CoQ10 (Coenzyme Q10): Benefits, evidence, sources, and risks
Coenzyme Q10 is an essential chemical that the body produces naturally. A deficiency of this chemical can have adverse effects, and coenzyme Q10 supplements may offer health benefits.
In this article, we discuss the health benefits and risks of taking coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) supplements.
What to know about CoQ10
CoQ10 is a naturally produced chemical that is available as a supplement.
CoQ10 is an antioxidant that the body produces naturally and stores in components of the cell called mitochondria. It has associations with energy, protecting cells, and providing heart benefits.
CoQ10 plays a few critical roles in the body. For example, the body’s cells need this compound to produce the energy that allows them to function.
As an antioxidant, CoQ10 also protects the cells in the body by neutralizing free radicals, which reduces oxidative stress in the body. Oxidative stress can cause tissue damage, inflammation, and cellular apoptosis, or cell death. There are links between oxidative stress and a range of disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.
Naturally occurring levels of CoQ10 decrease with age. Scientists have identified associations between CoQ10 deficiency and heart disease and cancer.
There is currently not enough evidence to support using CoQ10 to either prevent or treat cancer or Parkinson’s disease. However, it might help treat certain heart conditions and prevent migraines.
Researchers have also looked at the effects of CoQ10 on a variety of other conditions, but the results are inconclusive. These conditions include ALS, Down syndrome, Huntington’s disease, and male infertility.
Health benefits of CoQ10
CoQ10 has many varied uses. We discuss its possible benefits below.
Improving heart health
CoQ10 might help treat specific heart conditions, such as congestive heart failure and high blood pressure, particularly among older individuals.
Research on the effectiveness of CoQ10 for heart problems has provided mixed results. However, one study reported that CoQ10 was an important factor in the survival of older adults with chronic heart failure.
Other research showed that CoQ10 might help people recover from some types of heart surgery.
According to both the American Academy of Neurology and the American Headache Society, CoQ10 may be effective in preventing migraines, although the research to support this is still limited. It is possible that CoQ10 has this effect because it keeps the mitochondria in the cells healthy.
Easing statin side effects
Some research suggests that CoQ10 might help ease muscle weakness that is due to taking cholesterol-lowering medications, known as statins.
However, the results of another trial showed that treatment with CoQ10 did not reduce muscle pain in people who were also using statins to control their cholesterol levels.