This body-produced substance helps you create energy and functions as an antioxidant.

The human body is incredible. Given the right nutrition and care, your body can produce everything you need to grow and maintain a healthy lifestyle. One of the most versatile substances the body makes is coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10).

What is it?

Essentially, CoQ10 helps convert the food we eat into energy. It also works as a powerful antioxidant. Research from Oregon State University and the University of Maryland Medical Center shows that CoQ10 is found in virtually every cell in the body. The highest levels are found in the heart, liver, kidneys and pancreas.

As an antioxidant, CoQ10 helps fight damaging particles in the body, sometimes called free radicals. These particles can harm cell membranes and tamper with DNA. Many researchers believe free radicals contribute to the aging process and a number of other health conditions including heart disease and cancer.

A study published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information shows free radical damage increases as we age. If not neutralized by antioxidants like CoQ10, it leads to the steady decline in certain body functions including energy metabolism in the liver, heart and skeletal muscle.

Various impacts

The University of Maryland Medical Center cites several different studies when describing the various uses for CoQ10 and its impact on certain health conditions. Many of the prescription medications used to combat chronic health problems lower the body’s natural levels of CoQ10. These medications include certain beta blockers for high blood pressure, tricyclic antidepressants and fibric acid derivatives for battling cholesterol.

Coenzym Q10 Food Sources

Food Serving CoQ10
Beef, fried 3 ounces (size of deck of cards) 2.6mg
Chicken, fried 3 ounces 1.4 mg
Peanuts, roasted 1 ounce (size of a matchbox) .8 mg
Pistachio nuts, roasted 1 ounce .6 mg
Broccoli, boiled ½ cup, chopped (handful) .5 mg

 

After a heart attack

One clinical study found
that people who took CoQ10 supplements within three days of a heart attack may be less likely to have a subsequent attack or chest pain. There was also a possible reduction in the risk of dying from heart disease among those same study subjects.

High blood pressure

In 12 clinical studies involving small numbers of people, CoQ10 was shown to lower blood pressure. In some of the patients, it took four to 12 weeks before the  rst change was recorded. There were also studies that showed no positive results from using CoQ10.

Preliminary studies

Several studies are underway to determine the positive impacts CoQ10 can have on the treatment of Parkinson’s disease, angina, migraine prevention and other conditions.

Where to find it

Foods rich in CoQ10 include beef, poultry, fish, soybeans, canola oils and nuts. Fruits, vegetables, eggs and most dairy products contain moderate amounts of the substance (see chart). Depending on the cooking process (boil, broil, grill, frying), as much as 32 percent of the CoQ10 is lost. When those same foods were boiled, the levels of CoQ10 did not change.

Most CoQ10 supplements come in 100-200 mg doses. As with any supplement, please consult your primary care physician before adding it to your daily regimen.