CoQ10: Miracle Vitamin?
Coenzyme Q10 is a naturally occurring enzyme — enzymes help kick-start cell activity. CoQ10 also can be bought as a dietary supplement. Because of its vital role in the human body, CoQ10 has become a popular dietary supplement. While CoQ10 is necessary for proper functioning of the body’s cells, research hasn’t proven that there are CoQ10 benefits to taking it in supplement form.
Q. What is CoQ10?
A. Also called by its full name coenzyme Q10, CoQ10 is a compound that occurs naturally within the cells of the human body. It is found in the mitochondria, rod-shaped structures inside each cell that serve as power generators for that cell.
Q. What does CoQ10 do?
A. The main CoQ10 benefit involves its role in the creation of an important molecule known as adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP helps direct energy where it is needed within a cell and within the human body. As such, ATP is essential for healthy metabolism and is a key part of a number of processes within the body, such as the contraction of muscles.
Other possible CoQ10 benefits are being investigated. “It is also thought to function as an antioxidant along with vitamins E and C, and selenium,” says Roberta Anding, MS, RD, a clinical dietitian at Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children's Hospital in Houston, and a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association. “It is also suggested that there are diseases that may respond to CoQ10 supplementation.”
Some health benefits that doctors believe people could get as a result of taking coenzyme Q10 include:
Helping treat high blood pressure and heart disease
Enhancing immune system function
Providing an energy boost for people dealing with fatigue
Reducing high cholesterol levels in the blood
Assisting in the treatment of cancer or the protection of organs from toxic chemotherapy drugs
Stabilizing blood sugar levels of people with diabetes
Treating gum disease
Slowing down dementia progression
Increasing sperm count and motility
Preventing or treating migraine headaches
Q. How much CoQ10 do I need?
A. The body naturally produces coenzyme Q10 in quantities sufficient to prevent deficiency, and no symptoms related to CoQ10 deficiency have been observed in the general population. About one-quarter of the CoQ10 in a person’s blood is believed to come from dietary sources, with the rest produced internally.
Q. What are the main food sources of CoQ10?
A. "Dietary sources of CoQ10 are limited," Anding says. "Beef and chicken are the predominant dietary sources."
CoQ10 is available as a dietary supplement in several forms, including hard shell and soft gel capsules, an oral spray, and tablets. Adults taking CoQ10 as a dietary supplement are usually advised to take between 30 and 200 milligrams per day. The U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) does not recommend that children take CoQ10.
CoQ10 (coenzyme Q 10) 100 mg