Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a substance produced by the body. The cells in the body use this substance to perform their basic functions such as producing the energy that the body needs in order to sustain growth, maintenance and other activities. It is also serves as an antioxidant, which helps in neutralizing free radicals that damage the cells, often resulting to premature aging and other illnesses.
Since the body naturally produces CoQ10, it may theoretically be believed that there is no need to fill your diets with foods that contain this substance or use those CoQ10 supplements sold in drugstores and online stores. The truth is several factors can affect the body’s ability to produce this substance. One of these factors is aging. It is known that the levels of CoQ10 in the body decrease with age.
Another reason is the presence of diseases that affect normal body functions. For example, those who are suffering from genetic disorders, heart problems, cancer and HIV have lower levels of CoQ10. Certain medications can also lower the level of Coenzyme Q10 in the body. This is why it is necessary to supplement through your diet or through pills.
Coenzyme Q10 Benefits
It was found in the 1960s that some cancer patients, particularly those suffering from lung cancer, colon cancer, breast cancer, and prostate cancer, have low levels of CoQ10 in their blood. A study was then made using CoQ10 as a secondary treatment for cancer and surprisingly it did improve the conditions of the participants in the study group. It is said that it can be partly because it helps boost the immune system. Although it is not a primary drug of choice in treating cancer now, it is added to the regimen to increase the chance of success.
Reduced Death Rate after Cardiac Arrest
CoQ10 was also tested and proven effective in the treatment of patients who have suffered a cardiac arrest. The normal treatment given to such patients is mild hypothermia, where the body’s temperature is reduced with the use of a cooling mattress. Although this has helped some patients, researchers have found that adding CoQ10 to the treatment procedure significantly reduced the death rate. It also lessened the neurological damage caused by a cardiac arrest.
Coenzyme Q10 and Cholesterol
Cholesterol is essential to the body, but too much of it is bad because it can lead to heart disease. A factor that makes that happen is the substance known as LDL or low-density lipoprotein. LDL carries the cholesterol throughout the body, which increases the risk of depositing it in the arteries. CoQ10 protects the LDL cholesterol from oxidizing, thus preventing heart problems. It also lowers blood pressure. This is why CoQ10 is a popular supplement in keeping your heart healthy. It is also an effective treatment for hypertension.
One known cause of migraine is the dysfunction of the mitochondria, which results to reduced oxygen metabolism. CoQ10 can re-energize the mitochondria and a trial was made to some patients who frequently suffer from migraine to prove its effect. The result of the study showed that from 8 migraine attacks per month, it dropped to 3 – 4 on the people who took CoQ10.
Impaired function of the mitochondria is also blamed for most degenerative brain diseases, like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. In a study done on sufferers of Parkinson’s, it was found that taking CoQ10 supplements helped reduce the decline of mental functions, showing its promising use as a treatment, although at the moment using Coenzyme Q10 as a supplement is believed to protect the brain from these diseases.
In addition to the above, it also boosts the immune system and improves fertility. Promising use of it in the treatment of eye diseases, chronic fatigue, and asthma are also currently investigated.
Coenzyme Q10 Side Effects
Since the body produces Coenzyme Q10, taking supplements of it is generally safe. There are recorded side effects, but these are very mild and only happened to some of the users. These side effects include diarrhea, nausea, abdominal pain, upset stomach, insomnia, and loss in appetite. Allergic reactions can occur to people who are allergic to it, so stop the use if you suffer from severe rashes and difficulty in breathing. Coenzyme Q10 may also interact with other medications, thus reducing their effectiveness.
As a rule of thumb, consult with your doctor first especially if you are taking a maintenance drug or receiving treatment from a particular disease. This is true with any kind of dietary supplement. Your doctor can clear you to take Coenzyme Q10 supplements and avoid any unwanted side effects. Furthermore, women who are breastfeeding or are pregnant have to consult with their doctors first.
Coenzyme Q10 Recommended Dosage
The proper dosage of Coenzyme Q10 depends on the purpose for taking it. In general, manufacturers recommend that you take 150mg daily to treat Coenzyme Q10 deficiency. For high blood pressure, 60 to 100mg taken twice a day is the recommended dosage. For people with HIV, it is 200 mg a day. For those suffering from a heart problem, a daily dose of 100 mg divided in two or three doses is recommended.
For mitochondrial dysfunctions, your doctor would advise you to start with 150 mg a day, but he can increase that when necessary. For people who want to increase their fertility, take 200 to 300 mg a day. The list goes on and on, which is why it is best to consult a doctor for proper dosage recommendation as your age, weight and condition are all factored in.
In summary, the immense health benefits of Coenzyme Q10 cannot be denied. If you are suffering from any of the ailments stated above or if you regularly encounter problems with your health, have yourself tested because you may have low levels of CoQ10 in your body and that can be causing it. Just by taking this simple and safe supplement, you can make your body better and support it as it does its basic functions.