Regular coenzyme q10 (CoQ10) dosage is sometimes used to treat ailments like migraines, heart conditions and Parkinson's disease. While Coenzyme Q10 is a naturally produced antioxidant essential for cell growth and maintenance, consumers should be aware of coenzyme q10 side effects when using it as a supplement.
Coenzyme Q10 Side Effects
In the U.S., 1.3 percent of adults use CoQ10 supplements, and that rate has increased since 2007, according to National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NIH). NIH also reports that, although mild, a range of CoQ10 side effects are possible. Whether taking CoQ10 as a tablet, capsule or by injection into a vein, be aware of the following side effects reported by National Cancer Institute:
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- Higher levels of liver enzymes
- Pain in the upper abdomen
- Inability to fall sleep or stay asleep
- Sensitivity to light
As with any supplement, be sure to check with your health care provider before using CoQ10 to determine if these supplements are right for your individual needs. According to Mayo Clinic, if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, do not take CoQ10 supplements, as the effects have not been established.
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Check for Drug Interactions
Drugs that are used to lower cholesterol, blood pressure or blood sugar levels may decrease the effects of CoQ10, according to NIH. CoQ10 may change the way the body uses the blood thinner Warfarin and insulin. In addition to interacting negatively with these drugs, CoQ10 may not be compatible with some types of cancer treatments.
The NIH points out that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not approved the use of CoQ10 as a medical treatment, and its interaction with some medications is not known. In addition, supplement manufacturing is not regulated, so all batches and brands of CoQ10 supplements may not be the same.
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Do Your Research
Much of the research on CoQ10's ability to treat or prevent medical ailments is inconclusive. Below is an assessment of current CoQ10 research:
- According to NIH, only a few studies have looked at whether CoQ10 might help prevent heart disease, and their results are inconclusive. Research on the effects of CoQ10 on heart failure is also inconclusive. A review of several studies in the February 2015 issue of Interactive Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery found some evidence that CoQ10 can reduce the risk of some heart surgery complications.
- Mayo Clinic reports mixed findings on the effectiveness of CoQ10 for muscle pain caused specifically by the cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins.
- A multiple-study review in the March 2016 issue of the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews concluded that CoQ10 does not significantly alleviate hypertension.
- A March 2017 study published in the peer-reviewed journal Acta Neurologica Belgica found evidence that CoQ10 "might reduce the frequency of headaches," but more research is needed to determine its effectiveness in this area.
- A study published in JAMA Neurology in May 2014 showed that CoQ10, even in higher-than-usual doses, didn't improve symptoms in patients with early Parkinson's disease. A February 2017 evaluation of this and several other studies on this subject published in Neurological Sciences concluded that CoQ10 is not helpful for Parkinson's symptoms.
- According to NIH, CoQ10 has also been studied for a variety of other conditions, including Lou Gehrig's disease, Down syndrome, Huntington's disease and male infertility, but the research is too limited for any conclusions to be drawn.
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- Mayo Clinic: "Coenzyme Q10"
- National Cancer Institute: "Coenzyme Q10 (PDQ®)–Patient Version"
- National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health: "Coenzyme Q10"
- American Academy of Neurology and the American Headache Society: "Headaches"
- National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health: "Use of Complementary Health Approaches in the U.S."
- National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health: "Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)"
- JAMA Neurology: "A Randomized Clinical Trial of High-Dosage Coenzyme Q10 in Early Parkinson Disease"
- Interactive Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery: "Prophylactic Treatment with Coenzyme Q10 in Patients Undergoing Cardiac Surgery: Could an Antioxidant Reduce Complications? A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis."
- Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: "Blood Pressure Lowering Efficacy of Coenzyme Q10 for Primary Hypertension."
- American Academy of Neurology and the American Headache Society: "Study Shows Coenzyme Q10 May Prevent Migraine"
- Neurological Sciences: "The Efficacy and Safety of Coenzyme q10 in Parkinson's Disease: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials"
- Acta Neurologica Belgica: "Effectiveness of Coenzyme q10 in Prophylactic Treatment of Migraine Headache: An Open-Label, Add-On, Controlled Trial"