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Coenzyme Q10: Does Your Body Need More?

What is coenzyme Q10?

CoQ10, also known as ubiquinone, is an antioxidant and is critical to the biologic process of mitochondrial respiration that helps to form ATP (energy). Our bodies product it naturally and our cells use CoQ10 for growth and maintenance. One of the hallmarks of aging is a decline in energy metabolism in many tissues due to decreased levels of CoQ10 the effects can present most prominently in the liver, heart and skeletal muscle.

What are its uses?

CoQ10 can be used for deficiency and in patient with Heart Failure, Hypertension and other Cardiovascular Diseases. It also plays a major role in carbohydrate metabolism which has been shown to support blood sugar balance already within normal levels. In addition, enhanced ATP production leads to improved neuronal function and neurological health.

What is the suggested dose range?

It is suggested to administer 10 to 300 mg/day of coenzyme Q10 in either single or divided doses. However, studies show that split dosing (twice daily versus once daily) may be superior to single daily dosing. Taking CoQ10 with fat containing foods such as peanut butter has significantly improved absorption. Daily doses over 300 mg in patients with liver problems should be avoided since liver enzymes may be affected.

What are symptoms of CoQ10 deficiency?

Deficiency can result from either impaired synthesis, increased tissue demands or drug-induced depletion of CoQ10. Many elderly patients may have increased CoQ10 requirements due to the natural decline of levels that occur with age which may be partly responsible for age-related deterioration of the immune system.

It is also common to see deficiency in individuals with heart disease or cardiovascular diseases in which patients require increased tissue levels of CoQ10. In one study, 12 patients with stable angina pectoris were treated with CoQ10 (150 mg/day for 4 weeks). The frequency of anginal attacks was reduced by 53% compared to placebo.

Another common cause of deficiency is in patients who take statins. Statins can decrease CoQ10 in muscle tissue which leads to myopathies (muscle pain).

Deficiency can also present as fatigue and “cloudy thinking”.

If you are currently taking any of the following medications – speak to your pharmacist about supplementing with CoQ10: gemfibrozil, tricyclic antidepressants, clonidine, beta blockers, hydralazine, thiazides.

What are symptoms of CoQ10 excess?

o Diarrhea, dyspepsia, GI discomfort, nausea, fatigue and headache

When might you need to use CoQ10 supplementation?

o Statin related myopathies

o Cardiovascular disease

Do’s and Don’ts for use of CoQ10

Use the following medications with caution:

o Warfarin: since CoQ10 is structurally similar to K-vitamin and can decrease the effectiveness of warfarin. Monitor INR.

o CoQ10 can increase the effects of antihypertensives

o CoQ10 can interact with thyroid medications and affect hormone levels – monitor and use with caution

Be sure to discontinue use of CoQ10 2 weeks prior to surgery since it can interfere with blood pressure control.

What to look for and be aware of when searching for an effective CoQ10 product.

Nanoparticle and solubilized CoQ10 have better bioavailability. To improve absorption, CoQ10 must be dissolved and transported with a lipid carrier. Our CoQ10 product of choice is by Ortho Molecular and this formulation contains Vitamin E as a lipid carrier to enhance solubility, absorption and bioavailability of CoQ10.

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