CoQ10: Do You Need This Supplement?

coenzyme Q10

I’ve never been a big pill pusher in my practice. I believe the best source of nutrients is food, and supplements are meant to supplement our food intake. Decades ago I attended a continuing education seminar on supplements. I was struck by the presenter’s comments on CoQ10 (CoenzymeQ10). She cited lots of studies on how various clinical populations with various medical problems had low blood CoQ10 levels. Then, she said we all need to be taking it because we make less as we age. Seemed to make a lot of sense if you look at it that way since we are not getting any younger!

What is CoQ10?

Coenzyme Q10 is also known as ubiquinone. It’s a naturally occurring anti-oxidant whose primary function is cellular energy production. Our bodies do produce it, but as noted above we make less as we age. Our diets can only provide small amounts of this nutrient. Food sources are primarily chicken, beef, and some whole grains.

Who might benefit from CoQ10?

There are a variety of medical issues that might benefit from CoQ10. While some conditions that have thought to benefit from CoQ10 supplementation are disputed of late,  the following conditions are currently thought to improve with a supplement. As is always the case, it is necessary to discuss with your health care team when deciding to add supplements to your diet in therapeutic ranges. Supplements can always interact with certain medications, so your health care team and you need to be communicating on this topic!

Those with the following medical concerns might benefit:

  • Heart disease. Studies have shown that taking 100 mg of CoQ10 on a daily basis improved how the heart pumps blood. Other studies have shown that those who took a daily total dose of 300 mg of CoQ10 in addition to their prescribed cardiac medication reduced cardiac events by 50%. Multiple studies have also indicated that this supplement improved muscle symptoms associated with cholesterol lowering statin medications.
  • Migraines. Studies have supported the use of CoQ10 for headache pain. 300 mg taken for three months showed a decrease in migraine frequency in a small study. There was also a reduction in blood levels of lactate and nitric oxide, both of which are elevated in migraine sufferers.
  • Fibromyalgia. One small study found that 100 mg of CoQ10 taken three times per day for 40 days significantly improved clinical symptoms, including tender points and sleep quality.
  • Wrinkles. We are all going to get them, so it is interesting to note that one preliminary study found that middle-aged women taking 150 mg of CoQ10 three times per day for 3 months achieved a significant reduction in wrinkles around the lips, eyes, and nose. There was no reduction in wrinkles on the forehead.

Taking smaller 100 mg doses with a small amount of dietary fat will increase the absorption of CoQ10.

For information on another popular supplement, visit my blog on magnesium.

Do you take this supplement? Do you have any questions or comments about this supplement not covered in this blog?

 

 

 

 

Should You Take Supplements: Facts to Consider

Nutritional supplements

News coverage over the last few days seems to be revolving around the weather, the holidays, and of all things nutritional supplements!  While I can’t comment about most of the current media topics, I do have a few words to say on the topic of supplements! If you listen to the media hype over the last few days, there are some recurring statements from the so-called experts. This begs the question of whether we should be taking supplements.

Expert comments

Some “experts” note our nutrients should come only from food. Others suggest  “natural” whole foods be put into pill form. The truth and correct answers are most likely somewhere in between the black and white statements made by these so-called experts. Unfortunately, not one “expert” ever suggested that each person should be evaluated on a case by case basis. To determine if supplements are right for you, consider these tips:

Supplements fill in dietary gaps

If you eat a healthy diet, there is a fairly good chance you can skip taking pills! If you are lactose intolerant, don’t eat any foods containing omega-3 fatty acids, or are vegan, then you may need a supplement. Consulting a licensed/registered dietitian can help you sort out what you may need to be doing with supplements.

Supplements are of benefit to your health if you have a documented deficiency 

Wondering if you should really be taking vitamin D supplements? You should have a blood test to determine if you need to be taking a supplement. Once blood work is done on my clients, most have turned out to be deficient. Correction of a deficiency is usually easy to do with diet or supplements. For a vitamin D deficiency, sunshine may be the prescription!

Be aware of upper limits of safety 

Many people taking multiple supplements forget they may be doubling or tripling their intake of a nutrient because they are taking multiple pills. Beyond a certain limit, it can be dangerous to ingest too much of a single nutrient. Some nutrients can even be toxic if taken in excess. Your favorite dietitian can be your best resource for this information!

Food is your best source of nutrients 

Mother nature packages foods perfectly with the best combination of nutrients. The mixture of nutrients designed by mother nature work effectively together. With that stated, those people who eat a lot of processed foods and a limited diet may indeed benefit from specific supplements. An evaluation of your diet and eating habits is the best way to move forward with accurate supplement recommendations.

Regulation of supplements

If a supplement is reported as unsafe, the stores are required to pull the product. Until then, it’s buyer beware as the supplement industry is strictly self-regulating. With that stated, the savvy consumer choosing to take supplements should consider well-known brands. Well known brands want to protect their reputation. They  will have high quality control standards. Using lesser known brands may result in lower quality control. Even arsenic and lead have tainted some supplements in the past few decades.

Not all supplements are good or bad. Not all people need them. Consulting a professional to evaluate your diet prior to making recommendations both improves your health and saves you money.