Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a fat-soluble compound that can be synthesised by the human body. It and therefore cannot be
considered a vitamin. It is found in the energy-producing part of our cells - organs with the highest energy requirements, such as the heart and the liver, have the highest Coenzyme Q10 concentrations.
Potential for deficiency
It is generally assumed that in healthy people with a varied diet, the body provides enough Coenzyme Q10. It is known that our bodies production of CoQ10 decreases as we get older. Decreased levels of Coenzyme Q10 have been found in people with diabetes, cancer, and
congestive heart failure, and in people taking statins to lower cholesterol levels.
Health authorities have not yet established specific dietary intake recommendations for coenzyme
Q10, it is a nutrient that still requires more scientific research as its role is complex. Some researcher suggests daily doses of between 100mg and 200mg, however studies show that average daily intake from food falls way below this. Even with very high long term intake at above 1000mg a day, no adverse effects have been reported.
What does Coenzyme Q10 do?
CoQ10 is essential for converting energy from carbohydrates and fats to the form of energy used by the cells.
As an antioxidant, coenzyme Q10 helps to neutralize harmful free radicals, which are one of the causes of
aging. Aging and stress can lower the levels of coenzyme Q10 in the body and as a
result the ability of cells to withstand stress and regenerate declines. The levels of coenzyme Q10 in the body decline with age. In some animal studies, rodents treated with supplemental coenzyme Q10 lived longer than their untreated
People with high cholesterol
tend to have lower levels of coenzyme Q10 compared to healthy individuals of
the same age. Cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins deplete natural levels
of coenzyme Q10 in the body, causing side effects such as a lack of energy and cramps.
Taking coenzyme Q10 supplements has been shown to correct the deficiency.
Periodontal (gum) disease
is a common problem that causes swelling, bleeding, pain, and redness of the
gums. Clinical studies have found that people with gum disease tend to have low levels of coenzyme Q10
in their gums.
In clinical studies coenzyme Q10 supplements caused faster
healing and tissue repair.
Primary sources include oily fish (such as salmon, mackerel and tuna), organ meats (such as liver), and whole grains. As coenzyme Q10 is fat-soluble, it should be taken with a meal containing fat for optimal absorption.
A healthy balanced diet is the best way to consume all the nutrients we need. Sometimes however this isn't possible and then supplements can help. This article isn't intended to replace medical advice. Please consult your healthcare professional before trying any supplements or herbal medicines.