CoQ10 (Coenzyme10) is a molecule produced in your body, and it turns food into energy. It helps mitochondria during energy conversion and is necessary for human survival.
CoQ10 deficiency may cause heart problems, depression, Parkinson’s disease, migraines, male infertility or fibromyalgia.
As a supplement, it is most often used to help heart attack victims and people suffering from heart conditions.
What is CoQ10?
CoQ10 is an excellent supplement for overall energy and health. It will help you think and focus better, but it’s not a potent nootropic.
If you’re looking for a supplement to help you through a challenging project or event, CoQ10 alone won’t change your brain chemistry to give you the super concentration you need.
You can get CoQ10 from food sources, but the amount is insignificant. Peanuts, soybeans, broccoli and spinach are good vegetarian sources of this nutrient.
Meat eaters can get CoQ10 from sardines, mackerel, beef and reindeer (!) meat. CoQ10 shares similarities with Vitamin E and fish oil in that it benefits heart health and may prevent heart attacks.
CoQ10 is a good source of antioxidants and will give you a modest energy boost. It’s an excellent addition to your supplement stack if you’re over 40 or if you have a history of heart disease.
While it does show promise for migraines or depression, other supplements, such as 5-HTP, may be more helpful for those conditions.
CoQ10 is easy to find online and in vitamin and drug stores. It’s available in powder, soft gel and liquid form on most popular websites that sell supplements.
Ubiquinone, Ubiquinol, 4-benzoquinone
If you’re over 40 or always feel fatigued, there’s a chance you’re not getting enough CoQ10. When you’re in your 20s or 30s, your body can efficiently convert CoQ10 to ubiquinol.
When you turn 40 (give or take a few years), you lose this natural ability and need a more bioavailable form of CoQ10 that’s already converted into ubiquinol.
A 25% deficiency in CoQ10 is enough to cause heart disease or another illness, according to one researcher, Dr. Karl Folkers. Your heart needs a constant supply of CoQ10 to function properly.
As we age, the body is unable to extract CoQ10 from the food we eat, so supplementing with CoQ10 becomes necessary for many people.
Reviewers who use CoQ10 for fatigue, depression or migraines seem pleased overall with the supplement. Even users who saw no improvement in their situation reported no side effects or one minor side effect (eg, a headache).
There are a lot of discussions about which CoQ10 brand to buy, and how brands (and type- soft gel, powder, etc.) differ from one another, and which brands work better for depression, migraine, and other conditions.
As with any supplement, it’s important to read reviews and use the information to make the best decision for your health needs and ultimate goals.
When deciding what type of CoQ10 to buy, keep this in mind.
Ubiquinol, the reduced form of CoQ10 has been shown to be more effective than ubiquinone, the oxidized form.
A Japanese study showed mice given ubiquinol had a 51% slower rate of aging and 40% fewer signs of aging than mice that received ubiquinone.
Bulletin board and social media users have experienced positive results after using CoQ10 for migraines, low energy, and depression.
“I’ve been taking it for over ten years, and it has been very effective in reducing both the duration and severity of my migraines,” writes Reddit user Dimples McGraw.
On the Surviving Antidepressants.org message board, user Zepplin2011 wrote, “I have been having good results with coq10 for my fatigue and depression
… I have experienced and improvement in energy and mood and take 200mg on an empty stomach.” User Silver Star wrote”Hey everyone! I am here to let you know that coQ10 really helped my energy levels about two weeks after I took it.”
Benefits and Effects
CoQ10 is often considered a drug-free alternative for eliminating migraines by revving up your mitochondria, or your cellular energy system.
COQ10 invigorates both the fatty parts of your cells and the water in them. Many people who develop migraines are deficient in CoQ10, and a study conducted on migraine patients (with or without aura), showed a reduction in migraine frequency.
Maintaining a moderate to high level of CoQ10 in your body is critical for energy production. If you’re working out, running a marathon, or having an all-night study session, CoQ10 will keep you lively without jitters or too-intense focus.
A Japanese study showed athletes (as well as the elderly) demonstrated better energy levels when given CoQ10 versus a placebo.
People with fibromyalgia experienced more energy and pain reduction when given 300 mg of CoQ10 every day for 40 days.
It also helps support the muscular and immune systems, which may be compromised in fibromyalgia patients.
A study conducted on active men age 19-44 showed CoQ10 had some capacity for reducing exercise-induced stress, though the results weren’t conclusive.
CoQ10 has also been shown to reduce fatigue in sedentary men after bouts of intense exercise, but it’s not known if CoQ10’s benefits extend to regular (not exercise-induced) fatigue.
CoQ10 appears to reduce the oxidative and nitrosylative stress associated with depression. An Egyptian study indicated CoQ10 lowered depressive effects and increased speed in a swimming test on rats.
The rats in the study were subjected to stress and depression and then given CoQ10 for three weeks.
Scientists observed antioxidant activity in the hippocampus of mice treated with CoQ10. This antioxidant activity was accompanied by a reduction in stress and depression.
Similar studies have yet to be conducted on humans, but CoQ10’s antioxidant activity may be helpful in preventing depression and the age-related damage in the hippocampus that leads to Alzheimer’s disease.
(The hippocampus is not only critical for emotional responses, but it’s also essential for making new memories.)
How It Works
CoQ10 improves mitochondria function in your cells. This co-enzyme converts the food you eat into energy and contains antioxidants to fight damaged particles called free radicals.
Antioxidants may neutralize free radicals and prevent the inflammation that causes disease. CoQ10 is present in tissues throughout your body, but your body only contains between one and one and a half grams total of CoQ10.
