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Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a vitamin like substance, produced in the body that is important to health. Found in all cells, CoQ10 is needed for energy production. It is a cofactor in predominant energy pathways—the Krebs cycle and electron transport. And as an antioxidant it fights oxidative damaging chemicals involved in the aging and disease process. Although CoQ10 is found in meat, sardines, brown rice, grains, nuts and some vegetables, it is not enough to meet human health needs. We need to either produce enough CoQ10 in our body or supplement to have adequate health.

Muscles and metabolically active organs, particularly the heart, pancreas, kidney, and liver have the highest concentration of CoQ10 which declines with age. Deficiencies can lead to fatigue, health decline, and a decrease in organ function. Deficiencies may occur on Statin drugs because the production of CoQ10 and cholesterol share the same metabolic pathway that is blocked by the drug. Muscle disease in Statin therapy has been shown to improve with CoQ10 supplementation. Studies also suggest lower tissue levels in heart disease and cancer. There are lab tests available to assess for deficiencies.

Use as a supplement

CoQ 10 is currently the subject of much investigation. A recent meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials found significant evidence of increased heart function in congestive heart disease subjects after supplementation. Although the evidence is not conclusive some research has shown it may be helpful for Fibromyalgia, periodontal disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, muscle toxicity, Parkinson’s disease, High Blood Pressure, diabetes, and in preventing “statin”-induced myopathy. In athletes or endurance exercisers constant energy production is needed. CoQ10 is involved in the energy production in the mitochondria of cells and thought to become depleted with prolonged exercise. Some investigations, but not all, have found CoQ10 supplements can boost exercise performance.

Safety and Precautions:

Coenzyme Q10 appears to be generally safe with no major side effects, except occasional stomach upset. The observed safety level is 1200/mg day in adults.

However, studies have not been done to determine if CoQ10 supplements are safe during pregnancy and breastfeeding. In addition, CoQ10 may interact with certain medications and may lower blood sugar, so people on medications or with diabetes should talk with their health care provider before taking it to avoid any risk.

Martelli A, Testai L, Colletti A, Cicero AFG. Coenzyme Q10: Clinical Applications in Cardiovascular Diseases. Antioxidants. 2020; 9(4):341.

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