June 7, 2018
What Is CoenzymeQ10?
And do you need it?
Photo courtesy of @kikib030/Twenty20
By Natalie Shukur
writer for The Natural
CoenzymeQ10 may sound like part of a science equation, but it’s actually a nutrient that occurs naturally in the body, often prescribed in supplement form to bolster heart health, protect cells, and support metabolism. While there’s no shortage of new must-have herbs, minerals, and vitamins to add to your natural medicine cabinet, we find out if CoQ10 (as it’s abbreviated) is one worth investing in.
“I like to treat supplements as ‘safety nets’ because as a dietitian I encourage my clients to get most of their nutrition from food,” says Amy Shapiro MS, RD, CDN, founder of Real Nutrition NYC. “That being said, there are many nutrients that are not easy to meet the needs of through the diet, especially the average American diet, so that is where I recommend supplements. I also recommend supplements for individuals who may be taking medications that can decrease natural levels, are depleted or have deficiencies.”
CoQ10 levels are said to decrease naturally as we get older, so it’s not until middle age that a supplement should necessarily even be considered. “CoQ10 is a fat-soluble compound that is made in the body and is also present in some foods,” says Shapiro. “It is essential in the formation of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is the body’s main form of energy. CoQ10 has also been shown to have antioxidant effects, can help fight infections and promote immune function.” Used topically, CoQ10 (aka ubiquinone) is said to help boost collagen and elastin in the skin and gums (we like it in toothpaste), and protect against free radical damage.
Photo courtesy of @chiapppa/Unsplash
According to medical studies, it’s cardiovascular conditions that are most widely known to benefit from CoQ10. “It has shown to be beneficial for people who have congestive heart failure, hypertension or cardiac arrest because of its effect on lowering blood pressure and lessening the chance of future cardiac episodes, and it provides your heart with more energy, especially as you age. It is also helpful for people who take statin drugs for cholesterol as they may lower your body’s natural CoQ10 levels,” Shapiro says. There are, however, a handful of non age-related conditions that could be helped by CoQ10 supplementation. “Individuals with neurological disorders such as migraines, or people who have diabetic neuropathy, muscular dystrophy, PCOS, hearing loss, or infertility may benefit as well,” adds Shapiro.
Foods rich in CoQ10 include spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, sardines, mackerel, peanuts, and soybeans. If you’re supplementing, CoQ10 is best taken “as an oil-based or granular supplement form in the presence of dietary fat to increase absorption,” advises Shapiro. “It has been shown to remain in the blood longer if taken in two doses throughout the day instead of one. There have been studies that administered 30mg per day for mild heart failure and up to 1,200mg per day for Parkinson’s disease. A typical dosage, however, is 100 – 200mg of CoQ10 per day, depending on the condition that is being treated.”
As with any medicine, natural or otherwise, “consult your doctor before taking this supplement to see if there are any drug interactions they should be aware of,” says Shapiro. “Especially if the patient is on blood thinners, thyroid medications, or are receiving chemotherapy.”
Articles from The Natural should not be considered medical advice. If you have any questions about your health, please consult a medical professional.