Co-Enzyme 10- Should I Be On It?

Coenzyme Q 10 is a popular and heavily marketed supplement, primarily directed towards prevention of heart disease. Manufacturers claim to have the “best” formulations and try to back it up by statements of recommendations from medical specialists. So what is CoQ 10? It is a coenzyme and an antioxidant and is present in essentially every cell to help with metabolism and energy production. It is in high concentration in the heart muscle and liver.

If you're healthy and do not take any medications which would deplete the storages, for example statins for cholesterol management, or antidepressants, the likelihood of deficiency is small. CoQ10 is also available in small quantities in food like meat, fish, and grains.

There is an abundance of research studies, however, they are usually small studies and are often inconclusive, primarily because they are under powered. In other words, there are not enough participants in those studies to arrive at a statistically significant benefit, the only accepted evidence by a rigorous scientific community.

CoQ10, since it is not proprietary and therefore not able to be patented, it cannot be a blockbuster for the pharmaceutical industry to pour money into clinical studies.

Nonetheless, there is a very significant body of evidence that it will could be beneficial as an adjunctive therapy in hypertension, congestive heart failure, and in the treatment of hypercholesterolemia alongside statin drugs. Such patients can have lower levels of CoQ10, which is thought to be associated with the muscle aches and weakness patients often complain of. Studies have examined potential benefits in neurological diseases, like migraines or Parkinson's disease, as well. In those circumstance, however, CoQ10 has been administered under supervised conditions in very high doses.

So... if you are healthy and on a good balanced, fiber rich diet, you will probably not derive much benefit from prophylactic use of CoQ10 supplement. If you have any of the conditions discussed above (hypertension, congestive heart failure, are on statin therapy and suffer from muscle aches and weakness), it may be worth a try - and you may derive a noticeable benefit of feeling better, being able to do more, being more active, and get closer to your blood pressure target.

Look for legitimate manufacturers, who have an USP seal (United States Pharmacopeia), since supplements, including CoQ10, are not subject to FDA regulations.

There is no fixed recommended dose per day, but 50 − 200 mg is typical. It comes in tablets or gel capsules, which seems to have better absorption and availability of ubiquinole, the active substance to the cells.

At this dosage, it is usually well-tolerated, but can lead to nausea and upset stomach. Nonetheless, supplements do have a regulatory effects on the body’s metabolism, and just like FDA regulated drugs, can interfere with other concomitant medications. It can lower blood pressure and blood sugar, which may be a desired effect, however, caution is advised when initiating CoQ10 treatment, as it can lead to low blood pressure, dizziness and fainting, or low blood sugar. Lastly, patients taking warfarin (or Coumadin) can have diminished effectiveness of their blood thinner and closer monitoring by a healthcare provider is advisable. It is, at this point, not recommended during pregnancy, breast feeding, and in children, as there is inadequate data available.

In summary, if you're healthy and on a good balance diet with fish, vegetables and whole grains, and not in your silver years yet, skip CoQ10 supplement. Otherwise it may be worth a shot.

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