An Overview of CoQ10 & Its Health Benefits
What Is CoQ10?
Health Benefits of CoQ10
Antioxidants & Free Radicals
CoQ10 is an antioxidant, meaning that it fights free radicals in our bodies. But what exactly does this mean? Free radicals are unstable atoms that are byproducts of normal cell processes, such as energy production. Free radicals build up when eating certain foods such as refined sugar, simple carbohydrates, processed meats, red meat, alcohol, and heating certain cooking oils. In addition, exposure to X-rays, smoking, chemicals/toxins, air pollutants, and some drugs may also increase the level of free radicals.
The more free radicals we have floating around our bodies, the more our cells are damaged. Free radicals damage our mitochondria, alter lipids and proteins, and even cause mutations in our DNA. These mutations can trigger severe health issues such as atherosclerosis, arthritis, heart disease, stroke, asthma, diabetes, dementia, and even cancer.
Antioxidants are so crucial to our health and longevity. They neutralize free radicals, preventing them from causing damage and disease. Antioxidants include the well-known vitamins C and E and several phytonutrients like flavonoids, phenols, and carotenoids. Glutathione, a sulfur compound composed of three amino acids, is perhaps the most potent antioxidant in our body since it increases the levels of all other antioxidants. Increasing our consumption of antioxidant-rich foods is a primary key to fighting off free radicals and maximizing our health.
Heart failure is often a consequence of other heart conditions, such as coronary artery disease or high blood pressure. These conditions can increase oxidative damage and inflammation of the veins and arteries.
Heart failure occurs when these problems affect the heart because it cannot regularly contract, relax or pump blood through the body.
It is important to note that those with congestive heart failure often have low levels of CoQ10. And this could be from their medications! Heart medications, such as beta-blockers and statins, are known to decrease CoQ10 levels, possibly complicating treatment. CoQ10 could assist with restoring optimal levels of energy production, reduce oxidative damage and improve heart function, all of which can aid the treatment of heart failure.
Recall that CoQ10 helps prevent oxidative damage as well as protect against mitochondrial dysfunction. Eggs and sperm are sensitive to oxidative damage and mitochondrial dysfunction, which affects their quantity and quality. Furthermore, healthy mitochondria are essential to the maturing and fertilizing of eggs and the development of embryos. CoQ10 may increase sperm count and the quality of sperm in men with fertility issues. Similarly, supplementing with CoQ10 can help prevent the decline in the number and quality of eggs as a woman ages. Further research is needed to see whether CoQ10 supplements improve the chances of conceiving.
As mentioned earlier, oxidative stress and free radicals harm our body’s cells and lead to a host of health issues, including diabetes. Being an antioxidant found in nearly every cell in the body, CoQ10 fights off oxidative stress and free radicals. Not only that but CoQ10 is shown to increase insulin sensitivity and balance our blood sugar, thus helping those with type 2 diabetes. People with diabetes who took CoQ10 supplements for 12 weeks had significantly lowered their fasting blood sugar and hemoglobin A1C. It makes CoQ10 a viable complement to help with the treatment of diabetes.
In those with cognitive impairments, such as Parkinson’s disease, increased oxidative stress in a part of the brain called the substantia nigra contributes to symptoms. CoQ10 has been shown to offset decreases in the activity of mitochondrial electron transport chains that affect nerve channels and brain function, and studies show that people with cognitive disorders tend to have reduced levels of CoQ10 in their blood.
When Should You Take CoQ10, Morning or Night?
CoQ10 supplementation can be taken at any most convenient time; it best to take CoQ10 with a meal containing fat since it’s fat-soluble.
There’s some evidence that taking CoQ10 at night may help with the body’s ability to use it, so a good option is taking it with dinner. However, some people report having difficulty falling asleep if they take CoQ10 close to bedtime, which comes down to individual preference.
Should You Take CoQ10 Supplements?
CoQ10 supplementation is generally a good idea. As with any supplement, you should be sure only to use a high-quality product. So you may be asking yourself, shouldn’t everyone take CoQ10? That’s a discussion you need to have with your healthcare provider. Most of the research on CoQ10 is positive. CoQ10 is found to be helpful in those with congestive heart failure, cardiomyopathy, neurologic disorders such as Parkinson’s disease or Huntington’s disease, dysfunctional mitochondria, high blood pressure, migraine headaches, and those who have had a recent heart attack. Research looks promising for other health issues such as diabetes, infertility, and exercise-induced chest pain. Studies continue to evaluate other indications for this supplement. Talk with your healthcare provider and stay tuned to new information as it becomes available to see if this may be a good choice for you!