The National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health also mentions CoQ10 as a possible alternative and complementary therapy for fighting cancer.
Coenzyme Q10 is found in most of your body’s tissues, with the highest amounts in the heart, liver, pancreas, and kidneys. Most living organisms have CoQ10 in their bodies. Coenzymes such as this work with enzymes to produce energy and improve the use of oxygen in cells.
The coenzyme appears in high concentrations in the heart’s tissues and is thus essential to maintain this organ’s function. Peter H. Langsjoen, M.D. at University of Washington noted that severe heart disease correlates with low levels of CoQ10. Meat and fish contain small amounts.
Based on CoQ10′s natural function in the body, here is how scientists think the supplement works. By bolstering the effectiveness of your cells’ mitochondria (the energy furnaces of the cell) CoQ10 helps process fatty acids in your blood to usable energy. This positive effect on your blood also enhances your blood pressure levels.
Some also recognize this coenzyme as a powerful antioxidant that combats harmful cancer-causing free radicals in your body. In fact, your body’s supply of CoQ10 starts to deplete as you age, so this supplement may be important for maintaining overall health. However, studies have not yet shown that replenishing levels of CoQ10 is a factor in preventing disease.
People take CoQ10 for Parkinson’s, while others take it to improve their immune system and energy for exercise. Some other conditions CoQ10 is reputed to help:
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Alternative medicine guru Andrew Weil M.D. favors CoQ10 for its abilities to “protect cholesterol from oxidation, maintain health blood vessels, reduce the risk of plaque rupture, and support optimal functioning of the heart muscle.”
Coenzyme Q10 Research Results
A variety of clinical studies has been conducted on CoQ10 and the results appear to be good for immune function and overall health. Unlike many supplements for sale, CoQ10 appears to be quite safe and low in side effects. The University of California, Berkeley Wellness Newsletter calls CoQ10 a “safe” supplement. Side effects are limited. The only negative reports have been of stomach upset and dizziness.
Because CoQ10 may interact with some blood-clotting and diabetes medications, be sure to see your doctor if you are interested in taking this supplement and are also taking one of these medications. Since CoQ10 is fat-soluble, taking it with foods containing fat increases its level of absorption in the body.
This supplement is on the pricey side and can run $15 to $45 a month. You’ll see CoQ10 for sale in drug and health food stores in soft-gel capsules, tablets, wafers, and powder capsules. Our recommended online source for this supplement is BodyBuilding.com—they carry of plenty Coenzyme Q10 products!
Be aware that supplements or nutrients not tested by the FDA do not receive the same rigorous testing process of pharmaceuticals. However, support is growing for ‘alternative’ medicine, and clinical studies abound as examples of the widespread health benefits of many supplements, vitamins, and minerals.
The clinical research for CoQ10 is still in the early stages, and marketing claims for this and other supplements can tend to be exaggerated. However, the fact the FDA does not regulate herbs, vitamins, and dietary supplements leaves the consumer no choice but to do his own research, rather than miss out on potential benefits.