Does the CoQ10 Supplement Actually Work?

You can't walk past the vitamin aisle without seeing at least half a dozen different CoQ10 supplements. But does CoQ10 actually work, and is it worth taking? Before you grab a bottle and throw it into your shopping cart, consider the following information.

What Is CoQ10?

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a popular supplement, but your body is capable of making it naturally. CoQ10 is a fat-soluble antioxidant that is located inside cells. It's concentrated in your pancreas, liver, heart, and kidneys, but almost all of your cells have some. In addition to your body being able to make coenzyme Q10, it's also available in foods, such as organ meats, broccoli, cauliflower, and sardines. In general, fish, whole grains, and meat have higher levels of CoQ10.

What Does CoQ10 Do?

CoQ10 plays an important part in cell energy and metabolism. Located inside the mitochondria, which is known as the "energy powerhouse" of the cell, coenzyme Q10 is required to produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP) in the body. ATP is a high-energy molecule that is responsible for storing energy. Without ATP, your cells would die. As an antioxidant, CoQ10 can also protect cells from free radical damage.

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Should You Take CoQ10?

As you get older, the amount of coenzyme Q10 decreases in the body. In addition, if you have heart disease or other health problems, your CoQ10 levels may be low. Certain medications, such as statins that lower cholesterol, beta-blockers for blood pressure, and antidepressant medications, can also reduce the amount of CoQ10 in your body. However, taking CoQ10 supplements may be helpful.

Research suggests that this supplement may help several health problems, but some of the findings are inconclusive and require more studies. According to the Mayo Clinic, CoQ10 may benefit people who have heart problems, Parkinson's disease, migraines, and muscle weakness. Other studies have shown that CoQ10 may improve blood flow, increase energy levels, help people exercise more, reduce fibromyalgia symptoms, and increase antioxidant enzyme levels.

How Much CoQ10 Is Safe to Take?

It's important to talk to your doctor before starting any new supplement. Although coenzyme Q10 doesn't have any serious side effects, it can interact with other medications. The most common minor side effects are stomach problems, nausea, headaches, rashes, dizziness, and insomnia. CoQ10 isn't recommended if you're pregnant or breastfeeding because the side effects on a developing baby aren't known.

If you take other medications or supplements, make sure you discuss them with a doctor before starting CoQ10. Coenzyme Q10 can interfere with blood-thinning drugs or anticoagulants such as warfarin. This supplement may also interact with chemotherapy drugs, blood pressure medications, and beta-blockers.

There is no consensus on how much CoQ10 a person needs in supplement form. Manufacturers make this supplement in multiple forms and doses. However, the most common dosage is 100 to 200 mg. Talk to a doctor to find the right amount of CoQ10 for you.

Discuss with a doctor before proceeding

Consider having a blood test to measure how much CoQ10 is in your body naturally, so you can determine if a supplement will help.

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