COQ10: The Research-Backed Health Benefits

  • Nature's Source

The electric energy that powers our world requires the movement of electrons from materials such as copper wires. These electrons are pulled by magnets or batteries and create an electric current that powers different things, from light bulbs to large appliances. The human body is similar in some respects to things that are powered by electricity. The source of electrons in our cells aren’t copper wires, but rather the food that we eat, particularly glucose (carbs) and fatty acids (fats and oil). Instead of being pulled by magnets or batteries, the electrons from glucose and fatty acids are pulled by oxygen and a variety of “conductive” molecules. One such important molecule is Coenzyme Q10. 

It is one of the most important molecules in the body that is in charge of energy generation. The highest amount of Coenzyme Q10 in the human body is in organs that require the greatest amount of energy to function properly, particularly the brain, muscles (especially the heart muscle), the kidneys, and the liver.

For this reason, it may not surprise you that Coenzyme Q10 will be most beneficial to help resolve conditions that arise in these organs. 

Coenzyme Q10 is most known for its role in helping prevent and improve cardiovascular disease. It helps energize a “fatigued” heart. Studies have shown that 200 mg daily can help improve the contraction of the heart (medically known as “ejection fraction”)[i] when it is weak. It was also shown to improve congestive heart failure[ii] (dose ranged between 60 mg to 300 mg). Its ability to energize the heart is likely one of the reasons it has also been shown to help lower high blood pressure at a dose of 100 mg or more[iii]

Migraines are associated with disturbances in stress hormones such as cortisol[iv] and estrogen[v]. When elevated, these hormones, in turn, suppress energy generation. Perhaps, it is for this reason, that studies have demonstrated Coenzyme Q10’s ability to lessen headaches[vi]. The effective dose for this seems to be between 300 mg to 400 mg

Coenzyme Q10 has also been shown to improve circulation, kidney function, blood sugar control, sex hormone balance in males and females, as well as fertility, sperm quality, erectile dysfunction, and overall protection against oxidative damage.

Dietary sources of Coenzyme Q10 are limited to organ meats, such as hearts, brain, kidneys, and liver, and the amount of Co Q10 that these animal food sources provide are limited to a few milligrams per serving. Whereas the amount of Co Q10 required to achieve therapeutic effects in the areas I described above, range from several tens to several hundreds of milligrams. For this reason, supplementation is warranted. 

As I mentioned earlier, Coenzyme Q10 is a “conductive” molecule. What this means is that it transports electrons from one molecule to the next in the energy production process in the cell. There has been a debate in the health industry, as to what form of Coenzyme Q10 supplements, ubiquinone or ubiquinol are better. 

It is helpful to understand that ubiquinol is the “reduced” state of Coenzyme Q10, meaning the state in which it has accepted and binds an electron. Remember, its function is to pass on this electron. When it passes it on and remains without this electron (and ready to receive the next one) it exists in its “oxidized” state and this state is also known by its other name, ubiquinone. So, whether you supplement with ubiquinone or ubiquinol, it is my understanding that once in the body, as it performs its function, it will oscillate from one state to the next, ubiquinol to ubiquinone, many times. 

Some suggest that ubiquinol’s bioavailability, according to one study, seems to be greater than ubiquinone’s. However, another study[vii] showed no such difference. In general, soft gel capsules seem to offer better absorption and bioavailability[viii]. Common brands for such preparations at Nature’s source and Signature stores include Natural Factors and Can prev. 

As I mentioned earlier, Coenzyme Q10 is one of several “conductive” molecules. It works in tandem with at least three other “conductive” molecules in a cellular structure known as the “electron transport chain”. These three molecules are NAD+ (derived from niacinamide or vitamin B3), FADH (derived from vitamin B2), and Cytochrome C, which requires copper for its activation. Therefore, it stands to reason that the sufficiency of these nutrients would support and perhaps enhance the functioning of Coenzyme Q10. For this reason, It may be beneficial to seek out a multivitamin with Co Q10, such as the one offered by Pure encapsulations, or Dr. Klein’s Healthy Heart Plus, which is formulated to ameliorate high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high blood sugar, and support healthy heart function. This formula contains other heart-healthy nutrients in therapeutic doses, including magnesium glycinate, B vitamins, vitamin C, and other antioxidants.