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Should You Take CoQ10?

author image Jamie Wise
Based in Chicago, Jamie Wise is a registered dietitian who has been writing professionally since 2007. She has been published in the American Dietetic Association's "Student Scoop" and multiple university publications. Wise holds a Bachelor of Science in nutritional sciences from the University of Arizona and completed her dietetic internship at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria, Ill.
Should You Take CoQ10?
CoQ10 is used widely in Japan for congestive heart failure. Photo Credit missRuta/iStock/Getty Images

Coenzyme Q-10, or CoQ10, is a fat-soluble, vitamin-like substance. It can be produced by the human body, consumed through food or chemically made. Touted for a variety of healing and preventive properties, many studies have proven to be inconclusive based on only small, short-term studies. Before adding CoQ10 to your diet, you should be aware of the conditions it treats, and what the research says. As with starting any new treatment, please consult your doctor first.

Coenzyme Q10 Health Claims

Should You Take CoQ10?
Coenzyme Q10 might also be referred to as ubiquinone. Photo Credit elderly men enjoying life during pension image by L. Shat from Fotolia.com

Coenzyme Q10 is known to be involved in energy production within the cells of the body. It also acts as an antioxidant that helps rid the body of free radicals, or toxins, from pollution, radiation or tobacco smoke. Some have touted CoQ10 as an age-defying vitamin based on the idea that when you are born, you have high levels of CoQ10. As you age, these levels diminish, thus the reasoning that with increased levels of CoQ10, you will live longer. However, this research has not been tested in humans.

CoQ10 Possibly Effective Health Claims

Should You Take CoQ10?
Consume natural sources of CoQ10, such as peanuts, from your diet. Photo Credit peanuts image by Radu Razvan from Fotolia.com

Other than claims of living a longer life, some research suggests that CoQ10 is possibly effective for lowering high blood pressure, improving immunity in HIV/AIDS and preventing migraine headaches. Perhaps the most promising use of CoQ10 is for those with heart failure combined with other medications. However, the American Heart Association does not recommend taking CoQ10 regularly until more research is done.

Dosings and Possible Side Effects

Should You Take CoQ10?
Smoking can reduce your CoQ10 stores in the body. Photo Credit smoking image by Alison Bowden from Fotolia.com

CoQ10 can be found in organ meats such as the heart, kidney and liver. You can also reap the benefits from foods such as peanuts, mackerel, sardines and soybean oil. If you decide to take CoQ10 supplements, it is best to discuss this with your doctor first. For adults 18 and older, 50 to 1,200 milligrams daily should be safe. For best results, split up your dosing to two to three times each day, vs. one large dose. Common side effects might include nausea, loss of appetite, diarrhea or rash.

Safety First

Should You Take CoQ10?
Children and pregnant or breastfeeding women should avoid CoQ10. Photo Credit pregnant image by AGphotographer from Fotolia.com

Before adding CoQ10 to your diet, speak to your doctor to see if it could interfere with any pre-existing conditions you may have or medications you may be on. If you are on chemotherapy, or taking medications for high blood pressure or blood thinners, please be cautious and get your doctor's approval, as the drug combination could put your health at risk. Also, if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, it is safer to avoid CoQ10 as insufficient research exists on its efficacy and safety in this population.

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