CoQ10, also known as Coenzyme Q10, is essential for the proper functioning of our bodies. It’s a naturally occurring chemical that’s required by every single cell and has been applied in medical practices as a heart treatment for decades. The body produces CoQ10 but in some cases, it’s not sufficient for the daily functions of our bodies. In such circumstances, one can take CoQ10 supplements to increase its presence in the body. It’s said to boost the immune system, protect the body against free radicals and improve energy production. CoQ10 is also found in many foods we eat every day, and by increasing the intake of these foods, you’ll increase the level of CoQ10 in your body.
What Is CoQ10?
CoQ10 is an antioxidant that your body produces naturally. It’s found in your mitochondria and in its active form, it’s termed as ubiquinone and ubiquinol – a reduced form of CoQ10 that’s considered more effective since it’s eight times better absorbed. This essential nutrient plays a significant role in the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) through a process called ATP synthesis, which supports energy production for your cells.
As you may be aware, mitochondria are referred to as the cells ‘powerhouse’, and are crucial for energy production. However, during ATP synthesis, mitochondria also produce free radicals. Under normal circumstances, free radicals defend the body against infectious microbes and regulate communication between cells. However, if the free radicals are in excess, they can damage DNA and lead to DNA mutations, tissue damage, and inflammation.
Coenzyme Q10 works as an antioxidant by neutralizing free radicals, hence protecting the cells from DNA damage. Typically, as you age, your body produces less CoQ10. This means that older people may be deficient. However, CoQ10 deficiency can also be caused by:
- Mitochondrial diseases
- Lacking vital nutrients like vitamin B6
- Oxidative stress caused by aging
- Suffering from chronic diseases
- Taking statin drugs
- Genetic defects in CoQ10 production
Luckily, CoQ10 supplements are available and can be found in the form of a capsule, tablet, or IV. Some of the foods rich in CoQ10 include broccoli, sesame seeds, grass-fed beef and organ meats, organic pastured chicken, wild-caught fish like sardines and mackerel.
Health Benefits of CoQ10
Improves Heart Health
Heart diseases occur as a consequence of other heart conditions, such as high blood pressure and coronary heart disease. This could be due to oxidative damage and inflammation of the arteries and veins. While there are a couple of treatments for heart conditions, most exhibit undesirable side effects, including reducing the levels of CoQ10 in the body. It turns out, taking CoQ10 supplements could potentially improve heart health and treat the side effects of statin drugs. Several studies have shown promising results in the use of CoQ10 to reduce the symptoms of heart disease. Although researchers still feel the need to perform more clinical trials, it’s possible that CoQ10 could restore natural levels in the body and help reduce the risk of dying from heart issues.
It Can Help Improve Skin Health
The skin is the most exposed part of your body, and this makes it vulnerable to damages that could accelerate aging. According to studies, applying CoQ10 directly to the skin can counter sun damage and promote antioxidant protection. The CoQ10 also increases energy production in skin cells, reduces oxidative damage caused by UV rays, and eventually decreases wrinkles.
It Could Help Keep Migraines Away
If the mitochondrial function is compromised, your cells may increase the uptake of calcium, free radicals may be produced in excess, and antioxidant protection will decrease. This is likely to cause low energy in the brain cells, leading to migraines. We mentioned earlier that CoQ10 is found in the mitochondria, hence supplementing its levels will help improve mitochondrial function and reduce the inflammation that may occur during headaches.
It Might Improve Fertility
Fertility decreases with age, especially in women. Since CoQ10 levels also decrease with age, the body becomes less effective in protecting the eggs from oxidative damage. The same case happens to men, leading to reduced sperm count and poor sperm quality. Supplementing with CoQ10 increases oxidative protection, thereby improving the number and quality of eggs in women as well as improving sperm count in men.
May Help in Treating Fibromyalgia
Several case studies and clinical trials have concluded that CoQ10 can be effective in the treatment of fibromyalgia. The CoQ10 supplements were shown to reduce fatigue, restore mitochondrial function, reduce headaches, and reduce oxidative stress.
Side Effects of C0Q10
Overall, taking CoQ10 supplements is considered safe. In fact, it has been used in medical treatments for decades. However, some people may experience certain side effects when taking CoQ10 supplements. They include:
- Light sensitivity
- Loss of appetite
- Upper abdominal pain Before taking CoQ10 supplements, be sure to read the labels.
If you have any health condition, you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, talk to your doctor first to avoid risky outcomes.
In a nutshell, CoQ10 is a useful element that has many health benefits in the body. If your body produces it sufficiently, supplementation is not necessary. People with certain conditions, such as certain cancers, brain diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, and heart disease benefit the most from taking CoQ10 supplements. Multiple clinical trials have been conducted to investigate the effectiveness of this powerful antioxidant and the results are positive. That being said, we can’t stress enough how important speaking to your doctor is before you start taking CoQ10 supplements. While COQ10 may improve your health, we encourage you to maintain a healthy lifestyle by eating plenty of veggies, fruits, and foods, and exercising regularly.
All images by Pixabay