Know Your Nutrients: CoQ10

CoQ10 may be the least talked about supplement for your heart, but this amazing antioxidant has some exciting heart health promoting properties and can also help with migraines! Read on to learn more…

What is CoQ10?
Although few people seem to know about Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), it is found throughout our bodies. CoQ10 is a member of the ubiquinone family of compounds; ubiquinone refers to it being ubiquitous, which means it is “found everywhere” in living organisms.[1] CoQ10 is a fat-soluble compound[2] that is found in our cell membranes.[3] It has an important role in metabolism as we require CoQ10 in our cell membranes, in order for our bodies to change carbohydrates and fats into ATP, the form of energy used by our cells.¹

What is the most common food source of CoQ10?

CoQ10 can be found naturally in meat, poultry, fish, soybean, corn, olive and canola oils, as well as nuts and seeds. It can also be made in our body, by breaking down proteins. ¹

Can I get enough CoQ10 from my diet?

Generally, most healthy people have enough CoQ10 between what they eat and what the body can make, for normal energy production. However, as we age the amount of CoQ10 in our tissues declines. This decline seems to go hand in hand with a common feature of aging: the decline in energy metabolism in our tissues. This decline is found particularly in our heart, as well as our liver and muscles¹ and is one of the main reasons CoQ10 is an important nutrient for ongoing heart health.

What are the health benefits of CoQ10?

CoQ10 is an antioxidant and also works to help support cardiovascular health. ⁴ This is why it is a great supplement for those who have a family history of heart disease. Even though CoQ10 is best known for being a heart health supplement, it can also be taken daily to help reduce the frequency of migraine headaches.[4]

How can CoQ10 help those on cholesterol-lowering medications?

It has been shown that people who are on cholesterol-lowering statin drugs have lower amounts of CoQ10 in their bodies. ²

Statin drugs are among the most commonly prescribed drugs in Canada, and are used to reduce the risk of heart disease.[5] Unfortunately, about 60% of people taking statin drugs stop their medication because of painful muscle side effects.[6] Yet a recent meta-analysis of 12 research trials concluded that  “CoQ10 supplementation may be a promising complementary approach for statin-associated muscle symptoms.”³ Basically, if you are going to start or are currently taking a cholesterol-lowering statin drug such as Lipitor, Lescol, Mevacor, Pravachol, Crestor or Zocor, you should talk to your doctor about taking CoQ10 as well.

How does CoQ10 help with migraines?

“In Canada, at least 2.6 million adult women and nearly 1 million men experience migraine... with 75% reporting impaired function and 33% requiring bedrest during an attack.”[7]

If you suffer from migraines, the option of being able to take a daily supplement to help prevent them sounds almost too good to be true. Yet Health Canada states that CoQ10 “helps to reduce the frequency of migraine headaches and associated nausea and vomiting when taken as a preventative”.⁴ In order to see these benefits, they suggest that it should be taken daily, at a dose of at least 150 mg for 3 months.⁴ The reason CoQ10 can help to prevent migraines is because it is important for cellular energy metabolism, and evidence shows those with migraines have a cellular energy deficiency. It is thought that by ensuring you have sufficient levels of CoQ10, migraines can be avoided.[8]

Are there any medications or supplements I should avoid taking with CoQ10?

If you are taking a blood thinner medication such as Coumadin, please consult your health care practitioner prior to use.⁴  This is because CoQ10 is chemically similar to vitamin K and may have blood clotting effects (the opposite effect of blood thinners). Therefore, it is always best that your doctor monitors you as it may be necessary to adjust the dosage of your medication. ²

If you are taking blood pressure medication, please consult a health care practitioner prior to use.⁴ CoQ10 might have additional blood pressure lowering effects when used with blood pressure lowering drugs such as Vasotec, Cozaar, Diovan, Cardizem, Norvas, HydroDiuril, and Lasix.² Therefore, it is best that your doctor monitor your blood pressure regularly, as it may be necessary to lower your medication dosage.

 

 

Note: The information provided here is intended solely as a guideline and is not meant to treat, cure or prevent any condition or disease. Always consult a qualified health care practitioner prior to using any natural health product.

References:

[1] Linus Pauling Institute Micronutrient Information Centre. Coenzyme Q10. Accessed Jan 2, 2019 at: https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/dietary-factors/coenzyme-Q10

[2] Natural Medicines Database. Coenzyme Q10 Monograph. Accessed Jan 14, 2019 at: https://naturalmedicines.therapeuticresearch.com/databases/food,-herbs-supplements/professional.aspx?productid=938

[3] Qu H. et al. (2018). The effect of statin treatment on circulating coenzyme Q10 concentrations: an updated meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Eur J Med Res. Nov 10;23(1):57.

[4] Health Canada. (2018). Coenzyme Q10 (Ubiquinone-10) Monograph. Accessed Jan 2, 2019 at: http://webprod.hc-sc.gc.ca/nhpid-bdipsn/atReq.do?atid=coenzyme.q10&lang=eng

[5] Hennesst DA. et al. (2016). Health Reports Population health impact of statin treatment in Canada. Accessed Jan 4, 2019 at: https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/82-003-x/2016001/article/14305-eng.htm

[6] Rosenson RS. et al. (2017). The Statin-Associated Muscle Symptom Clinical Index (SAMS-CI: Revision for Clinical use, Content Validation, and Inter-rater Reliability. Cadiovasc Drugs Ther.; 31(2): 179–186.

[7] Becker WJ. et al. (2015). Guideline for primary care management of headaches in adults. Can Fam Physician. Aug;61(8):670-9.

[8] Orr SL. (2016). Diet and nutraceutical interventions for headache management: A review of the evidence. Cephalalgia. Oct;36(12):1112-1133.