Coenzyme Q10 is a naturally-occuring compound found in every cell in the body. Coenzyme Q10’s alternate name, ubiquinone, comes from the word ubiquitous, which means “found everywhere.”
CoQ10 plays a key role in producing energy in the mitochondria, the part of a cell responsible for the production of energy in the form of ATP.
Why Is It Used?
Benefits of Coenzyme Q10
People with heart failure have been found to have lower levels of CoQ10 in heart muscle cells. Double-blind research suggests that CoQ10 may reduce symptoms related to heart failure, such as shortness of breath, difficulty sleeping, and swelling. CoQ10 is thought to increase energy production in the heart muscle, increasing the strength of the pumping action. Recent human studies, however, haven’t supported this.
In one study, 641 people with congestive heart failure were randomized to receive either CoQ10 (2 mg per kg body weight) or a placebo plus standard treatment. People who took the CoQ10 had a significant reduction in symptom severity and fewer hospitalizations.
In another study, 32 patients with end-stage heart failure awaiting heart transplantation received either 60 mg of CoQ10 or a placebo for 3 months. Patients who took the CoQ10 experienced a significant improvement in functional status, clinical symptoms, and quality of life, however there were no changes in echocardiogram (heart ultrasound) or in objective markers.
A study randomized 55 patients with congestive heart failure to receive either 200 mg per day of CoQ10 or a placebo in addition to standard treatment. Although serum levels of CoQ10 increased in patients receiving CoQ10, CoQ10 didn’t affect ejection fraction, peak oxygen consumption, or exercise duration.
A longer-term study investigated the use of 100 mg of CoQ10 or a placebo in addition to standard treatment in 79 patients with stable chronic congestive heart failure. The results indicated that CoQ10 only slightly improved maximal exercise capacity and quality of life compared with the placebo.
Several small trials have found CoQ10 may be helpful for certain types of cardiomyopathy.
3) Parkinson’s disease
Lower levels of CoQ10 have also been observed in people with Parkinson’s disease. Preliminary research has found that increasing CoQ10 may increase levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine, which is thought to be lowered in people with Parkinson’s disease. It has also been suggested that CoQ10 might protect brain cells from damage by free radicals.
A small, randomized controlled trial examined the use of 360 mg CoQ10 or a placebo in 28 treated and stable Parkinson’s disease patients. After 4 weeks, CoQ10 provided a mild but significant significant mild improvement in early Parkinson’s symptoms and significantly improved performance in visual function.
A larger 16 month trial funded by the National Institutes of Health explored the use of CoQ10 (300, 600 or 1200 mg/day) or a placebo in 80 patients with early stage Parkinson’s disease. The results suggested that CoQ10, especially at the 1200 mg per day dose, had a significant reduction in disability compared to those who took a placebo.
4) CoQ10 and Statin Drugs
Some research suggests that statin drugs, or HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors, a class of drugs used to lower cholesterol, may interfere with the body’s production of CoQ10. However, research on the use of CoQ10 supplements in people taking statins is still inconclusive, and it is not routinely recommended in combination with statin therapy.
In a 12-week randomized controlled trial, 74 people with type 2 diabetes were randomized to receive either 100 mg CoQ10 twice daily, 200 mg per day of fenofibrate (a lipid regulating drug), both or neither for 12 weeks. CoQ10 supplementation significantly improved blood pressure and glycemic control. However, two studies found that CoQ10 supplementation failed to find any effect on glycemic control.
- A small study looked at the topical application of CoQ10 to the periodontal pocket. Ten male periodontitis patients with 30 periodontal pockets were selected. During the first 3 weeks, the patients applied topical CoQ10. There was significant improvement in symptoms.
A typical CoQ10 dosage is 30 to 90 mg per day, taken in divided doses, but the recommended amount can be as high as 200 mg per day.
CoQ10 is fat-soluble, so it is better absorbed when taken with a meal that contains oil or fat.
The clinical effect is not immediate and may take up to eight weeks.
Consult your doctor before trying CoQ10, especially if you have heart disease, kidney failure, or cancer.
Side effects of CoQ10 may include diarrhea and rash.
CoQ10 is used in combination with standard treatment, not to replace it.
CoQ10 may lower blood sugar levels, so people with diabetes should not use CoQ10 unless under a doctor’s supervision. CoQ10 may also lower blood pressure.
The safety of Co q10 in pregnant or nursing women or children has not been established.
Learn about potential CoQ10 drug interactions: http://altmedicine.about.com/od/druginteractions/p/Coq10_Drugs.htm
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Note: I have been taking this as a supplement for about a year now. My blood pressure and heart rate are consistently below normal in an excellent range with an average B.P. of 112/67, Pulse Rate of 70 beats/minute! : ) I have no known heart problems. I started taking the supplement at the advice of a physician.
John E Loeffler – Fountain City, Wisconsin