Coenzyme Q10: CoQ10
Coenzyme Q10, also known as CoQ10 occurs naturally in cells in the body. It is an antioxidant that occurs naturally in some foods which some people also chose to take as a supplement.
Antioxidants are thought to be important to help the body fight the damaging effects of particles called free radicals. These can affect DNA and cell membranes.
Most people get enough CoQ10 from food, including liver, kidney, whole grains, oily fish and peanuts.
Coenzyme Q10 deficiency has been found in some medical conditions, but the NHS says it is not yet clear whether any deficiency is a cause of a disease or a side effect of it.
Although CoQ10 plays a key role in the body, most healthy people have enough CoQ10 naturally. There is no evidence that adding more - in the form of CoQ10 supplements - offers them benefit. Increasing age and some medical conditions are associated with decreasing levels of CoQ10. But even in these cases, it’s uncertain that adding CoQ10 will have an effect.
Nonetheless, CoQ10 has been used to treat many different conditions. There’s some evidence that CoQ10 supplements can help lower blood pressure slightly. A study published by the US National Institutes of Health says that some small clinical trials seem to show that coenzyme Q10 supplements can be used to lower blood pressure. However, it concludes, "larger trials are needed to determine if they are truly effective."
CoQ10 is also used in some parts of the world to treat heart failure and other heart conditions. One 2009 study in New Zealand of 236 patients with chronic heart failure concluded "there is an emerging evidence base in support of CoQ10 as an adjunctive therapy in CHF [ congestive heart failure]." But the evidence is conflicting and more studies are required.
Preliminary studies have been carried out on CoQ10 as a potential treatment for neurodegenerative disease, such as Alzheimer’s, but a study at Cornell University in the U.S. concluded that further, large studies are needed to confirm any benefits.
CoQ10 has also been studied as a treatment for migraine, low sperm count, cancer, HIV, muscular dystrophy, gum disease and many other conditions, however, the research has not found any conclusive benefits. Although CoQ10 is sometimes sold as an energy supplement, there is no evidence that it will boost energy in a typical person.
CoQ10 as a supplement
The daily recommended supplement dose for CoQ10 in adults is 30 to 200mg.
Action for ME says higher doses may be recommended for people with certain medical conditions, including chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS/ME).
For supplements to be sold with claims of being beneficial to aspects of a person's health, they have to be assessed by the European food regulator EFSA.
It has not approved any health claims for CoQ10 and has rejected claims that it:
- Helps with heart health, blood pressure and cholesterol
- Is necessary for the transformation of food into energy
- Helps with energy, physical activity, sports performance, intellectual effort and a healthy brain