Cells use sugar to help create the energy the body needs to carry out internal processes, and Coenzyme Q10 is an important part of that process. The body makes and stores CoQ10, and it's also found in foods such as meat, fish, oils and nuts, as well as laboratory-made supplements. CoQ10 was first isolated and identified in 1957, and Japan began manufacturing the coenzyme in large quantities in the 1970s. The Life Extension Foundation introduced commercially produced CoQ10 to the United States for sale in 1983. Subsequent research on CoQ10 is limited, but the substance has shown promising effects for some conditions and diseases. CoQ10 is sold as a supplement and is not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as a treatment for any medical condition. Always check with your doctor before taking CoQ10 or any supplement.
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Some of CoQ10's biggest benefits are on the heart. People with heart failure may have low levels of CoQ10, and when the substance is combined with traditional medications, it may help reduce common problems associated with the condition, such as fluid in the lungs and swelling in the legs, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. People who have had a heart attack may be less likely to experience subsequent heart attacks and chest pain if they start taking CoQ10 within 72 hours of the initial heart attack, according to a 1998 study published in "Cardiovascular Drugs and Therapy." Patients with heart problems should always check with their cardiologists before adding CoQ10 to their treatment plans.
High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is one of the biggest health concerns in the United States, with about 1 in 3 adults having the condition, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. High blood pressure can lead to heart failure, stroke and kidney problems. Taking CoQ10 may help reduce blood pressure, but it may take up to three months to take effect, explains the University of Maryland Medical Center. CoQ10 is sometimes combined with other blood pressure-lowering medications to help reduce blood pressure further.
CoQ10 is sometimes advertised as an anti-aging supplement when taken orally or used in skin care products. CoQ10 levels in the body do decline with age, explains the Linus Pauling Institute, but the substance has not been found to increase the life spans of rodents in laboratory studies. Cell damage from free radicals might be reduced by CoQ10 since the coenzyme acts as an antioxidant, a substance that helps neutralize free radicals.
Other Potential Benefits
CoQ10 can be quite effective in preventing migraines. A 2005 study published in "Neurology" found that the frequency of migraine attacks in people who took 100 milligrams of CoQ10 three times a day for three months was significantly reduced compared to those who took a placebo. The coenzyme may also help those with chronic medical conditions. The National Institutes of Health reports that CoQ10 is possibly effective for helping slow the decline of people with Parkinson's disease, enhance the immune system of people with HIV and AIDS and improve physical ability in people with muscular dystrophy.