Some of the most common dietary dietary supplements used in the U.S. today are omega-3 and CoQ10. They're often consumed individually or together in order to improve brain and heart health. You can even find supplements with the two compounds combined.
Omega-3s are a type fatty acids — commonly found in fatty fish, such as salmon or mackerel. Conenzyme Q10 naturally occurs in the body and exists in many foods. It's a nutrient that acts as an antioxidant, protecting cells from damage, and participates in metabolic activities.
When taken supplementally, both provide benefit in addressing inflammation, boosting your heart function and keeping your brain functioning optimally. One is not necessarily better than the other.
Importance of CoQ10 and Omega-3
Your body uses CoQ10 to help generate energy within each of your cells. CoQ10 is naturally consumed through food, including organ meats, beef, sardines, spinach and cauliflower, or is manufactured by your body. Your body's CoQ10 production levels start to drop off after the age of 20, however.
Omega-3 is an essential fatty acid, meaning that it is vital for healthy growth but cannot be effectively synthesized by the body. Omega-3 is necessary for the construction of healthy cell membranes and is an important component of the myelin sheaths in the nervous system, the insulation on the wiring of the nerves.
Read more: The Best Vitamins for Heart Health
Function of CoQ10
CoQ10 is an antioxidant so it protects your cells against the free radical damage caused by pollution, sun exposure and daily life. CoQ10 may also support your immune system and can even slow the growth of cancerous cells.
Both CoQ10 and Omega-3 have been found to have anti-inflammatory effects that protect you against and slow the progression of Parkinson's Disease, lower blood pressure and keep your heart healthy.
Function of Omega-3
Omega-3 has several different forms. DHA and EPA are two crucial types that are found in cold-water fish, such as mackerel, salmon and cod. ALA — or alpha-linolenic acid — is another type of omega-3 found in plants sources such as nuts and seeds. ALA is less effectively synthesized by the body, but still offers benefits.
Omega-3 has been found to reduce the risk of heart attack both in people with and without diagnosed heart disease. It seems to reduce the risk of irregular heartbeat and to lower cholesterol and increase blood circulation, according to the American Heart Association.
A report in the 2006 issue of "The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry" notes there is a clear benefit of Omega-3 consumption for both bipolar and unipolar depression when used in conjunction with traditional medication.
Sources & Dosage of Omega-3
Consuming oily fish outweighs the potential risks of mercury or other pollutant contamination associated with these dietary choices. The American Heart Association recommends eating oily fish at least twice per week for older adults with or without diagnosed heart disease. If you do have heart disease, the AHA recommends one gram of Omega-3 per day, whether from oily fish or supplements. If you prefer not to consume fish, omega-3 in supplement form suffices.
Read more: Omega-3 Food List
Sources & Dosage of CoQ10
Since there's not enough CoQ10 available in food to fulfill the body's needs, a dietary supplement rounds out your needs.
As a dietary supplement, there are no FDA guidelines for dosage; however, the University of Maryland Medical Center recommends a dose of 30 milligrams to 200 milligrams per day.
Taking omega-3 or CoQ10 isn't really an "either/or" choice. Both are beneficial and can complement each other as part of a regular supplement regimen.
Before you take either supplement — or both — consult with your doctor. Supplements are not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, so it's important to find out about possible drug interactions and contraindications.
- Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology: Risk Assessment for Coenzyme Q10
- American Heart Association: Frequently Asked Questions About Fats
- Health News Digest: Fish Oil Becomes Most Popular Dietary Supplement
- American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: n-3 Fatty Acids from Fish or Fish-oil Supplements, But Not Alpha-linolenic Acid, Benefit Cardiovascular Disease Outcomes in Primary--and Secondary--Prevention Studies: A Systematic Review
- National Cancer Institute: Coenzyme Q10
- Journal of Clinical Psychiatry: Omega-3 fatty Acids: Evidence Basis for Treatment and Future Research in Psychiatry
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Coenzyme Q10
- Nutrition Express: Omega-3 and CoQ10 (ubiquinol) Support Heart Health