CoQ10 works in every cell of your body to produce ATP. Your heart, liver, and kidneys produce the most CoQ10 – which makes perfect sense since they need the most energy.
When CoQ10 produces energy in its oxidized form, it’s called ubiquinone. Its reduced form, ubiquinol, offers more antioxidants.
To synthesize CoQ10, your body goes through a process that involves over a dozen steps, nine vitamins, and the amino acid tyrosine. If you’re low on any of those nutrients, your body may not make all the CoQ10 it needs.
CoQ10 enhances blood flow and keeps blood vessels from clogging (atherosclerosis). It acts as a powerful antioxidant to fight LDL-damaging lipid peroxidation. Taking 100 mg of CoQ10 will double LDL-ubiquinol concentration to inhibit dangerous LDL oxidation.
You’ll usually need to use CoQ10 for four to 12 weeks, regardless of why you’re using it because it works by boosting enzyme activity over time.
The suggested range for general CoQ10 dosage is between 90 and 200 mg per day, with a 500mg upper limit.
For maximum antioxidant benefits, take 60-150 mg daily for two to 12 weeks. Since it’s fat soluble, you should take CoQ10 with food.
For a weak heart, take 30-600 mg of CoQ10 a day. Some patients have taken CoQ10 for a weak heart muscle for up to eight years, with or without heart medication.
Check with your doctor before taking CoQ10 for heart problems. You can take 200 mg of CoQ10 daily once a day for 12 weeks to prevent heart disease.
Treat Fibromyalgia with 300 mg CoQ10 once a day for nine months. Athletes should take between 200-300 mg of CoQ10 with breakfast to improve energy for the day’s training or other activities.
For migraines, take 150-300 mg of CoQ10 daily for up to three months.
Minor side effects of CoQ10 include:
- Abdominal Pain
Long-term use of CoQ10, (300 mg or more per day) may elevate liver enzyme levels, but liver toxicity hasn’t been reported due to extended use. If you’re allergic to idebenone or related substances, you shouldn’t take a CoQ10 supplement.
CoQ10 may reduce the effectiveness of blood-thinning medications and decrease the amount of insulin diabetics require. People who take statins for high cholesterol may experience lower levels of CoQ10.
CoQ10 is involved in so many body processes, using it may provide positive side effects. Studies show Co-Enzyme 10 may increase male fertility and sperm count.
CoQ10, Carnitine and Alpha Lipoic Acid
These nutrients work together to produce energy. This energy, called adenosine triphosphate (ATP), powers all cell activity.
Take 100 mg of CoQ10, 1,000 mg of carnitine and 200 mg of alpha lipoic acid daily to increase energy.
People with heart conditions should double the amount to 200 mg of CoQ10, 2,000 mg of carnitine, and 400 mg of alpha lipoic acid.
Always check with your physician before taking any supplements if you have congestive heart failure or other heart conditions.
CoQ10 and Citrulline Malate
Combine these supplements to have more energy before, during and after workouts.
Citrulline Malate provides more energy to muscle cells and eliminates ammonia from the body. CoQ10 replenishes your energy levels after exercise by producing more ATP.
Take 100-200 mg CoQ10 with breakfast and dinner, along with 2-3 grams of Citrulline Malate.
1. Vitamin E
CoQ10 is similar in action to Vitamin E. It’s fat-soluble vitamin aids in making red blood cells. People with lots of Vitamin E in their systems have a lower chance of developing heart disease.
Vitamin E is found in many more foods the CoQ10, including eggs, avocado, asparagus, wheat germ and nuts.
CoQ10 vs. Vitamin E Comparison:
- CoQ10 and Vitamin E contain antioxidants to prevent free radicals from damaging cells.
- There are many studies regarding Vitamin E and cancer with mixed results; CoQ10 is thought to improve the immune system, but it hasn’t been the subject of many anti-cancer studies.
- Vitamin E is considered effective for menstrual migraines, CoQ10 is useful for all types of migraines. [source]
2. PQQ ( Pyrroloquinoline quinine)
PQQ, a non-protein chemical, or co-factor, aids mitochondrial health and cell function. Your body produces PQQ, but some people need more of it from supplements.
CoQ10 vs. PQQ Comparison:
- PQQ stimulates the growth of new mitochondria in aging cells. CoQ10 maximizes mitochondrial function.
- PQQ offers neuroprotection for the brain and may safeguard against Parkinson’s disease. CoQ10 has strong antioxidant protection for all cells but isn’t specifically a neuroprotector.
- PQQ reduces the size of damaged areas in animal models that have suffered strokes. CoQ10 may also reduce damage after a stroke.
Taurine, an amino sulfonic acid, is found naturally in meat and fish and is used, in supplement form, to treat congestive heart failure, like CoQ10.
It is a common ingredient in energy drinks due to its ability to regulate minerals and water in the blood. When combined with caffeine, taurine may improve cognitive function.
CoQ10 vs. Taurine Comparison:
- Taurine is a favorite supplement of bodybuilders for improving mental and athletic performance. CoQ10 is sometimes used for enhanced cognitive function, but not to aid athletic performance.
- Both supplements are occasionally effective for treatment of heart failure.
- Taurine and CoQ10 have antioxidant qualities and can guard against harmful free radicals.
Healthy young people should have no problem producing all the CoQ10 they need on their own without using a supplement.
If you are interested in using it to treat migraines, depression or increase energy, be aware it may take a while to see results, but you will notice an increase in overall health when improvements for your condition are apparent.
CoQ10 isn’t a Smart Drug or nootropic, per see, but it does increase energy, which usually leads to better cognitive function and performance.
There are dozens, if not hundreds, of CoQ10 supplements to choose from on Amazon and other online supplement stores.