There is plenty of buzz around the substance coenzyme Q10, also known as CoQ10, but is it really effective? Let’s examine what it does in your body, if it really works, and if it is worth incorporating this into your diet through supplementation.
CoQ10 is naturally produced in the body. It helps our cells generate energy, and it is also a potent antioxidant. We know that antioxidants are good for us, but we may not know why. Simply put, antioxidants are powerful combatants of free radicals, substances that damage cells and lead to chronic conditions, including cardiovascular and inflammatory disease.
What are CoQ10 health benefits?
CoQ10 may be used to treat a variety of health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, dementia, Parkinson’s disease, and it is used for migraine prevention. Although data is conflicting, this substance may help to prevent a subsequent heart attack, may be combined with traditional medicine to treat heart failure, and may lower blood pressure.
This nutrient may improve exercise performance because it has been proven to reduce oxidative stress, meaning it fights free radicals in the body. This may help increase energy during exercise and decreases fatigue.
Does CoQ10 support a healthy brain?
The main function of Coenzyme Q10 is that it generates energy in our body’s cells, particularly in brain cells. As we age, the energy in brain cells drastically declines and the functioning of those cells is affected. CoQ10 may help repair or reverse the damage. By reducing the number of free radicals, Coenzyme Q10 can protect brain cells from harm.
What does the data say?
One study demonstrated that supplementation increased levels of CoQ10 in brain cells and had neuroprotective effects. This is useful to improve general cognition and may be an effective tool for conditions like Parkinson’s disease or Alzheimer’s disease; however, it is important to note that this study was performed in rats.  In clinical trials with humans, supplementing with CoQ10 did not show a significant improvement in cognition, but more human studies are needed to determine its effectiveness.
Why supplement with Coenzyme Q10?
Although our bodies naturally supply CoQ10, production decreases with age. In fact, levels begin to fall as early as in a person’s twenties, so ensuring your CoQ10 concentrations are sufficient may require intake either in the form of foods or supplements.
Foods high in CoQ10 include fatty fish, like salmon and mackerel, beef, soybeans and vegetables, like broccoli. If a person cannot incorporate these foods in their diet or does not obtain enough of these types of food, supplementation is a great option.
Aside from aging and nutritional deficiencies, other reasons a person may need to take CoQ10 result from genetic defects, mitochondrial disease and oxidative stress.
One huge plus of using Coenzyme Q10 is that side effects are mild and minimal. The few adverse events reported from these supplements were stomach upset, nausea and lowered blood sugar levels.
Best CoQ10 supplements
Finding high-quality supplements for any substance may be frustrating. There is an array of products available on the market and navigating which ones are best may be difficult. Generally, the more information a manufacturer offers, the better. The following are our top three picks for CoQ10.
- Nature Made Ubiquinol CoQ10 – This brand has been around for over 50 years, so its reputation is stellar. It is a trusted brand by both doctors and pharmacists.
- Qunol Ultra CoQ10 100 mg – This supplement is designed so that CoQ10 is absorbed efficiently into the body, and the health benefits are seen quickly. It is highly recommended by cardiologists.
- Bio-Quinone Active CoQ10 Gold – Although it is pricy, the manufacturer of this supplement claims that its efficacy is backed by clinical trials of their propriety blend.
We really like the benefits CoQ10 provides. Data has shown that it may improve cardiovascular health, prevent migraines, and boost exercise performance. Although more human studies are needed to demonstrate its effectiveness for enhanced cognitive function, CoQ10 is a proven antioxidant, which is vital to all of the body’s cells, including the cells in the brain.
It is important to replenish the natural production of CoQ10 we lose as we get older, and because of its safety, supplementation is something we recommend. You should never replace CoQ10 supplementation with traditional medicine. In many cases, Coenzyme Q10 is a great adjunct when used in combination with other medications. Always speak with your doctor before taking any new supplements.