Coenzyme Q10 is required by every cell in your body. You make most of the substance, but you can get some of it by eating meat and seafood, according to the Linus Pauling Institute. Two forms of coenzyme Q10 exist. Ubiquinone is found in most coenzyme Q10 supplements. The body changes ubiquinone to the antioxidant form, ubiquinol, which then enters the blood inside lipoproteins and moves to various tissues. Ubiquinol also can be purchased as a supplement. Coenzyme Q10 supplements are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. Coenzyme Q10 may be helpful for a number of conditions.
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According to MedlinePlus, studies show coenzyme Q10 may lower blood pressure. If you take medication for high blood pressure, you may be able to decrease your dose. Check with your doctor before making any changes to your medications. There is some evidence that coenzyme Q10 is effective for lowering isolated systolic hypertension by up to 26 percent. Isolated systolic hypertension describes the condition in which only the systolic, or top number taken in a blood pressure reading is high. This often occurs in the elderly.
Starting coenzyme Q10 within 72 hours of a heart attack and continuing it for one year appears to lower the risk of subsequent non-fatal heart attacks, according to MedlinePlus.
The American Cancer Institute reports that studies done in laboratories, some using animals, indicate that coenzyme Q10 may help the body fight infection and certain cancers. In the lab, coenzyme Q10 stopped concentrations of cancer cells from growing. It also helped protect the hearts of animals given an anticancer chemotherapy drug called doxorubicin, which can damage heart muscles. Studies still need to be done to prove effectiveness in humans.
According to MedlinePlus, coenzyme Q10 taken orally helps prevent migraine headaches. It seems to decrease migraine frequency by up to 30 percent in adults, although it can take much as three months to see the benefits. It shows no benefit in treating existing migraines.
Some research indicates that coenzyme Q10 slows decline in people in the early stages of Parkinson’s disease. However, it does not seem to help people with mid-stage Parkinson’s, reports MedlinePlus.
Side Effects and Interactions
Side effects of coenzyme Q10 supplementation vary, according to MedlinePlus. Some people experience loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or allergic skin rashes. These effects can usually be reduced by dividing the dose and taking it at different times of the day. People with low blood pressure should use coenzyme Q10 with caution since it can lower blood pressure further. Children and pregnant or breast-feeding women should only use it under a doctor’s supervision. There is a potential for interaction with some chemotherapy and high blood pressure drugs and with the blood thinner, warfarin. Consult your doctor before using coenzyme Q10.