Co-enzyme Q10

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Co-enzyme Q10 is a vitamin-like substance also known as ‘ubiquinone’ or CoQ10. It is found in all parts of the body however it is found in large concentrations in the heart and the brain. CoQ10 is found in meat, cereals, vegetables, eggs and dairy products. There is no established Recommended Daily Amount (RDA) for CoQ10 however dosage ranges usually consist of 50-150mg per day. Most studies have used a dosage of 100mg per day however for more severe heart conditions up to 300mg may be required. Several studies have based dosage recommendation on weight, for example, 2mg per 2.2 pounds body weight.

What is it needed for?

CoQ10 is a powerful antioxidant. It is an essential component of the mitochondria (the battery powerhouse of each cell) and is involved in the production of ATP (Adenosine triphosphate is energy created at cellular level). The Beneficial effects of CoQ10 relate predominantly to its role in energy production and antioxidant action and for this reason CoQ10 has been shown to be most beneficial in the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease and cancer. 

Deficiency

The body is able to synthesise CoQ10 however deficiency is still possible. A deficiency most often affects the heart and leads to heart failure, this is the heart is one of the most metabolically active tissues in the body. Symptoms may include heart failure, high blood pressure, chest pain, muscle weakness and fatigue.

Evidence

Cardiovascular Health– Data obtained from a clinical cardiology unit over a period of 8 years which evaluated the use of CoQ10 in 424 patients concluded a significant improvement in heart functioning (1). It was also noted from the same data that the number of medications was reduced by those taking the CoQ10 supplements during the same time period (1). Thirty four further controlled trials and several open-label and long-term studies on the clinical effects of CoQ10 in cardiovascular diseases confirms supplemental CoQ10 alters the natural history of cardiovascular illnesses and has the potential for prevention of cardiovascular disease (2). Furthermore as reported in the BMJ Open Heart Journal, 2018 a number of controlled pilot trials with supplemental CoQ10 in heart failure found improvements in heart function (3).  Meta-analysis of 12 clinical trials comprising of three randomized controlled trials, one crossover study and eight open label studies involving 362 patients concluded that coenzyme Q10 has the potential to lower high blood pressure quite significantly in patients with hypertension (4).

Cancer – In patients with cancer, coenzyme Q10 has been shown to protect the heart from chemotherapy medications which have the potential to cause damage to the heart (5), (6), (7) and to stimulate the immune system (8). This research suggests coenzyme Q10 may show indirect anticancer activity through its effect on the immune system however there is evidence to suggest that COQ10 can suppress cancer growth directly. Coenzyme Q10 has been shown to inhibit the reproduction of cancer cells in rats and mice (9), (10).

Energy production– In terms of energy production, to determine whether COQ10 improves anaerobic and/or aerobic exercise performance a randomized double-blind study involving twenty-two aerobically trained and nineteen untrained male and female subjects were undertaken. Randomly the subjects received 100 mg of a dextrose placebo or a fast-melt CoQ10 supplement twice a day for 14-days. The study revealed chronic supplementation of CoQ10 may affect acute and/or chronic responses to various types of exercise (11).

Our take on how CoQ10 supplements may help you;

Releasing Energy– Coenzyme Q10 is found in every living cell and so may provide us with the energy that we need to carry out bodily functions effectively. It may also help to improve the function of the mitochondria (the powerhouses that produce energy in the cells). Most people who take this as a supplement report a boost in their energy levels.

Heart Health and Cholesterol– It may help to maintain healthy heart function and is an ideal supplement for anybody taking a statin drug to control cholesterol, as they may deplete the body’s stores of CoQ10.

Strengthening Gums– Dentists recommend this as a supplement for gum health and it is often added to toothpaste.

CoQ10 works well with…..

  • Omega 3 Fish Oils – EPA and DHA contribute to the normal function of the heart.
  • Multivitamins and minerals – for those individuals needing to improve general wellbeing and boost energy levels
  • Vitamin C – Contributes to the normal function of the nervous system, which may be helpful for those suffering from tiredness and fatigue due to a stressful lifestyle

Safety and side effects

CoQ10 is well tolerated with little or no side effects reported with long term use. There is no established Tolerable Upper Intake level for CoQ10.

References

  1. Langsjoen H, et al., Usefulness of coenzyme Q10 in clinical cardiology: A long term study. Mol Aspects Med 15 (Suppl.), S165-S175, 1994
  2. Langsjoen PH, Langsjoen AM, 1999: Overview of the use of CoQ10 in cardiovascular disease; Biofactors. 1999;9(2-4):273-84. Review
  3. James J DiNicolantonio, Jaikrit Bhutani, Mark F McCarty and James H O’Keefe: Coenzyme Q10 for the treatment of heart failure: a review of the literature; James J DiNicolantonio1
  4. Rosenfeldt FL, Haas SJ, Krum H, Hadj A, Ng K, Leong JY, Watts GF: Coenzyme Q10 in the treatment of hypertension: a meta-analysis of the clinical trials; Rosenfeldt FL, Haas SJ, Krum H, Hadj A, Ng K, Leong JY, Watts GF. J Hum Hypertens. 2007 Apr;21(4):297-306. Epub 2007 Feb 8.PMID: 17287847
  5. Folkers K, Wolaniuk A: Research on coenzyme Q10 in clinical medicine and in immunomodulation. Drugs Exp Clin Res 11 (8): 539-45, 1985.
  6. Cortes EP, Gupta M, Chou C, et al.: Adriamycin cardiotoxicity: early detection by systolic time interval and possible prevention by coenzyme Q10. Cancer Treat Rep 62 (6): 887-91, 1978.
  7. Iarussi D, Auricchio U, Agretto A, et al.: Protective effect of coenzyme Q10 on anthracyclines cardiotoxicity: control study in children with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Mol Aspects Med 15 (Suppl): s207-12, 1994.
  8. Folkers K, Shizukuishi S, Takemura K, et al.: Increase in levels of IgG in serum of patients treated with coenzyme Q10. Res Commun Chem Pathol Pharmacol 38 (2): 335-8, 1982.
  9. Folkers K: The potential of coenzyme Q 10 (NSC-140865) in cancer treatment. Cancer Chemother Rep 2 4 (4): 19-22, 1974.
  10. Folkers K, Porter TH, Bertino JR, et al.: Inhibition of two human tumour cell lines by antimetabolites of coenzyme Q10. Res Commun Chem Pathol Pharmacol 19 (3): 485-90, 1978.
  11. Cooke M, Iosia M, Buford T, Shelmadine B, Hudson G, Kerksick C, Rasmussen C, Greenwood M, Leutholtz B, Willoughby D, Kreider R, 2008: Effects of acute and 14-day coenzyme Q10 supplementation on exercise performance in both trained and untrained individuals; J Int Soc Sports Nutr. Mar 4;5:8. doi: 10.1186/1550-2783-5-8.