In recent years, supplements of all sorts have become mainstays in the media. If you have it, want to lose it, can’t eat it, or eat too much of it, there’s a pill for that. With so much saturation it’s no wonder people are overwhelmed and generally dissatisfied with the majority of their supplement purchases. No doubt this is a saturated market, however, there are a few key supplements that should fit like a glove into almost anybody’s regimen, as well as decrease the need for others. With February being Heart Health Month the easy choice for a closer look is the heart loving supplement CoQ10. Yes, the little orange pill that has been a mainstay in cabinets since Geritol and Castor Oil were top of the supplement food chain. An oldie but a goodie, CoQ10 does so much work in our bodies that it would take most of Heart Health Month to cover. That being the case, let’s explore the top reasons why CoQ10 should be a staple in your daily regimen.
What Is CoQ10?
CoQ10 is a molecule that is produced by the body to regulate energy production in the mitochondria as well as scavenge free radicals (or reactive oxygen species-ROS) from body systems. Ubiquinone as it is also referred to or in its bio-active form Ubiquinol, gets its name from the term ubiquitous meaning “everywhere”. This is because CoQ10 is found pretty much everywhere throughout our bodies. The highest concentrations can be found abiding in the same places mitochondria are richest including heart, liver, and muscle cells. Wherever energy usage is highest, the demand for CoQ10 is as well. Being a key role player in what’s known as the electron transport chain (ETC), CoQ10 facilitates the building of ATP (energy). All this action takes place within the “powerhouses” of our cells: the mitochondria. CoQ10 along with other nutrients like vitamin E work together to keep mitochondrial function and thus energy production high. This keeps the mitochondria clean and operating at optimal efficiency.
CoQ10 And Your Heart
CoQ10 is probably best associated with the heart and for good reason. Over the years this coenzyme has been proven to both minimally and significantly influence heart function. Most notably are CoQ10’s effects on cases of congestive heart failure, angina, blood flow, migraines, and mitochondrial function. With the side effects of supplementation being almost nonexistent, this makes the case for CoQ10 to be utilized by anyone wanting to strengthen heart function and perhaps performance. This super molecule also plays a key role in regulating inflammatory response which is potentially the main reason it has such an impact on heart function. Due to the fact that most disease types are triggered or highly influenced by inflammation, especially diseases of the arteries, CoQ10 may help mitigate the body’s response to these conditions. Even athletes who purposefully invoke damage to muscle tissue in order to increase performance/strength can find benefits with CoQ10 supplementation. Helping to speed the recovery process after extensive damage or over-training has been done. As a side note, athletes may also notice an uptick in performance due to increased mitochondrial function facilitating a host of benefits like increased oxygen availability, energy production, and less fatigue.
These few clinically proven benefits are only a few of the many reasons why the number of Americans supplementing with CoQ10 has risen from 2 million to 24 million since the year 2000. CoQ10 has become the third most popular supplement in the U.S. behind vitamin D and fish oil. While almost any dose of CoQ10 has proven to be effective for multiple conditions, finding a quality and effective form/brand of the supplement can prove to be a bit more difficult.
What To Look For When Purchasing CoQ10
To this end, I like to recommend brands like Solgar which uses a patented form of CoQ10 and Ubiquinol called Kaneka Q (2). This form has multiple clinical trials backing up its efficacy on previously mentioned conditions as well as offering up a good absorption rate. With most CoQ10 supplements only having in the neighborhood of a 12% absorption rate due to it being a fat-soluble as well as difficult to absorb nutrient, higher efficiency forms are paramount for achieving optimal effect. Solgar’s CoQ10 and Ubiquinol formulas both utilize the Kanecka form which offers upwards of a 30% increase in blood levels. Solgar has been producing top-quality, science-based supplements since 1947 and is one of the most trusted supplement brands in the industry.
A Multi-Faceted Supplement
CoQ10 is not limited to just heart health. Even though the jury is decidedly out on CoQ10’s statin-related myopathy reducing effects (though generally leaning in favor even if it’s just slightly) in most clinical studies, the overwhelming majority of anecdotal data gives credit to its effects. Therefore, we must talk about CoQ10’s ability to reduce the all too familiar side effects of these statin drugs. 28% of Americans and 1 in 4 over the age of 40 are on a statin drug, and the majority of them suffer from at least one of the multiple side effects caused by this class of pharmaceutical. Many of us have at least one, if not multiple, family members who suffer from the common side effects like leg and arm cramps as well as losses of energy and strength. Though an argument on the efficacy of statin drugs themselves for preventing heart attacks and clogs by reducing cholesterol could very well encompass its own article, for the sake of time let’s assume the statin is needed and doing its prescribed duty. This leads me and many others in the field of supplementation to recommend, without fail, the accompaniment of a CoQ10 or Ubiquinol (the active form of CoQ10 stored in cells) supplement in doses of anywhere from 100-500mg/day. Supplementing at these dosages have been proven to reduce the side effects (4) and most likely help to increase the patient’s likelihood of compliance with the drug regimen. Even many doctors have gotten on board and have begun prescribing CoQ10 supplementation as an adjunct to statin prescription. The importance of acceptance by medical doctors adding any supplement, but especially one with as many far-reaching benefits as CoQ10, cannot be overstated.
Nowadays there is a never-ending battle to figure out how to positively influence the unstoppable effects of aging. Though we can’t stop aging (yet), there are for sure many proven methods of mitigation through exercise, diet, and supplementation that facilitate the reduction of damaging external and internal variables associated with growing older. Without healthy amounts of CoQ10 circulating through the body and being stored in our cells, however, we cannot age gracefully. This is important regarding our hearts because the main indicator of aging at a cellular level is the mitochondria. As mentioned before, our heart cells are one of the predominant housers of these longevity adding supercells. We actually would and do age dramatically faster when this powerhouse nutrient is deficient. This is because of the age-associated decline of mitochondria due predominantly to high amounts of damaging ROS, which if you will recall is a direct indication of low levels of CoQ10. So next time you’re looking for a good anti-aging formula be sure to check for its inclusion of CoQ10! One could also simply add the pure supplement into the daily routine since it is highly efficient and cost-effective on its own.
So whether you’re looking for a boost in heart function, energy, a reduction in drug-induced side effects, anti-aging help, or just looking to be a little less inflamed, CoQ10 should be a staple in your daily regimen.
1.) Qu, Hua et al. “The effect of statin treatment on circulating coenzyme Q10 concentrations: an updated meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials”European journal of medical research vol. 23,1 57. 10 Nov. 2018, doi:10.1186/s40001-018-0353-6
5.) A Water Soluble CoQ10 Formulation Improves Intracellular Distribution and Promotes Mitochondrial Respiration in Cultured Cells
Christian Bergamini, Noah Moruzzi, Antonella Sblendido, Giorgio Lenaz, Romana Fato
Published: March 14, 2012https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0033712
6.) J Cosmet Dermatol. 2006 Mar;5(1):30-8.
Anti-inflammatory effects of CoQ10 and colorless carotenoids.
Fuller B1, Smith D, Howerton A, Kern D.
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Univeristy of Oklahoma Health Science Center, Oklahoma City, OK 73104, USA. firstname.lastname@example.org
7.) van der Bliek, Alexander M et al. “Cell Biology of the Mitochondrion” Genetics vol. 207,3 (2017): 843-871.