Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a very effective antioxidant that fights free radicals, as well as supporting the body's metabolic processes

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a very effective antioxidant that fights free radicals, as well as supporting the body's metabolic processes

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Also known as ubiquinone, this is a very effective antioxidant that fights free radicals, as well as supporting the body's metabolic processes.1 Almost every cell in the body contains this nutrient, the mitochrondria (that part of a cell's structure where energy is produced) housing the most. The liver and heart have the most mitochondria per cell, and therefore contain the most coenzyme Q 10.


CoenzymeQ10 is an enzyme and has two parts – a protein and another part that is either a mineral or a vitamin. When the “other part” is a vitamin it is called a coenzyme. In addition to energy production CoQ10 also provides antioxidant protection in the cells and destroys free radicals in the body. Free radicals are highly reactive chemicals that can damage parts of the cells including deoxribonucleic acid (DNA).


Studies show that people with poor health have insufficient levels of CoQ10. These findings lead scientists to explore the effect of supplementing with oral CoQ10. Numerous clinical trials indicated that CoQ10 is very effective in the treatment and prevention of congestive heart failure, angina, arrhythmia, myocardial degeneration and hypertension. Many trials have been conducted both in England and America that show a significant improvement in the health of the heart after supplementing with CoQ10. It was also found that there was a significant improvement in the thickness of the left ventricle wall of the heart and mitral valve flow.


Similar studies on CoQ10 and the immune system found comparable results. The immune system is highly energy-dependent. Many conditions are the result of immune system dysfunction. A multitude of clinical trials have shown a vast improvement in immune system function among participants using CoQ10 daily.


Found in?

It is mainly found in fish and meat.


Essential for?

Due to coenzyme Q10's ability to increase energy production, there has been some research concerning its potential in this area, although there is still a great deal more to be done. Heart disorders such as angina and congestive heart failure are particularly suited to coenzyme Q10 supplementation.2 3 4 5 6 7 8


Those who need it most?

People with angina, congestive heart failure and other related heart disorders may benefit from this supplement, due to its seeming ability to enable the heart to cope with less oxygen.


Conditions CoQ 10 is used to treat?

It may prevent illnesses associated with free-radical damage, including heart disease and cancer. It is promoted as an anti-ageing compound and as an energy enhancer and it has been found that the levels of coenzyme Q 10 diminish as we get older.


Primary: Cardiovascular disease; protection against blood clots; Raynauds disease (poor circulation).


Secondary: Reducing pain and bleeding in those with gum disease; aids recovery after dental surgery; shown to help those with Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s and may improve stamina in those with AIDS.  For those with low blood sugar levels this compound appears to help stabilise sugar levels.    It is often used by those who want to lose weight; helps with chronic fatigue syndrome and boosts immunity.


Parkinson’s Disease Note:

Lower levels of CoQ10 have also been observed in people with Parkinson’s disease. Preliminary research suggests that CoQ10 may increase levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine which is thought to be lowered in people with this disease.


Diabetes Note:

In a recent randomized trial it appeared that CoQ10 supplementation significantly improved blood pressure and glycemic control.


Statins Note:

Some research suggests that Statin Drugs, or HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors, a class of drug used to lower cholesterol may interfere with the body’s production of CoQ10 – which has implications for heart health - ironically.


Studies have shown that as we age our bodies’ supply of CoQ10 diminishes, this happens also during times of stress and poor nutrition. There is no question among scientists, researchers and health care professionals that whole foods contain a balanced form of nutrients. The reason for this is that no one compound occurs in isolation. Whole food is a multitude of compounds supporting each others efficacy and efficiency. Most supplements are chemically manufactured and it is therefore difficult to know how much of an isolated nutrient one actually needs. The CMA recommends that practitioners always prescribe food state supplements wherever possible as they contain nutrients supported by their natural allies.


RDA (recommended daily allowance)?

30-90 mg daily for adults is the common dosage, but increased levels can be taken for specific health conditions after first consulting a nutritionist or other suitably qualified health practitioner. It is absorbed better if taken with food but should not be taken for longer than eight weeks at a time.


Is it possible to take too much of this supplement?

