Written by Dr. Brian A. Magna, DPT, ATC
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a vital antioxidant compound that helps the mitochondria produce energy. You remember the mitochondria don’t you? Do you remember having your high school biology teacher calling the mitochondria the powerhouse of the cell? Of course you do!
So why is CoQ10 so important? As you age, CoQ10 levels decrease and that could leave you with less energy, muscle weakness, decreased endurance and an increased possibility of heart disease and high blood pressure. It has also been associated with preventing cellular damage associated with aging and some diseases.
CoQ10 may promote the widening of the blood vessels by increasing nitric oxide availability and reducing blood pressure. Research from a study involving 684 people with diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol demonstrated that CoQ10 supplementation for four to 24 weeks significantly reduced systolic blood pressure (the top number) by 10 to 21 mmHg but not diastolic blood pressure. It was also noted that more research has to be done to determine the long standing blood pressure results using CoQ10.
Since CoQ10 is in every cell of the human body, it is essential to make sure we have the proper amount in order to keep our cells nourished and stay as healthy as we can.
Statins are drugs that help lower cholesterol and can cause muscle pain and weakness as a side effect. Some research suggests that CoQ10 may reduce these side effects.
While early clinical studies have produced unclear results regarding the efficacy of CoQ10 supplements for alleviating statin-induced muscle pain, a 2018 review of 12 studies involving 575 people found that CoQ10 supplementation significantly reduced statin-induced muscle pain, weakness, cramps, and tiredness, independent of supplement dose or duration.
Many healthcare providers suggest individuals over the age of 50 take at least 100 mg of CoQ10 supplement per day as well as add an additional 100 mg for every decade of life thereafter.
However, supplementation has been associated with digestive symptoms, mainly abdominal pain or an upset stomach. These symptoms tend to occur in doses beyond 1,200 milligrams (mg) per day.
Other side effects reported include: heartburn, nausea, dizziness, diarrhea and insomnia
CoQ10 may interact with some medications as well. These include blood-thinning medications like warfarin and blood pressure medications. It may also not be compatible with certain cancer medications.
Ask your healthcare provider before taking CoQ10. Be sure to tell them about all other medications and supplements you take.
Remember that supplements are not to be used to treat or prevent any disease. Make sure you are regularly seeing your healthcare provider for guidance on how to manage your condition(s).