Coenzyme Q10, often called COQ 10 or CO Q10, is a nutrient that occurs naturally in the mitochondria of every cell in the body. It was discovered in 1957, and since then has been studied in relation to heart disease, atherosclerosis and hypertension. More recently, scientists have begun to focus on its possible benefits in treating diabetes and Parkinson’s disease, lowering cholesterol, preventing and lessening the severity of migraines, and possible antioxidant and anti-aging properties.
Much of the research into the preventive and healing abilities of COQ 10 is promising. Because COQ 10 is a basic component present in every cell in the body, it stands to reason that supplementing the diet with COQ 10 has a beneficial effect on a wide variety of ailments. Thus, it should come as no surprise that COQ 10 has proven beneficial in preventing migraines, lowering blood pressure, reducing cholesterol and preventing cancer.
People taking COQ 10 report increased energy levels, which has been confirmed by scientific studies evaluating the effect of COQ 10 on chronic fatigue syndrome. A case study in the British medical journal, Lancet, reports on the reversal of the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease through supplementation with COQ 10, and numerous other studies and reports support claims that COQ 10 has potent antioxidant properties.
What COQ 10 Does:
The body survives on the energy that is created when cells break down sugars, fats and amino acids (proteins). Much of this breakdown happens within tiny enclosures in the cells called mitochondria. COQ 10 is the substance in the mitochondria that carries electrons involved in producing energy from the food that you eat.
COQ 10 is believed to be one of the first antioxidants that is depleted when LDL (the good cholesterol) is subjected to oxidation. In other words, it prevents the oxidation of lipoproteins in the blood, reducing the risk of harmful plaques that narrow arteries and contribute to heart disease.
COQ 10 also seems to have anti-inflammatory properties, which may account for its reported benefits in treating migraines. There is also research to support its role in bolstering the immune system, and helping the body to fight off infection and deal with the many disorders that have been connected to autoimmune system dysfunctions (diabetes, in particular).
Health Benefits of COQ 10:
A March 2002 study reported in Cephalalgia showed that 61% of 32 patients treated with COQ 10 as a prophylactic measure reported a greater than 50% reduction in migraines after a three month trial. This was confirmed in a February 2005 randomized double-blind study in which patients treated with COQ 10 reported a 42% reduction in migraine occurrence as opposed to a 14% reduction in those receiving a placebo.
In a 2004 study reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, COQ 10 significantly enhanced the anti-inflammatory action of Vitamin E.
Reduces the damage caused by Parkinson’s disease
A small study of 80 patients concluded that treatment with high doses of COQ 10 substantially reduces the damage caused by Parkinson’s disease. In a clinical trial, the 24 patients on the highest daily dosage of COQ 10 showed significantly less impairment to their motor functioning than those on lower doses.
Can provide a pharmacological ‘bridge’ for patients awaiting heart transplant
A 2004 study involving patients in end-stage heart disease determined that “The administration of CoQ10 to heart transplant candidates led to a significant improvement in functional status, clinical symptoms, and quality of life.”
Reduces high blood pressure
In a randomized double-blind study, patients treated with COQ 10 showed a reduction in systolic blood pressure consistent with prescribed medication. The conclusion reached by the researchers was “Our results suggest CoQ10 may be safely offered to hypertensive patients as an alternative treatment option.”
Increases energy levels and fights fatigue
Supported by multiple studies and anecdotal evidence
Possible Side Effects of COQ 10
At high doses, some patients report insomnia and restlessness. Other than that, there seem to be no serious side effects.
Because of its multiple health benefits, most nutritionists recommend a daily health supplement that contains COQ 10 in dosages of 50 to 100 mg to help prevent cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels, as well as to increase energy and vitality.