What Are The Key Benefits Of CoQ10?
Despite its full name being a real mouthful, the benefits of CoQ10 are significant, especially for the aging human heart.
Widely consumed and prescribed by doctors, it is produced by the body, absorbed through diet, and used in supplement form for a range of health benefits.
Co-Enzyme Q-10 is its full name. However, it is also known as ubiquinone, ubidecarenone, and coenzyme Q. No wonder it’s usually shortened to ‘CoQ10’.
One of these names does give a clue to the importance of this substance to the human body, though: ‘ubiquinone’ comes from the word ‘ubiquitous’, which means ‘found everywhere’.
CoQ10 is made - and found - in nearly all bodily tissues, down to the very membrane of each cell.A substance found in every cell is obviously critical to health.
This fat soluble molecule may not be classed as an essential ‘vitamin’, yet CoQ10 supplements are proven effective for a number of conditions and diseases - especially of the heart.
You may also have seen it included in some weight loss product combinations, with claims that CoQ10 can help the other ingredients in the formula work better.
However, these formulas are generally far less proven than other benefits that you will read about below.
Before we get into the various benefits of CoQ10 supplements, we first need to take a closer look at what it is and why the body needs it to maintain good health.
What Exactly Is CoQ10?
You can think of CoQ10 as fuel for mitochondria.
‘What are mitochondria?’, you ask. They are tiny bodies found in large numbers inside each cell, and they are responsible for the processes of energy production and respiration. Pretty important, eh?
Mitochondria produce ATP, which represents 95% of the body's energy requirements. They are concentrated in tissues that need to ‘perform’, such as cardiac and skeletal muscle tissue.
Because of its importance to energy levels and performance, CoQ10 is a well-known prescription for heart disease, athletic performance, and chronic fatigue states.
Dietary sources of CoQ10 include red meats, fish, and, unsurprisingly, animal organs such as heart. Not too much there for vegans, though you can also derive CoQ10 from nuts and seeds.
The Main Benefit of CoQ10 In More Detail
As mentioned, the main benefit of CoQ10 is for the aging human heart. In fact, there is evidence of some quite exciting protective properties of this important nutrient.
Its positive effects on cardiovascular health have been shown in various studies to include:
- Encouraging blood vessel dilation
- Enhancing blood flow
- Protecting vessels against oxidative damage and inflammation
- Possible improvement in the symptoms of angina
- Possible lowering of blood pressure
- Faster recovery after heart attack
- Boosting exercise capacity after heart attack
The Other Benefits of CoQ10
Because of CoQ10’s antioxidant properties and its ability to produce energy, it is associated with a range of other health benefits.
Some of these are closely connected to cardiovascular health and include:
→ Treating fibromyalgia
CoQ10 supports mitochondrial function, as well as a healthy cardiovascular system. It also reduces fatigue when exercising and helps to reduce muscle soreness.
→ General fitness
CoQ10 improves V02 max, which is a measurement of cardiovascular fitness. It also reduces fatigue when exercising.
CoQ10 functions as an antioxidant, helping to slow the effects of aging. It may also protect against the damaging effects of UV radiation.
→ Benefits for patients taking cholesterol-lowering drugs
Statin medications reduce levels of CoQ10, with potential negative consequences for cardiovascular function and cognition.
Medically supervised supplementation with CoQ10, alongside statin drugs, is often advised.
→ Brain health and cognition
CoQ10 may help in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease, when combined with creatine.
→ Male sexual health and fertility
Some evidence suggests that CoQ10 supplementation can increase sperm motility and protect sperm from oxidative damage. CoQ10 may also help in erectile dysfunction.
Migraine headaches may be related to mitochondrial dysfunction. Because of the benefits of CoQ10 on the mitochondrial system, it may be of use in treating these headaches.
The benefits of CoQ10 may extend further. Evidence exists of it reducing the risk of blood clots by decreasing the stickiness of platelets; and it has also been associated with anti-cancer, periodontal, blood sugar and diabetic benefits - but these require further evidence.
How Do You Safely Enjoy The Benefits of CoQ10?
The recommended CoQ10 dosage ranges from 100 to 200 mg daily. It should be taken with food, as it is a fat-soluble molecule that relies on the presence of food (and specifically fats) for proper absorption.
CoQ10 is generally considered safe, with few side-effects. Rarely, gastrointestinal symptoms such as cramping, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting have been reported.
Studies show that CoQ10 may be able to help patients reduce their heart medication. However, always consult with your doctor before taking CoQ10.
This especially applies to patients taking anticoagulant (blood-thinning) medication such as Warfarin.
Who Should Be Seeking The Benefits Of CoQ10?
It is not too difficult to identify those who can best reap the benefits of CoQ10: people with cardiovascular or circulation problems.
In fact, the supplement has become quite mainstream. Doctors often prescribe it to patients taking statins and experiencing negative side effects such as energy loss.
As you have seen, CoQ10 is something of a cardiovascular ‘superstar’, with a large body of evidence supporting its use as a protective, energy-producing, vasodilating and recovery-enhancing supplement.
Secondary benefits may include improved fitness and reduced fatigue. This is particularly helpful for people with chronic fatigue syndrome. It may also aid those with fertility or cognitive problems.
Within Athletic Greens, CoQ10 works well with other ingredients that improve circulation: most notably hawthorn and, to a lesser extent, ginger. CoQ10 also works well with alpha lipoic acid, because its antioxidant properties are magnified by the antioxidant “recycling” ability of this acid.
CoQ10 is included as a supplement in Athletic Greens partly for those concerned about cardiovascular health. But, in fact, most people could do with a boost to their circulation (for which it works quickly and effectively) as well as some extra antioxidant protection and an energy boost.