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Coenzyme Q10: Do you need to supplement?

Published: November 04, 2016

Overview

Do you need CoQ10 supplements?
Do you need CoQ10 supplements?
Coenzyme Q10 (Q10) deficiency was first associated with breast and other cancers more than fifty years ago.
Since then Q10 deficiency has been linked to other chronic diseases and research suggests that supplementation with this coenzyme may improve several conditions. Anti-aging agent has been added to Q10 health claims.
Alongside the health benefit claims of Q10 supplementation are claims that suggest some supplements may be worthless. 
Q10 supplements are readily available without prescription and it may seem that using these supplements is similar to taking a daily vitamin and mineral supplement to prevent deficiency.
But are you at risk for Q10 deficiency? What is Q10 and what does it do for you? Is the supplement you are taking effective or necessary?
This overview provides facts about coenzyme Q10 and supplementation. To learn more about this coenzyme link to the full article.
What is coenzyme Q10

  • Coenzyme Q10 also known as ubiquinone, ubidecarenone, CoQ10, Q10 and vitamin Q10: naturally synthesised in your body
  • Synthesised in and present in nearly all cells of your body
  • As you age your requirement for the coenzyme increases while production decreases.

Functions of coenzyme Q10

  • Coenzyme Q10 is a strong oxidation agent with three oxidation states
  • Involved in metabolic processes which convert nutrients from food you consume, glucose, amino acids and fatty acids, to adenosine triphosphate (ATP) the energy molecule

Metabolic processes include:

  • Fatty acid oxidation, citric acid cycle,and electron transport chain ATP production
  • Gluconeogenesis
  • Branched chain amino acid metabolism
  • Pyrimidine nucleotide synthesis: DNA synthesis
  • Antioxidant

Link to the full article to learn more about these important functions.

Dietary Sources of coenzyme Q10

Daily intake estimated at between 3-5mg/day

Coenzyme Q10 deficiency and supplementation
Three primary causes of coenzyme Q10 deficiency
Symptoms of deficiency include:

  • disorders and diseases of the brain mitochondrial malfunction
  • severe infantile multisystemic disease associated with mitochondrial disturbances
  • lesions in the cerebellum of the brain
  • Leigh syndrome with growth retardation
  • isolated muscle weakness heart muscle disease and kidney disease
  • Lipid lowering drugs such as statins, oral glucose lowering drugs, and some antidepressants may also reduce blood and tissue levels of coenzyme Q10.

Coenzyme Q10 supplementation has been effective in treating deficiency in several of these conditions although supplementation may not be fully effective in the treatment of cerebral symptoms.

Supplementation in individuals with normal synthesis of CoQ10 and no deficiency may not lead to greater than normal tissue levels.
Patients diagnosed with breast, lung, prostate, pancreas, kidney, and head and neck cancers, and myeloma and lymphoma may also present with low blood levels of coenzyme Q10. However, some cancer patients have high blood levels of CoQ10.
Coenzyme Q10 supplementation treatment research
Cancer
Heart health

Neurology

Diabetes
Periodontal (gum) disease
Stimulation of the immune system
Other areas of study which need to be further researched include: male fertility and sperm motility, exercise and people with angina, migraine prevention, fibromyalgia and mitochondrial dysfunction, Parkinson’s’ disease and Alzheimer’s’ disease
Coenzyme Q10 supplementation and adverse health effects
Co enzyme Q10 supplementation is not thought to be associated with toxicity, but some side effects have been reported with various levels of supplementation. These include:

Interactions with several drugs have been identified:

  • Lipid lowering drugs and oral glucose medication can reduce effectiveness of Co Q10 supplementation
  • Beta-blockers have been shown to inhibit CoQ10 dependent reactions
  • Supplementation may reduce your body’s response to anticoagulant drugs such as warfarin
  • Supplementation may increase your risk of bleeding
  • Supplementation may accumulate in bile ducts in people with compromised liver function
  • It is not known whether CoQ10 supplements are safe during pregnancy or breast feeding

Coenzyme Q10 supplementation: the costs

Nuts are a good source of CoQ10
Nuts are a good source of CoQ10
Although side effects of CoQ10 supplementation appear to be minimal the potential benefits are not yet fully understood.
Doses of CoQ10 used in studies range between 90-390 mg/day, but there are no clinical trials that identify which dosage should be used for which health benefit.
Coenzyme Q10 supplements are not considered drugs and therefore not subjected to rigorous testing. The various forms of these dietary supplements can vary considerably between manufacturers and between batches.
Ingredients in the product may render the active ingredient inactive or reduce CoQ10 absorption. There is no way of knowing that you are getting what is on the label.
There is also the financial cost of supplementation which if you have normal levels of coenzyme Q10 may not benefit your health.
Before you make a final decision about using coenzyme Q10 supplements consult with your physician or other health care provider that knows your health history and medications. Link to the full article to learn more.

Related Topics

Health  Metabolism  Nutrients  Your Body 

References

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Horton et al. (2002). Principles of Biochemistry (3rd Ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ. Prentice Hall
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National Cancer Institute
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University of Maryland
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Laufs et al. Treatment Options for Statin-Associated Muscle Symptoms 2015
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Garrido-Maraver el. Coenzyme Q 10 Therapy Mol Syndromol 2014;5:187–197
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Mortensen et al. The Effect of Coenzyme Q10 on Morbidity and Mortality in Chronic Heart Failure. JA C C 2(6) 2014
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Molyneux et al. Coenzyme Q10; an independent predictor of mortality in chronic heart failure J A C C 52(18) 2008
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Lo et al. 2015 Coenzyme q 10 and spinocerebellar ataxias Movement disorders, 30(2)
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Cahill et al. Coenzyme q10 J Prim Health care2013. 5(2) 164