Coenzyme Q10, also known as CoQ10, is a compound that helps generate energy in your cells.
Your body produces CoQ10 naturally, but its production tends to decrease with age. Fortunately, you can also get CoQ10 through supplements or foods.
Health conditions like heart disease, brain disorders, diabetes, and cancer have been linked to low levels of CoQ10 (
It is not clear whether low levels of CoQ10 cause these diseases or are a result of them.
One thing is for certain: plenty of research has revealed CoQ10’s wide range of health benefits.
CoQ10 is a compound made by your body and stored in the mitochondria of your cells (
The mitochondria are in charge of producing energy. They also protect cells from oxidative damage and disease-causing bacteria or viruses (
CoQ10 production decreases as you age. Thus, older people seem to be deficient in this compound.
Some other causes of CoQ10 deficiency include (
- Nutritional deficiencies, such as vitamin B6 deficiency
- Genetic defects in CoQ10 synthesis or utilization
- Increased demands by tissues as a consequence of disease
- Mitochondrial diseases
- Oxidative stress due to aging
- Side effects of statin treatments
Research has shown that CoQ10 plays several key roles in your body.
One of its primary functions is to help generate energy in your cells. It’s involved in making adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is involved in energy transfer within cells (
Its other crucial role is to serve as an antioxidant and protect cells from oxidative damage (
Excessive amounts of free radicals lead to oxidative damage, which can interfere with regular cell functioning. This is known to cause many health conditions (
Given that ATP is used to carry out all the body's functions and oxidative damage is destructive to cells, it is not surprising that some chronic diseases have been linked to low levels of CoQ10 (
CoQ10 is present in every cell of your body. However, the highest concentrations are found in organs with the greatest energy demands, such as the heart, kidneys, lungs and liver (
The following is a list of the 9 main benefits of CoQ10.
1. It May Help Treat Heart Failure
Heart failure is often a consequence of other heart conditions, such as coronary artery disease or high blood pressure (
These conditions can lead to increased oxidative damage and inflammation of the veins and arteries (
Heart failure occurs when these problems affect the heart to the point that it is unable to regularly contract, relax or pump blood through the body (
To make matters worse, some treatments for heart failure have undesirable side effects, such as low blood pressure, while others could even further reduce CoQ10 levels (
In a study of 420 people with heart failure, treatment with CoQ10 for two years improved their symptoms and reduced their risk of dying from heart problems (
Also, another study treated 641 people with CoQ10 or a placebo for a year. At the end of the study, those in the CoQ10 group had been hospitalized less frequently for worsening heart failure and had fewer serious complications (
It seems that treatment with CoQ10 could assist with restoring optimal levels of energy production, reduce oxidative damage and improve heart function, all of which can aid the treatment of heart failure (
2. It Could Reduce Headaches
Abnormal mitochondrial function can lead to an increased calcium uptake by the cells, the excessive production of free radicals and decreased antioxidant protection. This can result in low energy in the brain cells and even migraines (
Since CoQ10 lives mainly in the mitochondria of the cells, it has been shown to improve mitochondrial function and help decrease the inflammation that may occur during migraines (
In fact, a study showed that supplementing with CoQ10 was three times more likely than a placebo to reduce the number of migraines in 42 people (
Additionally, CoQ10 deficiency has been observed in people suffering from migraines.
One larger study showed that 1,550 people with low CoQ10 levels experienced fewer and less severe headaches after treatment with CoQ10 (
What’s more, it seems that CoQ10 not only helps treat migraines but may also prevent them (
Oxidative stress can affect muscle function, and thus, exercise performance (
Similarly, abnormal mitochondrial function can reduce muscle energy, making it hard for muscles to contract efficiently and sustain exercise (
CoQ10 can help exercise performance by decreasing oxidative stress in the cells and improving mitochondrial functions (
In fact, one study investigated the effects of CoQ10 on physical activity. Those supplementing with 1,200 mg of CoQ10 per day for 60 days showed decreased oxidative stress (
Moreover, supplementing with CoQ10 can help increase power during exercise and reduce fatigue, both of which can improve exercise performance (
4. It Might Play a Role in Cancer Prevention
Oxidative stress is known to cause cell damage and affect their function (
If your body is unable to effectively fight oxidative damage, the structure of your cells can become damaged, possibly increasing the risk of cancer (
CoQ10 may protect cells from oxidative stress and promote cellular energy production, promoting their health and survival (
Interestingly, cancer patients have been shown to have lower levels of CoQ10.
Low levels of CoQ10 have been associated with up to a 53.3% higher risk of cancer and indicate a poor prognosis for various types of cancer (
What’s more, one study also suggested that supplementing with CoQ10 may help reduce the chance of cancer recurrence (
Mitochondria are the main energy generators of brain cells.
Mitochondrial function tends to decrease with age. Total mitochondrial dysfunction can lead to the death of brain cells and diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's (
Unfortunately, the brain is very susceptible to oxidative damage due to its high fatty acid content and its high demand for oxygen.
This oxidative damage enhances the production of harmful compounds that could affect memory, cognition and physical functions (
CoQ10 may reduce these harmful compounds, possibly slowing the progression of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease (
Read the full article Written by Arlene Semeco, MS, RD on October 12, 2017 https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/coenzyme-q10
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