Just like certain fitness classes or diets, supplements can become trendy, too. And right now, everyone’s buzzing about Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10).
“CoQ10 is a natural compound made in the body that is used for cell growth and protecting the body against cell damage,” notes Rebecca Lee, RN, founder of RemediesForMe.com. It’s found in soybean and canola oil, chicken, herring, mackerel, beef, broccoli, cauliflower, oranges, strawberries, roasted peanuts, and pistachio and sesame seeds.
The naturally-occurring enzyme also works to convert food into energy. However, it’s possible to suffer from a deficiency of the powerful antioxidant—usually due to disease, low dietary intake, or high CoQ10 use by the body, notes Mayo Clinic. Falling short on CoQ10 may lead to heart failure, high blood pressure, and chest pain.
Taking it as a supplement may also be a boon for your health in other ways—namely, in regard to supporting heart health, blood pressure, blood sugar, and helping to ward off pain in the head and neck. Here, what research and experts have to say about the potential benefits of taking a CoQ10 supplement.
1. It may help relieve head pain.
Lee points to a small study published by the journal Neurology that found CoQ10 superior to a placebo in preventing head and neck tension. “Fifty percent of patients who took CoQ10 reported significantly reduced frequency of headaches compared to only 14 percent of those who took the placebo,” she says.
2. It can promote healthy blood pressure.
Research has pointed to the substance as promising for being a go-to for patients struggling with high blood pressure. A meta-analysis published in the Journal of Human Hypertension concluded that CoQ10 has the potential in hypertensive patients to lower systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure.
Mayo Clinic recommends taking 60-360 milligrams daily for eight-12 weeks to address hypertension. (Of course, be sure to work with your health care provider on any new supplementation plan.)
3. It’s an important supplement to your statin prescription.
If you’re on statins to reduce your cholesterol, you might want to talk with your doctor about taking CoQ10 as well, notes nutrition, fitness, and wellness coach Erin MacDonald, RDN. The reason: “Statins deplete the body’s reserves of CoQ10, and it’s a vital antioxidant,” she explains. (Research published in The Ochsner Journal supports the connection between statin therapy and lower CoQ10 levels.)
Bonus: Although more research is needed, Mayo Clinic points out that CoQ10 may help reduce muscle weakness associated with statin use.
4. It could improve cardiovascular health.
CoQ10 is a champion for heart health, naturally working to maintain the normal oxidative state of LDL cholesterol, supporting circulatory health, as well as functioning of the heart muscle and the health of vessel walls.
Additionally, two major meta-analyses reported in the Journal of Cardiac Failure prove the benefits of CoQ10 on heart failure of various causes.
5. It may promote fertility in men and women.
Registered dietitian nutritionist Kristie LeBeau, RN, RDN, says she recommends a CoQ10 supplement to patients who are trying to conceive. “It can improve sperm and egg health,” LeBeau says.
A study published in the journal Aging Cell looked at mice given CoQ10 prior to ovarian stimulation. The result: They made more made more follicles and better eggs than their counterparts without CoQ10. Researchers also believed that thanks to the supplementation, older mice produced eggs that functioned more like eggs from younger mice.
6. It may help keep you healthy as you age.
We naturally experience decreasing CoQ10 levels as we age, and researchers writing in Molecular Syndromology believe lower stores of the enzyme may be one of the main factors in the development of chronic diseases in aging people.
After all, in addition to being an antioxidant, the journal article authors point out that it is involved in several cellular processes, therefore “appropriate uptake of CoQ10 into cells is crucial for the improvement of cell activity during aging.”