Supplement Ingredient Spotlight: CoQ10
No matter which name you choose to call it by – CoQ10, Coenzyme Q10, Ubiquinone, or Ubiquinol – over the last 60 years this supplement ingredient has grown into one of the most immediately recognizable dietary supplements on the market today.
Ingredient Spotlight: CoQ10 aka Coenzyme 10
Categorized as a pseudo vitamin, which is the go-to term for vitamins that aren't essential (i.e. the body has the ability to produce them on its own), CoQ10 supplements have been recognized by researchers and consumers alike for their ability to support overall health and well-being via its roles as an antioxidant and co-enzyme.
What Is CoQ10?
The chemical composition of CoQ10 was first discovered and recorded by researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1957. By the 1980s the number of clinical trials dedicated to potential applications for how important CoQ10 is, saw a significant increase. This increase helped to lay the groundwork for today's CoQ10 market.
According to a recent report published by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (a subdivision of the NIH), approximately 1.3% of all U.S. adults report taking CoQ10 supplements - that works out to nearly 3.3 million adults.
What Are the Ingredients in CoQ10?
Found in many foods, and available as a supplement, Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a natural antioxidant synthesized by the body. It comes in two forms: ubiquinol, the active antioxidant form, and ubiquinone, the oxidized form, which the body partially converts to ubiquinol.
What Does CoQ10 Do?
Coenzyme Q10 is an antioxidant that's recognized, most often, for playing a key role in how the body's cells create energy.
The highest concentrations of CoQ10 (in the human body) can be found in the heart, liver, kidneys, and pancreas, but scientific research has demonstrated that the levels of CoQ10 produced by the body will naturally decrease with age. So, to continue the health benefits of CoQ10, it is beneficial to supplement the body with CoQ10.
What are the Benefits of COQ10?
- Cardiovascular Support
Separate studies have shown that treatment with CoQ10 could help with increasing levels of energy production back to optimal levels, diminish oxidative damage, and boost heart function. All of these qualities can aid the treatment of heart failure.
As women age, the production of CoQ10 gradually slows down and makes the body less effective at protecting the eggs from oxidative damage. CoQ10 supplements seem to help and may even improve egg quality and quantity.
- Promotes Healthy Skin
Applying CoQ10 directly to the skin can reduce the damage from hormonal imbalances, cellular damage, and UV rays by enhancing the energy production in skin cells and promoting antioxidant protection.
- Promotes Cognitive Health
The brain is vulnerable to oxidative damage due to the presence of high fatty acid content and its high demand for oxygen. CoQ10 is believed to reduce these harmful compounds.
- Supports Healthy Lung Function
People with increased oxidative damage in the lungs and poor antioxidant protection often have low levels of CoQ10. Supplementing with CoQ10 has been shown to help.
Studies & Research Supporting CoQ10 Supplementation
What are the health benefits of taking CoQ10? In the six decades since it was first discovered, scientific research has suggested that CoQ10 may help support:
- Cardiovascular Health
- Cognitive Health
- Emotional/Mood Health
- Immune Health
- Sexual Health (Specifically fertility in men)
When it comes to all of the areas of health that we've listed here (and the handful that we haven't) there's still more room for additional research to validate CoQ10's effects.
Currently, the FDA does not recognize CoQ10 as a treatment for any specific medical condition (hence it's generally accepted status as a dietary supplement capable of contributing to overall health).
Manufacturing Supplements with CoQ10
That said, there have been a number of studies (especially over the last decade or so) addressing the bioavailability of CoQ10. While oil suspension & soft-gels remains one the most popular options, the potential (and motivation) for discovering new delivery methods that enhance bioavailability is there.
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- White, J. (lead reviewer); National Cancer Institute (NCI) (14 May 2014). "PDQ® Coenzyme Q10". NCI, National Institutes of Health, U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services. Retrieved 29 June 2014.