Oct 1, 2021, Insider.com
CoQ10 may benefit people with diabetes since it has the potential to reduce blood sugar levels.
There is a correlation between cardiac issues and low CoQ10, so taking it may help your heart.
CoQ10 supplementation may also help prevent migraines or reduce how frequently you get them.
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Coenzyme Q10, often referred to as CoQ10, is a naturally occurring antioxidant that your body produces in order to help your cells generate energy. This, in turn, powers your immune system, brain, heart, digestion, and muscles.
There is some correlation between aging and decreased levels of CoQ10. In addition, some conditions like heart disease also seem to be linked to lower concentrations of CoQ10. That's where a CoQ10 supplement may help.
Though research is still inconclusive, there is evidence that taking CoQ10 as a supplement may offer help heart health, diabetes, physical performance, and more.
1. May enhance physical performance
Physical performance relies on steady energy production from the mitochondria – the "powerhouse" of every cell in your body.
A 2015 review of 28 studies found that CoQ10 can in fact have a beneficial effect on physical performance, particularly if it's consumed in its reduced form, ubiquinol, and if consumed at doses of at least 300 milligrams daily for at least two to three months.
Additionally, the review found ubiquinol to be more useful for acute exercise performance, such as with sprinting or weightlifting, opposed to more long-term endurance. Both CoQ10 and ubiquinol supplements are widely available at vitamin and supplement stores as well as online.
2. May prevent migraines
This is because it's been shown to reduce levels of calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP), which is a peptide in the brain that's associated with pain, says Lam.
A 2018 meta-analysis of five studies found that CoQ10 was more effective than a placebo at reducing the number of migraines per month.
3. May help heart conditions
There are correlations between cardiac disease and deficiencies of CoQ10, says Lam.
But research has found promising evidence that supplementing with CoQ10 may help prevent chronic and acute conditions of the heart.
A 2014 study followed patients with chronic heart failure over the course of two years, and found that patients given daily CoQ10 rather than a placebo were less likely to end up in the hospital for heart failure or die.
Additionally, a 2018 review of human and animal studies found that CoQ10 may be beneficial as a supplemental treatment for various cardiovascular diseases. These benefits may be due to the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of CoQ10.
4. May reduce side effects of cholesterol medicine
A small 2007 study found that pain severity decreased by 40% in people who had statin-induced muscle pain who took CoQ10 daily for 30 days.
But other studies have found mixed results, so you should talk to your doctor before taking coQ10 for statin side effects.
5. May help improve diabetes
CoQ10 may reduce blood sugar levels and improve insulin secretion in people with diabetes, Menolascino says.
Diabetes causes your cells to be less efficient when taking in glucose to produce energy –– but this inefficiency may be improved by using CoQ10 to support your cells, says Menolascino.
Additionally, small scale research has found that CoQ10 levels are lower in people with diabetes, compared to control groups, so supplementation may be particularly beneficial in these cases.
How to take CoQ10
Menolascino says CoQ10 is found in certain foods like
But the amount of CoQ10 in these foods isn't enough to boost the CoQ10 levels in your system—so you may need to take a supplement.
CoQ10 supplements are also available in different forms such as capsules, wafers, syrups, and IVs, says Menolascino.
As for dosage, Lam says you should double-check with your doctor to see what dose is best for you.
A typical daily dose can range from 100 milligrams to 200 milligrams, which is about what one capsule contains, says Lam. But "others with heart disease or mitochondrial dysfunction could increase their dose to a maximum of 1,200 milligrams a day," says Lam.
Coq10 supplements are generally well-tolerated, but consult your doctor if you're interested in taking more than 100-200 milligrams.
If you have certain health conditions like diabetes or heart failure, CoQ10 supplements may improve your condition. But you should continue all your prescribed medications.
While there is promising research, further larger-scale studies need to be conducted so researchers have a more complete understanding about CoQ10 for health.
In the meantime, it is considered generally safe to take and may make a positive difference for your health. Talk to your doctor to see if CoQ10 may be right for you.