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CoQ10 Benefits: What Is Coenzyme Q10 and Why Do You Need It?

It may appear that there is a new addition to the supplements world every other day. You know, one more thing that is supposed to be good for you. One of the most popular entrants is coenzyme Q10 or CoQ10 for short. In this article we shall look at CoQ10 benefits and why you may need it as a supplement.

What Is CoQ10?

At the risk of repeating, CoQ10 is an acronym for coenzyme Q10. It is also known as Q10, coenzyme Q, or ubiquinone. It is an essential part of the mitochondria, which is essential for energy production. It is required for the formation of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), essential for energy transfer.[1]

It may be interesting to know that one of the most popular sports supplements, creatine, works by increasing ATP production. However, this is not to say that CoQ10 is similar to creatine.

Beneficial Effects

There are two basic benefits of CoQ10:

  • Energy production
  • Antioxidant action

However, there are many more CoQ10 benefits, with even more being discovered as studies progress. Lets us now briefly look at some of these benefits, shall we?

Energy production: We all need energy to function. More energy means ability to do more, physically as well as mentally. In this day and age of fast-paced lifestyles, we can only wish for more energy.

Performance enhancing: Various studies indicate that CoQ10 supplementation may help improve physical performance as it is involved in energy production.[2] Not surprise here, as improved energy results in improved performance.

Cardiovascular health: CoQ10 is an important component of cardiovascular health, but often overlooked often overlooked as a treatment.[3] CoQ10 deficiency is common in heart patients. Scientific evidence suggests that it may have therapeutic benefits for a wide range of cardiovascular diseases including heart disease.[4]

Anti-aging properties: As an antioxidant, CoQ10 may help neutralize the effects of free radicals that may damage cells as well as mitochondrial DNA. Free radicals are believed to contribute to the aging process.[5]

Cancer fighting: Again, because of its antioxidant properties, CoQ10 may help fight certain cancers as well as slow tumor growth.[6]

These are just a few of the known CoQ10 benefits, and more continue to be discovered as research continues.

Side Effects

CoQ10 is a naturally occurring substance in the body and in certain foods. Therefore the risk of side effects from supplementation is low. Of course, as with anything else, there is always the risk of individual allergy. Where side effects have been reported, they have been very mild and include:

  • Stomach upset: these are often mild
  • Insomnia: it is best to take it at beginning of your day if affected
  • heartburn

If you are on medication you should consult your physician before starting on CoQ10 supplements. Consulting a knowledgeable healthcare professional before starting on a supplement is always a good idea and highly recommended.

CoQ10 Supplementation

Due to its potential benefits, including anti-aging and increased energy, most people may benefit from taking CoQ10 supplements. However you may need it more if:

  • You are an older individual: CoQ10 levels in the body appear to decline as we age. It may be a good idea to supplement if you are over 40.
  • You are on cholesterol drugs: Since cholesterol and CoQ10 are both synthesized in more or less the same manner in the body, cholesterol drugs (also called statins) can inhibit CoQ10. Also, some researchers are of the opinion that some troubling side effects of statin drugs, such as muscle pain and damage, may be reduced with CoQ10 supplementation.[7]

Coenzyme Q10 supplements come in two forms, ubiquinone and ubiquinol. Ubiquinone is the most commercially available and cheaper form. Ubiquinone has to be converted into ubiquinol in the body, a process that gets more difficult with age. It is therefore best to go for ubiquinol.

 

References:

[1] Linus Pauling Institute: Coenzyme Q10

[2] NCBI: Coenzyme Q10 and Statin-Induced Mitochondrial Dysfunction

[3] Encyclopedia of Nutritional Supplements: Michael T Murray, ND

[4] Oregon State University: Possible Health Benefits of Coenzyme Q10

[5] University of Maryland: Coenzyme Q10

[6] CoQ10 and Cancer Treatment

[7] Mayo Clinic: Can coenzyme Q10 reduce the risk of serious side effects from statin medications?

David Kamau (aka Dawg) is a health and fitness buff and loves to write about it. He offers supplements reviews and updates at his blog, including debunking some myths, at his blog.

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