Coenzyme Q10 is an oil soluble substance that shared some properties with vitamins and is present in eukaryotic cells (all the more complex cells with enclosed membranes) in the mitochondria (the ‘energy factory’ of the cell which surrounds the outer wall). This enzyme is part of the electron transport chain and is used in aerobic cellular respiration, in other words the formation of ATP – the ‘universal energy currency’ we use to power all of our biological functions – using oxygen.
The discovery of coenzyme Q10 was a significant one for biologists, but according to the Mayo Clinic it may also be useful as a health supplement – though this is currently unconfirmed. Here are some of the benefits that it might be able to offer in supplement form…
Cardiac Health: Coenzyme Q10 has been suggested to help maintain a healthy cardiovascular system and evidence has been found that links heart failure to deficiencies. This may work due to its role in oxidising LDL. In another study, CoQ10 was found to help lower systolic blood pressure by around 17 mmHg and diastolic blood pressure by around 10 mmHg in hypertensive patients.
Headaches: CoQ10 has also been suggested as a treatment for headaches, though the studies involved have been accused of using sample sizes too small to make any real conclusions.
Lifespan: Supplementation of CoQ10 alongside a healthy lifestyle has been shown to help extend the lifespan of rats. It is said to accomplish this by reducing the oxidation of cells in a similar manner to antioxidants, or more closely resveratrol.
Others: Studies have also looked into the usefulness of CoQ10 for treating periodontal disease – though they have yet to confirm any benefits, Parkinson’s disease which was much more positive, and potentially cancer though the jury is currently still out on that one.
Medline Plus however point out some potential negative side effects of using CoQ10 which may include nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, insomnia, headache and other problems. If you find you’re experiencing these then you can try reducing the dose perhaps by cutting in half your tablet.
However that said, as the benefits of CoQ10 have yet to be proven in many cases, and as there are many other supplements out there that can do the same thing more reliably and cheaply, it’s hard to recommend using it at all. My advice is to try resveratrol for similar effects, or to stick to your multivitamin to save yourself a lot of money.