Those patients taking coenzyme Q10 for congestive heart failure should consult their doctor before discontinuing with the supplements.9


Are there any contraindications or side effects?  Consult a doctor before you take this supplement if you are pregnant or lactating.  If you are allergic to this compound you will experience nausea, stomach cramps and diarrhoea which, incidentally is very rare.  If you do suffer any discomfort then discontinue use. 


Further Reading:

Balch MD., James and Balch CNC., Phyliss. Prescription For Nutritional Healing. New York: Avery Publishing, 1997.

Nutrient News. Siri Khalsa, Riverside, CA, 1994; vol XVIII, No.6. Isolated diastolic dysfunction of the myocardium and its response to CoQ10 treatment. Clin Investig, Germany, 1993; 8:140-4.

Folkers, K. and Yamamura, Y. eds, Biomedical and Clinical Aspects of CoQ10, Vol. 4. Amsterdam: Elsevier Science Publishers, 1984.

Research on CoQ10 in clinical medicine and in immunomodulation. Switzerland: Drugs Exp Clin Res, 1985; 539-45.

Usefulness of CoQ10 in clinical cardiology: a long-term study. England: Mol Med, 1994; 15:165-75

Coenzyme Q10 in essential hypertension. England: Mol Aspects Med, 1994; 15:257-72

Co-enzyme Q10: a new drug for cardiovascular disease. United States: J Clin Pharmacol, July 1990; 30:596-608

Blizankov, EG. Immunological senescence in mice and its reversal by CoQ10. Mech Aging Dev, 1978; 7:189

Plasma ubiquinol-10 is decreased in patients with hyperlipidaemia. Ireland: Atherosclerosis, 1997; 129/1:119-126.

Italian multicenter study on the safety and efficacy of CoQ10 as adjunctive therapy in heart failure. England: Mol Aspects Med, 1994; 15:287-94.

Apparent partial remission of breast cancer in 'high risk' patients supplemented with nutritional antioxidants, essential fatty acids and CoQ10. England: Mol Aspects Med, 1994;15.

Measurement of the ratio between the reduced and oxidized forms of CoQ10 in human plasma as a possible marker of oxidative stress. United States: J Lipid Res, Jan. 1996; 37:67-75

The role of free radicals in disease. Australia: Australian and New Zealand Journal of Opthamology, 1995;23/1.



1. Weber C, Jakobsen TS, Mortensen SA, et al. Antioxidative effect of dietary coenzyme Q10 in human blood plasma. Internat J Vit Nutr Res 1994;64:311–15.

2. Mortensen SA, Vadhanavikit S, Baandrup U, Folkers K. Long-term coenzyme Q10 therapy: a major advance in the management of resistant myocardial failure. Drug Exptl Clin Res 1985;11:581–93.

3. Morisco C, Trimarco B, Condorelli M. Effect of coenzyme Q10 in patients with congestive heart failure: a long-term multicenter randomized study. Clin Invest 1993;71:S134–36.

4. Gaby AR. The role of coenzyme Q10 in clinical medicine: part II. Cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes mellitus and infertility. Alt Med Rev 1996;1:168–75 [review].

5. Fujioka T, Sakamoto Y, Mimura G. Clinical study of cardiac arrhythmias using a 24-hour continuous electrocardiographic recorder (5th report)—antiarrhythmic action of coenzyme Q10 in diabetics. Tohoku J Exp Med 1983;141(suppl):453–63.

6. Kamikawa T, Kobayashi A, Yamashita T, et al. Effects of coenzyme Q10 on exercise tolerance in chronic stable angina pectoris. Am J Cardiol 1985;56:247.

7. Mortensen SA. Perspectives on therapy of cardiovascular diseases with coenzyme Q10 (ubiquinone). Clin Invest 1993;71:s116–23 [review].

8. Tanaka J, Tominaga R, Yoshitoshi M, et al. Coenzyme Q10: the prophylactic effect on low cardiac output following cardiac valve replacement. Ann Thorac Surg 1982;33:14551.

9. Mortensen SA, Vadhanavikit S, Baandrup U, Folkers K. Long-term coenzyme Q10 therapy: a major advance in the management of resistant myocardial failure. Drug Exptl Clin Res 1985;11:581–93.


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