. Mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative stress play important roles in the mechanism of this neurodegenerative disease, characterised by a progressive decline in both psychiatric and cognitive functions. Supplementation of CoQ10 was found to slow down the decline and improve cognitive function in patients.
  • Cystic Fibrosis. Preliminary evidence suggests that multivitamin supplements that contain CoQ10 may improve airway inflammation in children with cystic fibrosis.

Is it Safe to Take CoQ10 supplements?

CoQ10 supplements are considered safe and are generally well tolerated.

  • CoQ10 is fat soluble, so it helps to take CoQ10 supplements with a meal or snacks containing fats.
  • Do not take CoQ10 supplements if you are on warfarin (a blood thinner), as it can reduce its effectiveness. Consult your doctor.
  • Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not use CoQ10 unless under the advice of their health care provider.

Ubiquinone vs. Ubiquinol?

You may have noticed that CoQ10 supplements come in two forms, ubiquinone and ubiquinol. So what is the difference between the two?

Ubiquinone is the form that has been traditionally used in CoQ10 supplements and in the vast majority of studies. It is the cheaper form of CoQ10 and the most stable.

Ubiquinol is the active (reduced) form of CoQ10. The body converts ubiquinone into ubiquinol, so theoretically it means that taking ubiquinol is more effective as it is more readily usable and more easily absorbed.

Ubiquinol has been approved for therapeutic use in Australia since 2013, and because it costs more to manufacture, it is more expensive for consumers than the more conventional ubiquinone form. It is also more susceptible to oxidation and extra care is needed when storing it.

Many experts believe that ubiquinol is superior for your health; however, others claim that solid evidence is still lacking. If you are unsure which form to use, consult your healthcare professional.
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References

Filler, K., Lyon, D., Bennett, J., et al. (2014). Association of mitochondrial dysfunction and fatigue: A review of the literature. BBA Clinical, 1, 12–23.

Galli, F., Battistoni, A., Gambari, R., et al. (2012). Oxidative stress and antioxidant therapy in cystic fibrosis. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) - Molecular Basis of Disease, 1822(5), 690–713.

Grover, H. S., Luthra, S., & Maroo, S. (2014). Are statins really wonder drugs? Journal of the Formosan Medical Association, 113(12), 892–898.

Johri, A., & Beal, M. F. (2012). Antioxidants in Huntington’s disease. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta, 1822(5), 664–74.

Linus Pauling Institute 2012, Coenzyme Q10, Oregon State University, retrieved March 8, 2017,

Magee, L. A., Pels, A., Helewa, M., et al. (2014). Diagnosis, evaluation, and management of the hypertensive disorders of pregnancy: executive summary. Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Canada : JOGC = Journal D’obstetrique et Gynecologie Du Canada : JOGC, 36(5), 416–41.

Moradi, M., Haghighatdoost, F., & Feizi, A. (2016). Effect of Coenzyme Q10 Supplementation on Diabetes Biomarkers: a Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Randomized Controlled Clinical Trials. Archives of Iranian Medicine, 19(8).

National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health 2015, Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10): In Depth, NCCIH, retrieved March 8, 2017,

Phillipson, O. T. (2014). Management of the aging risk factor for Parkinson’s disease. Neurobiology of Aging, 35(4), 847–857.

Soukoulis, V., Dihu, J. B., Sole, M., et al. (2009). Micronutrient Deficiencies an unmet need in heart failure. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 54(18), 1660–1673.

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