Vitamins, Minerals and Dietary Supplements
What is coenzyme Q10? Why do we need it?
Coenzyme Q10 is a substance found in the mitochondria of
every cell in the body. It plays a role in the process that
creates ATP, making it essential for energy production. Although
Q10 is classified as an antioxidant, there has been some discussion
as to whether it should be reclassified as a vitamin.
There is mounting research that suggests Q10 can play a vital
role in the treatment of several conditions, particularly
those related to the cardiovascular system. Q10 can reverse
or prevent heart lesions associated with angina, hypertension
and congestive heart failure. Supplementation with Q10 can
reduce high blood pressure in patients with a coenzyme deficiency.
It may be beneficial in controlling abnormal heart rhythms,
and may protect the heart during surgery or a heart attack.
Additional studies have shown that Q10 supplementation may
have a positive effect in the treatment of breast cancer,
diabetes, immune deficiency, muscular dystrophy and periodontal
disease. When used in conjunction with an exercise routine,
Q10 can improve heart rate and maximal oxygen consumption.
How much coenzyme Q10 should I take?
The generally recommended dose for coenzyme Q10 is 25mg
twice daily. Some researchers have experimented with larger
doses for the following conditions:
Heart disease: 100mg a day
Enhancing athletic performance: 60mg a day for four to
Potential prevention of cancers: 400mg per day
What are some good sources of coenzyme
Q10? What forms are available?
Coenzyme Q10 is found in every plant and animal cell. The
best dietary sources include oily fish, organ meats (such
as liver) and whole grains.
In addition to food sources, coenzyme Q10 supplements are
available in several forms, including gel capsules, hard capsules,
tablets and sprays. Because Q10 is oil-soluble, it should
be taken with a meal that contains oil.
What can happen if I don't
get enough coenzyme Q10? What can happen if I take too much?
Are there any side-effects I should be aware of?
Most people get enough Q10 in their diet. However, levels
of Q10 can decline in elderly people or patients with certain
health conditions, so supplementation may be necessary for
these subjects. A lack of Q10 can eventually lead to heart
In addition, no definitive studies have been conducted on
Q10 supplementation during pregnancy or while breast-feeding.
Women who are pregnant or lactating should consult with a
health care provider before taking Q10 supplements.
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concentrations and exerts neuroprotective effects. Proc
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Modern Nutrition in Health and Disease, 9th ed. Baltimore, MD: Williams & Wilkins, 1999, pp. 90-92,
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New Canaan, CT: Keats Publishing, Inc., 1998, pp. 127-129.