Coenzyme Q10, or CoQ10 for short, is a natural, vitamin-like compound that is produced by our bodies and plays an essential role in producing energy at the cellular level.
It is found in every cell of our bodies but is most concentrated in organs that require a lot of energy, such as the heart, liver, and kidneys.
CoQ10 also acts as an antioxidant, which means it helps protect our cells from damage caused by free radicals.
Our bodies naturally produce CoQ10, but its production can decrease as we age. Additionally, certain medical conditions, such as heart disease, Parkinson’s disease, and diabetes, may also lower the levels of CoQ10 in the body.
In these cases, taking a CoQ10 supplement may be beneficial.
How Does CoQ10 Work?
CoQ10 is involved in the production of ATP, which is the primary source of energy for our cells. It is a crucial component of the electron transport chain, a process that occurs in the mitochondria of our cells, where energy is produced.
Without CoQ10, the electron transport chain cannot function properly, and energy production is impaired. This can lead you to feel weakness, fatigue, and other more serious symptoms.
As an antioxidant, CoQ10 helps protect our cells from damage caused by unstable molecules that can harm our cells and contribute to the development of various diseases, including cancer and heart disease.
Benefits of CoQ10
Clinical research has linked CoQ10 supplementation to several health benefits, including:
- Boosts Energy Levels: CoQ10 supplements can help increase energy levels by supporting the production of ATP in our cells. This can be particularly beneficial for individuals who suffer from fatigue or exhaustion.
- Supports Heart Health: CoQ10 is concentrated in the heart and can help improve heart health by reducing oxidative stress and inflammation, which are risk factors for heart disease.
- Improves Brain Function: CoQ10 has been shown to have neuroprotective properties, which means it can help protect brain cells from damage and improve cognitive function in individuals with neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
- Helps Manage Migraines: CoQ10 has been shown to be effective in reducing the frequency and intensity of migraines in some individuals.
- Supports Exercise Performance: CoQ10 supplements can help improve exercise performance by increasing energy production and reducing muscle damage and fatigue.
However, keep in mind that CoQ10 supplements are not a miracle cure, and research is still ongoing to determine how effective they actually are in real-world settings.
How to Take CoQ10
CoQ10 supplements are available in different forms, including capsules, tablets, and soft gels.
You will generally find it under the name ubiquinol or ubiquinone.
They can be taken with or without food, but taking them with food may improve absorption.
The recommended dosage of CoQ10 varies depending on the individual’s age, health status, and reason for taking it. It is always best to consult a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement regimen.
In addition to taking supplements, CoQ10 can also be obtained through certain food sources. Foods that are particularly rich in CoQ10 include:
- Organ meats such as liver and kidneys
- Pork, beef, and chicken
- Sardines, trout, and other fatty fish
- Lentils, soybeans, and other legumes
- Peanuts, pistachios, sesame seeds, and other nuts and seeds
- Soybean oil, canola oil, and other vegetable cooking oils
Is It Safe?
CoQ10 supplements are generally considered safe for most people when taken as directed. However, some people may experience mild side effects, such as stomach upset, diarrhea, and nausea.
CoQ10 may also interact with certain medications, such as blood thinners and some antidepressants, so it is essential to consult with a healthcare provider before taking CoQ10 if you are currently taking medication.