What Is Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)?
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is an essential element that your body produces naturally. As an antioxidant, coenzyme CoQ10 has been used in medical practices for decades, especially for treating cardiovascular diseases. The antioxidant protects cells from damage and plays a vital role in metabolism. It is required by each and every single cell in the body.
In the human body, coenzyme Q10 is found in the highest levels in the heart, kidneys, liver and pancreas.
CoQ10 levels start to decrease in your body as you age. The levels of CoQ10 are also believed to be lower in the individuals with certain conditions, such as heart disease.
Besides aging and genetic defects, There are also some factors that contribute to CoQ10 deficiency; including —
- High levels of oxidative stress
- Having chronic diseases
- Taking statin drugs
- Nutritional deficiencies in B vitamins
- Mitochondrial diseases
However, the human body is capable to create Coenzyme Q10, but it doesn’t always do so consistently. CoQ10 deficiency or lack of CoQ10 is most commonly associated with the damage of free radicals or oxidative stress. [Trusted Source 1]
CoQ10 deficiency is also believed to be associated with conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer, fibromyalgia, declining cognition and muscle conditions. [Trusted Source 2]
Symptoms of CoQ10 deficiency have not been widely studied or reported in much detail in the general population.
But it is estimated that the diet of an average person contributes around 25% of total CoQ10.
Foods That Are High In CoQ10
Now the question is—How can I increase CoQ10 levels naturally?
Coenzyme Q10 is present in many foods we consume. CoQ10 is found in abundance in fish, liver, meat and whole grains.
The richest natural sources of coenzyme Q10 are poultry, fish and meat, but some vegetarian options, such as nuts, beans, some vegetables, dairy products and eggs, are also helpful for increasing your intake. [Trusted Source 3]
Other best sources include —
- Grass—fed beef
- Sesame seeds
- Pistachio nuts
- Rainbow trout
- Cage—free eggs
- Fish such as herring, sardines and mackerel
The amount of coenzyme Q10 present in these dietary sources, however, is not sufficient to significantly increase CoQ10 levels in the body.
Also, there’re many CoQ10 supplements are available in the market in the form of tablets and capsules.
Recommended Daily Intake (RDI)
Currently, there is no specific recommendation for dietary intake for coenzyme Q10. It’s because CoQ10 enzyme is a fat—soluble element and is most easily absorbed when taken with the small amounts of healthy fats such as vitamins A and E.
However, you can found it from certain foods, but these dietary foods tend to only supply low doses. This is the only reason why many health experts recommend supplementing if you’re older or have a condition that may benefit from CoQ10 supplementation.
What Is CoQ10 Good For?
Coenzyme Q10 is synthesized within our body naturally and utilized for important functions, including supplying cells with energy, regulating blood pressure levels and transporting electrons. It also helps other enzymes to work properly.
Although, CoQ10 plays a vital role in the human body, most healthy individuals have enough CoQ10 naturally.
There’re some evidence that adding more CoQ10 supplements to your diet may be beneficial.
Health Benefits Of Coenzyme Q10
Health advantages may include —
1. Sustains Natural Energy
The coenzyme plays an important role in the mitochondrial ATP synthesis, which is the conversion of raw energy from foods such as carbohydrates and fats, into the form of energy that human cells use called adenosine triphosphate (ATP).
This conversion process needs the presence of coenzyme Q or ubiquinone in the inner mitochondrial membrane. One of its roles is to take electrons during fatty acid and glucose metabolism and then transfer them to electron acceptors. [Trusted Source 4]
2. Slows Down The Effects Of Aging
CoQ10 tissue levels have been reported to decline with age. It is also believed to contribute to declines in energy metabolism and degeneration of organs, including liver, heart and skeletal muscle.
Possible anti—aging benefits of taking more CoQ10 include —
- Protection of the heart against stress—related aging [Trusted Source 5]
- Protection of skeletal muscle genetic structure to keep those muscles strong, minimizing joint and bone injury risk [Trusted Source 6]
- Reduced UV skin damage [Trusted Source 7]
- Improved fertility during 40s by the reversal of egg degradation and increased production of ATP [Trusted Source 8]
- Increased activity of antioxidants such as glutathione and catalase, to protect cell membranes throughout the body from free radical damage [Trusted Source 9] [Trusted Source 10]
3. Could Improve Male Infertility
It is also possible that CoQ10 enzyme may help to improve fertility issues in men. In has been proved in many clinical trials.
- Improves sperm motility
- Increases fertilization rates
- Boosts sperm count
- Increases antioxidants in seminal plasma
- Improves sperm morphology
- Improves the symptoms of Peyronie’s disease
- Aids in the treatment of reduced sperm motility or asthenozoospermia or asthenospermia
4. Reduces Free Radical Damage
Oxidative or free radical damage can cause many aging—effects. Coenzyme Q10 has been found to prevent lipid peroxidation, which occurs when the cell membranes and LDL are exposed to oxidizing conditions that enter from outside the body. [Trusted Source 16]
In fact, when LDL is oxidized, coenzyme Q10 is used to help offset the effects.
Within mitochondria, CoQ10 can protect membrane proteins and DNA from the free radicals damage that accompanies lipid peroxidation and neutralize oxidative damage directly that contribute to nearly all age—related diseases such as tumor, diabetes, heart disease and neurological disease, etc. [Trusted Source 17] [Trusted Source 18]
5. May Improve Heart Health
CoQ10 has been used to treat many health conditions such as in prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease, particularly high blood pressure or hypertension, hyperlipidemia, coronary artery disease, and heart failure.
It can help to treat heart failure and other heart conditions, possibly helping to improve some symptoms and lessen future cardiac risks when combined with regular medications.
It has strong potential for prevention and treatment of many heart ailments by improving cellular bioenergetics, acting as an antioxidant and boosting free radical—scavenging abilities.
However, more clinical trials are still needed to prove these effects.
6. Reduced Symptoms Of Parkinson’s Disease
Previous studies state that high doses of coenzyme Q10 might be beneficial for the individuals in the early stages of this progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects movement.
- Previous researches have been stated that coenzyme Q10 may slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease
- CoQ10 has been used as a preventive treatment for migraine headaches, though it may take several months to work
- It can be used to treat HIV, Parkinson’s disease, muscular dystrophy, gum disease and many other conditions
- Studies reveal that CoQ10 might help to ease muscle weakness sometimes associated with taking statins
- CoQ10 might reduce the frequency of headaches
- Because CoQ10 is involved in the production of energy, it is believed that the supplement might improve physical performance
Side-Effects Of CoQ10
CoQ10 supplements are normally safe and the side-effects are rare. Mild side effects might include —
- Light sensitivity
- Loss of appetite
- Upper abdominal pain
It is not recommended during pregnancy and breast—feeding. Do not use CoQ10 if you’re pregnant or breast—feeding.
People with chronic diseases such as heart failure, liver or kidney problems, or diabetes should be wary of using this supplement.
CoQ10 may lower blood pressure and blood sugar levels. Doses of more than 300 mg may affect liver enzyme levels.
Ask your doctor if taking blood thinners and thyroid medications.
CoQ10 supplements are also not recommended for children or for women who are pregnant or breast—feeding.
CoQ10 supplements might be beneficial for treating conditions such as congestive heart failure and Parkinson’s disease.
However, be sure to take this supplement under your doctor’s supervision.
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