Nearly every single cell in our bodies contains coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10). It is an antioxidant naturally produced by the body, found in greatest amounts in organs and muscles with high energy requirements, like the heart and skeletal muscle. CoQ10 has been extensively researched on its benefits on the cardiovascular system, energy levels, healthy aging, migraine prevention, fertility and more!
This article will explain many of the benefits that CoQ10 has on the human body, as well as some examples of CoQ10 rich foods and a guide on supplementation.
The Benefits and Actions of CoQ10
Being a component of nearly all our cells, CoQ10 is certainly involved in many processes in the body. CoQ10 is a fat-soluble compound that is found in muscles and organs that require the most energy – such as the heart, liver, kidneys and skeletal muscle. This is because it is required for producing cellular energy. Large amounts of CoQ10 are also found in the brain, liver, kidneys, adrenal glands, pancreas and the epidermis (outer) layer of the skin.
It is also an antioxidant, preventing the ‘bad’ cholesterol (LDL-cholesterol) from oxidation, as well as protecting the body from free radical damage caused by things like stress and pollution.
Fun fact: CoQ10 is found in almost all aerobic organisms – including bacteria!
Below is a list of the major roles CoQ10 plays in the body:
- Energy Production - CoQ10 is necessary for cellular energy. It converts energy from carbohydrates and fatty acids that we get from our diet into a compound called adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP is an energy donor, and together with CoQ10 assists in the transfer of energy and oxygen around the body. Many people who supplement with CoQ10 notice an increase in their energy levels!
- Antioxidant Activity – As an antioxidant, CoQ10 protects cells in the body from free radical damage (likely to be caused by things like pollution, tobacco smoke, alcohol, fried foods and stress). CoQ10 often teams up with Vitamin E for stronger antioxidant benefits, and to also protect vitamin E from becoming damaged in the body. Antioxidants like CoQ10 have been shown to lower the risk of developing chronic diseases.
- Male Reproductive Health – We know that CoQ10 has antioxidant effects on the body - this includes antioxidant effects on sperm health. Male sperm can be affected by oxidative damage. Supplementing with CoQ10 can prevent this damage to promote an increase in sperm count and sperm quality!
- Cardiovascular Health – We need a healthy amount of cholesterol in our bodies for our reproductive hormones, for the repair of body tissue and for bile production. However LDL-cholesterol (aka ‘bad’ cholesterol) in high amounts is associated with an increased risk of heart problems. CoQ10 helps to inhibit the oxidation of the ‘bad’ LDL-cholesterol, promoting healthy cholesterol levels and a healthy cardiovascular system.
Research shows that individuals at high risk of, or suffering from cardiovascular diseases such as chronic heart failure and high blood pressure have low plasma levels of CoQ10. This suggests that CoQ10 has a protective role on heart health and can reduce the risk of the development of cardiovascular diseases.
- Migraine Prevention – CoQ10 lives in the mitochondria of our cells. When there is abnormal mitochondrial function (likely due to nutrient deficiency and excess free radicals) headaches and migraines can arise. CoQ10 helps to improve mitochondrial function and can decrease the inflammation that may occur during migraines, helping not only to assist with the severity and frequency of migraines, but also to help prevent them from occurring!
- Healthy Aging – With age the production of CoQ10 decreases, making it a great supplement to consider taking as we get older. Did you know that levels of CoQ10 are at their highest during the first 20 years of our lives? By the time we turn 80, our CoQ10 levels may be lower than they were when we were born! While there is no secret to eternal youth, CoQ10 can help maintain older people’s general wellbeing by promoting antioxidant activity against free radical damage, while also supporting healthy heart function and cellular energy production.
Food Sources of CoQ10
On average, we consume about 5mg of CoQ10 daily through our diet. Some CoQ10 is synthesised in the body (particularly by the liver), however it is important to obtain as much CoQ10 from our diet as possible as it is involved in so many different body processes.
You can find CoQ10 in the following foods:
FRUITS & VEGETABLES
NUTS & GRAINS
A Guide on Supplementing with CoQ10
For some people, the body’s own production of CoQ10 and dietary sources are not enough to maintain or increase CoQ10 levels in the body. Stress, nutrient deficiencies and some medications can deplete the body of its CoQ10 stores - that’s where supplementation can be helpful.
Ubiquinol, ubiquinone, ubidecarenone…help! What’s the difference?
You may have seen any of these names listed as an ingredient when looking at or researching CoQ10 supplements. CoQ10 exists as two forms in the body:
- Ubiquinone (also called ubidecarenone)
Some supplements contain ubiquinol, and others contain ubiquinone/ubidecarenone. What’s the difference? Not much! Each form of CoQ10 will break down and absorb a little differently to each other, however both will have the same benefits once absorbed.
At Australian NaturalCare, we have formulated two supplements containing CoQ10 in the form of ubidecarenone. They support healthy heart function, promote the production of cellular energy and support healthy cholesterol levels. Try our Get Up & Go CoQ10 50mg or our CoQ10 150mg One-A-Day Get Up & Go today!
Please seek advice from your medical professional if you have a cardiovascular condition (including but not limited to: high blood pressure, high cholesterol, congestive heart failure and angina); and/or if you experience fatigue, infertility or migraines. Please speak to your medical professional before taking any supplements/if you are already on medication.
- Reavley, N. (1998), The new Encyclopedia of Vitamins, Minerals, Supplements and Herbs, Bookman Press Pty Ltd, Australia.
- Semeco, A. (2017), 9 Benefits of Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), Healthline, <https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/coenzyme-q10>
- Shoeibi, A., Olfati, N., Soltani Sabi, M., Salehi, M., Mali, S., Akbari Oryani, M. (2017), Effectiveness of coenzyme Q10 in prophylactic treatment of migraine headache: an open-label, add-on, controlled trial, Acta Neurologica Belgica, 117(1):103-109, DOI: 10.1007/s13760-016-0697-z
- Slater, S.K., Nelson, T.D., Kabbouche, M.A., LeCates, S.L., Horn, P., Segers, A., Manning, P., Powers, S.W., Hershey, A.D. (2011), A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover, add-on study of CoEnzyme Q10 in the prevention of pediatric and adolescent migraine, Cephalalgia 31(8), DOI: 10.1177/0333102411406755
- Walcaz-Jedrzejowska, R., Wolski, J.K., Slowikowska-Hilczer, J. (2013), The role of oxidative stress and antioxidants in male fertility, Central European Journal of Urology, DOI: 10.5173/ceju.2013.01.art19