What is CoQ10?
CoQ10 stands for coenzyme Q10, which is a substance and antioxidant naturally found in the body that’s responsible for transforming food into energy. You can find it in just about every single cell.
As an antioxidant, it helps protect against dangerous free radicals that if left to do what they wish, can mess with your DNA, damage cell membranes and in some cases even lead to death. Health problems that frequently stem from free radical damage include cancer and heart disease. Free radicals also play a big role in the aging process.
Antioxidants are known for their ability to neutralize these dangerous free radicals and protect against the damage they cause.
Some health experts say that CoQ10 has the power to help with heart-related conditions. It does this by improving the production of energy in the cells, helping the blood to not clot and by simply playing the role that antioxidants do.
Benefits of supplementing with CoQ10
Some research shows that CoQ10 supplements can help with many conditions, whether they’re used as a standalone treatment or used in combination with other possible drug therapies. Some of the conditions it’s believed to help include the following…
How it Can Help Heart Attack Patients
Coenzyme Q10 supplements have been shown to help patients after a heart attack. If taken within three days of the attack, they lowered their risk of chest pain and more heart attacks. One study showed that their risk of dying from heart disease also decreased. Keep in mind though, if you’ve suffered a heart attack it’s very important that you talk to your doctor before starting CoQ10 supplements or any other supplements.
They’re also probably helpful for those who have suffered heart failure. It’s been shown to help improve treatment when used with other traditional medications. There seems to be a link between congestive heart failure and low levels of CoQ10 in the body.
Heart failure can lead to blood pooling and piling up in certain body areas, commonly in the legs or lungs. It also frequently leads to a shortness of breath. CoQ10 is believed to help by decreasing leg swelling, decreasing fluid buildup in the lungs to help breathing and improve the overall ability to exercise.
However, there are also studies that have found it to have no effect at all. The use of CoQ10 for helping with heart failure remains somewhat controversial. You should never take it upon yourself to self-treat with CoQ10 supplements alone. Always talk to your doctor for guidance in your particular situation.
How it Can Help with High Blood Pressure
Clinical studies, although with a small amount of participants, seemed to show that CoQ10 could help lower blood pressure. It takes time to work, though. The studies generally show that 4 – 12 weeks may be needed to see any effect from it.
In one instance, researchers reviewed 12 different clinical studies. The conclusion was that it may have the ability to decrease both systolic blood pressure (17mm Hg) and diastolic blood pressure (10 mm Hg). They also found no side effects to report. So while it looks promising, the studies have all been relatively small. If you have high blood pressure, talk to your doctor to see if CoQ10 may be a viable treatment option.
Help for Those Using Medication for High Cholesterol
Again, there’s a link between high cholesterol and low levels of Coq10 in the body. So naturally, many believe that using CoQ10 supplements to raise the level of CoQ10 in the body may be an effective way to lower cholesterol. There’s no hard core proof yet if it lowers cholesterol, but there is some research that shows other benefits.
When using statins (medication that’s used to lower cholesterol) for instance, CoQ10 in the body is further reduced. So supplementing it can normalize CoQ10 levels and help relieve side effects commonly associated with statins, such as muscle pain. And again, don’t try to treat high cholesterol on your own with CoQ10 alone. Talk to your doctor to see if it’s something to consider.
Does it Help with Diabetes?
Some research shows that CoQ10 may have the ability to improve blood sugar levels, blood pressure and overall heart health in those with diabetes. Using 100 mg of CoQ10 twice a day helped improve Alc levels. Alc levels is the way your doctor measures long term blood sugar control. Talk to your doctor to see if CoQ10 is a good choice in managing or treating your diabetes.
Chemotherapy, Heart Damage and CoQ10
Chemotherapy drugs, athracycline medications and adriamycin can often lead to heart damage and some research shows that CoQ10 may help prevent that damage. Talk to your doctor about CoQ10 if you’re undergoing chemotherapy to see if it might be helpful in your situation.
Reducing Risks that Go Hand in Hand with Heart Surgery
Heart surgery, including heart transplants and bypass surgery, may often lead to arrhythmia during recovery, which is the heart beating irregularly. It can also lead to free radical damage. Some research shows that CoQ10 supplements used before surgery may help prevent both, as well as help the heart become stronger. As with any surgery, you shouldn’t use or take anything prior to it unless approved by your doctor.
Help for Gum Disease (Periodontal)
Gum disease is very common. If suffering from gum disease, you likely have bleeding, swelling, redness and pain around the gums. Again, science has found that there’s a link between gum disease and low levels of CoQ10 in the gums. Research shows supplementing it may lead to faster tissue repair and healing.
Other Possible Benefits
There’s a lot of research on CoQ10 and what benefits it may hold. But many are small studies, so more research should be done to determine if truly effective, but it may help:
- Increase effectiveness of immune system in those with AIDS or HIV
- Increase exercise capacity in those with angina
- Help treat Parkinson’s disease
- Help with increasing and improving male fertility
- Help prevent migraines
Foods that Contain CoQ10
The main food sources that contain CoQ10 are organ meats like liver, oily fish like salmon and whole grains. Most people normally get plenty of it if they eat a healthy, well-balanced diet. But using it in supplement form may help treat many conditions and ailments.
How to Use It
If you’re going to supplement with CoQ10, it’s recommended to use between 30 mg and 200 mg per day. Your doctor may recommend more in certain situations to treat certain conditions. Remember that it’s fat-soluble. That means you should take it with a meal that has fat in order for your body to absorb it better. Taking it night might help absorption, too.
- Children under 18 should only use CoQ10 supplements if using under the guidance of a physician
- Pregnant and nursing women should always talk to their doctor before use
- Those with diabetes should particularly talk to their doctor before use because it can lower blood sugar
Possible and Known Interactions with Medications
There are several medications that may interact with CoQ10. If using any of these, talk to your doctor before use:
- Chemotherapy medications
- Blood pressure medications
- Blood thinners
- Daunorubicin and doxorubicin
The following medications are known to run the risk of reducing CoQ10 levels:
- Beta blockers
- Fibric acid derivatives
- Tricyclic antidepressants