Sales of CoQ10 supplements are expected to exceed one billion bucks by 2028. But is this cardiovascular-health and brain-function supplement necessary? Can you get enough of this potent antioxidant from food?
Are you CoQ10-curious? Perhaps you’ve heard about it but aren’t quite exactly sure what it is, what a CoQ10 supplement is supposed to do and if it’s even necessary to take one. Let’s find out...
If you’re grateful for being alive and having the energy to do the things you love doing, you have CoQ10 to thank. Found in every cell of your body, CoQ10 is like rocket fuel for cellular energy production.
Unfortunately, one cruel aspect of the aging process is that our levels of CoQ10 peak by the early 20s. And by the time you reach 80, your CoQ10 levels will plummet by nearly 70%. But before you run off to purchase a CoQ10 supplement, perhaps you should get to know it more.
What is CoQ10?
Coenzyme Q10 is sort of like an antioxidant vitamin such as vitamin C. Found in every cell in the body, CoQ10 engineers approximately 95% of cellular energy. (How CoQ10 engineers cellular energy is the subject of a university biochemistry lecture that may bore you to death, so we’ll skip this part).
CoQ10 was discovered in 1957 at Purdue University, and the subject of a Nobel Prize for Chemistry four years later.
So we’ve known for six decades that CoQ10 produces energy. But why take a CoQ10 supplement when you can just drink a couple cups of coffee to get you through the day?
Well, coffee doesn’t produce energy at the cellular level. And one reason that many people feel less energetic in old age can be explained by declining levels of CoQ10 in the cells.
What Does CoQ10 Do?
Supplement sellers market CoQ10 for cardiovascular health, cognitive function and mitochondrial support. The mitochondria are the energy factories of the cell.
Research studies show that CoQ10 can do the following:
Alleviates tissue damage in muscles from strenuous exercise.
Relieving mild fatigue.
Scavenges free radicals that may cause disease.
Improve insulin sensitivity.
- Improve congestive heart failure.
Do these benefits make purchasing a CoQ10 supplement a smart choice for the health-conscious consumer? For starters, if you’re considering purchasing CoQ10, get one with ubiquinol. Ubiquinol is the active form of CoQ10. If you see a CoQ10 product with ubiquinone, pass on it, because that’s the inactive form that won’t produce cellular energy.
Can You Get CoQ10 From Food?
If CoQ10 exists in every human cell, is it also in animals or plants? And if so, when we eat those foods from plants and animals, do we absorb any CoQ10 from those external sources?
Yes, certain foods do contain CoQ10. But how much of it you will absorb is up for debate. And even if you do absorb 100% of the CoQ10 from food, the question remains will it be enough to resupply your own cells?
If you want to eat a high CoQ10 diet, load up on spinach and broccoli. These are among the highest plant-based sources of the antioxidant. Unfortunately, the oils highest in CoQ10—soybean and canola oil—may pose a risk to heart health, the very thing that CoQ10 is supposed to benefit. (Vegetable oils easily go rancid and may harden the arteries.)
The foods highest in CoQ10 are animal organs. So unless you’re eating plenty of hearts or livers, you probably may want to pop that bottle of CoQ10 capsules.
Who Should Take CoQ10?
Health experts recommend it for those with cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, migraine headaches and certain neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s Disease.
Some people also have a genetic predisposition that makes it difficult for the body to transform CoQ10 into its more active form, ubiquinol. Also, people who take cholesterol-lowering statins are encouraged to supplement with CoQ10. Statin drugs and beta blockers reduce CoQ10 plasma levels.
Considering that CoQ10 supplements are considered very safe—the exception: those who take blood-thinning medication should consult with their doctor—virtually everybody may benefit from taking it.
From protecting the heart and circulatory system to managing diabetes and alleviating migraines, CoQ10 may be one supplement that you should be taking—especially if you’re in your 50s or older.
How much CoQ10 should I take?
If you’re in your 50s, health experts recommend taking 100mg. Add 100mg for every decade thereafter.
Do you take CoQ10? Do you think it helps? We’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment below.