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 pseudovitamin, 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 wellbeing via its roles as an antioxidant and coenzyme.
CoQ10: A (Very) Brief History
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 CoQ10 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’s CoQ10’s role in the body?
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.
Studies & Research Supporting CoQ10 Supplementation
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
Currently, the most popular delivery method for CoQ10 is still in oil suspension and a soft-gel capsule.
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.