CoQ10: vital for health
Coenzyme Q10, or CoQ10, as it is commonly known, is a vitamin-like substance which is found naturally in every cell of the body. CoQ10 is manufactured by our bodies and is used to produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP) which is the body’s major form of stored energy. An adequate supply of ATP is needed for all cellular functions.
CoQ10 comes in two forms – ubiquinone and ubiquinol. Ubiquinone is the completely oxidized form of CoQ10 which is metabolized within our bodies where it becomes ubiquinol, the antioxidant form of CoQ10. Ubiquinol is a powerful antioxidant which scavenges free radicals, helping to protect proteins, low-density lipoprotein (LDL, a cholesterol transporter) and DNA from oxidative damage.
When we are young our bodies are able to produce as much coQ10 as we need, but various factors such as ageing and stress can lower our levels of CoQ10. As a result, the ability of our cells to regenerate and withstand stress begins to decline.
A coQ10 deficiency can mean that the body’s cells may not have enough energy to function properly and may also mean that the body will become more vulnerable to free radical damage which could lead to disease.
CoQ10 is often recommended to counteract the muscle aches and weakness associated with cholesterol-lowering statin drugs. It is thought that such drugs can lead to a depletion of coQ10 levels, resulting in these symptoms.1
Numerous studies have demonstrated the beneficial effects of supplementing with coQ10, most of which come from its role in oxygen utilisation and energy production, particularly in heart muscle cells. Let’s take a look at some conditions that it can benefit.
Patients with heart failure have lower levels of coQ10 in their heart muscles and as the severity of the condition worsens, so does the coQ10 deficiency. However, new research has shown that coQ10 can reduce the risk of death from heart failure by 50 per cent. Danish researchers carried out a study of 420 people with severe heart failure, assigning the participants a coQ10 supplement or a placebo, and monitored them for two years. Their findings were that coQ10 reduced the risk of a major adverse cardiovascular event by approximately 50 per cent, leading the researchers to state that coQ10 should be added to standard treatment for heart failure.2
TYPE 2 DIABETES
Evidence suggests that coQ10 can benefit people with type 2 diabetes. Australian researchers carried out a 12-week study on 74 people with type 2 diabetes, either assigning them a twice daily dose of 100mg of coQ10, a 200mg daily dose of a lipid-regulating drug or neither. Their findings showed that supplementation with coQ10 significantly improved blood pressure and glycaemic control.3
Furthermore, preliminary studies suggest that coQ10 may help neuropathy, or nerve damage, which is the most common cause of injury and death in people with diabetes. Researchers from the University of Miami found that supplementation with CoQ10 was able to decrease neuropathy-induced pain in diabetic mice.4
HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE
Several clinical studies have suggested that coQ10 may help to lower blood pressure. One study involved 109 patients with symptomatic essential hypertension who were given coQ10 supplementation. The researchers noted “a definite and gradual improvement in functional status” and were able to gradually decrease antihypertensive drug therapy within the first one to six months. Afterwards, “clinical status and cardiovascular drug requirements stabilised with a significantly improved systolic and diastolic blood pressure.”5
Additionally, a review of 12 clinical trials concluded that “coenzyme Q10 has the potential in hypertensive patients to lower systolic blood pressure by up to 17 mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure by up to 10 mm Hg without significant side effects.”6
A number of studies have demonstrated that coQ10 can have beneficial effects on Parkinson’s disease, particularly with regard to its neuroprotective effects in patients with early and midstage Parkinson’s. One clinical trial involved 80 subjects with the condition who were randomly assigned a placebo or coQ10 at dosages of 300, 600 or 1,200 mg/d. The subjects taking the coQ10 developed less disability compared to those taking the placebo, and the researchers concluded that coQ10 “appears to slow the progressive deterioration of function in Parkinson’s disease.”7
A review of four clinical trials concluded that supplementation with coQ10 at 1,200 mg/d for 16 months was “well tolerated” by patients with the condition and that the improvements in activities of daily living and the Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS) were “positive”.8
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1. Parker BA,Gregory SM,Lorson L,Polk D,White CM,Thompson PD. A randomized trial of coenzyme Q10 in patients with statin myopathy: rationale and study design. (2013) J Clin Lipidol. 7(3):187-93.
2. First Drug to Significantly Improve Heart Failure Mortality in Over a Decade. www.sciencedaily.com
3. Hodgson JM, Watts GF, Playford DA, Burke V and Croft KD. Coenzyme Q10 improves blood pressure and glycaemic control: a controlled trial in subjects with type 2 diabetes. 2002. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 56, 1137–1142.
4. Treat your diabetes naturally with CoQ10. www.naturalnews.com
5. Langsjoen P,Langsjoen P,Willis R,Folkers K. (1994) Treatment of essential hypertension withcoenzyme Q10. Mol Aspects Med. 15 Suppl:S265-72.
6. Rosenfeldt FL, Haas SJ, Krum H, Hadj A, Ng K, Leong JY, Watts GF. (2007) Co-enzyme Q10 in the treatment of hypertension: a meta-analysis of the clinical trials.J Hum Hypertens.21(4):297-306.
7. Shults CW,Oakes D,Kieburtz K,Beal MF,Haas R,Plumb S,Juncos JL,Nutt J,Shoulson I,Carter J,Kompoliti K,Perlmutter JS,Reich S,Stern M,Watts RL,Kurlan R,Molho E,Harrison M,Lew M;Parkinson Study Group. (2002) Effects of coenzyme Q10 in early Parkinson disease: evidence of slowing of the functional decline. Arch Neurol.59(10):1541-50.
8. Liu J,Wang L,Zhan SY,Xia Y. (2011) Coenzyme Q10for Parkinson’s disease. Cochrane Database Syst Rev.Dec 7;(12)