CoQ10 for focus, memory, and brain health
CoQ10 promotes mitochondria health within the brain and protects against oxidative damage that plays a role in neurodegenerative disease (4).
Mitochondrial dysfunction is common in neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, and Huntington’s disease. Due to the role of CoQ10 in the brain’s mitochondria, CoQ10 shows therapeutic potential for complementary use in a wide range of cognitive conditions (4).
Your brain consumes a huge amount of energy compared to other organs and tissues in the body. As metabolically active as it is, this also means your brain is especially vulnerable to the damaging effects of free radicals. In fact, in one review of cognitive health, researchers state specifically that, “a key feature of the cognitive aging process is the body’s increased vulnerability to damage caused by free radicals” (5).
Even in healthy individuals, CoQ10 can still exert neuroprotective effects. Elements with the ability to support endothelial function, such as CoQ10, may be associated with increased cerebral blood flow, enhancing the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the brain (6).
Read more: Early Onset Dementia is on the rise. Here’s why and how to protect your brain health.
Why do cardiologists recommend CoQ10?
Statins are prescribed to treat high cholesterol in adults with an increased risk of cardiovascular events. While generally well-tolerated in most adults, statins are commonly associated with muscle complaints, ranging from mild to severe pain, cramps, and weakness. Statins reduce cholesterol production by inhibiting a pathway that also produces compounds needed for normal mitochondria function. This includes ubiquinone, or CoQ10 (7).
Since CoQ10 is fundamentally essential to mitochondrial function and cellular energy production (ATP), the depletion of CoQ10 and resulting mitochondrial dysfunction is thought to be the main underlying cause of muscle pain associated with statin use. Supplementation with CoQ10 is thought to ameliorate this side effect.
CoQ10 and Heart Disease
Those suffering from congestive heart failure (CHF) have low levels of CoQ10 in both blood and myocardial (heart) tissue. We know that CoQ10 reduces oxidative stress, which is a key marker of mortality in heart failure (8). But perhaps the strongest evidence supporting the use of CoQ10 for CHF comes from a randomized, controlled trial that showed a 43% relative reduction in major cardiac events (death, hospitalization, etc.) following supplementation with CoQ10 (9).
It’s important to note, however, that these reductions occurred after participants had been supplementing CoQ10 for a period of 2 years.
This antioxidant is very beneficial for heart health and cholesterol–especially if you’re on any cholesterol-lowering medications.
Although more studies are needed, one meta-analysis suggests that CoQ10 may help reduce total cholesterol and increase HDL or “good” cholesterol (10).
There’s also some evidence that CoQ10 can reduce the markers of metabolic syndrome, which is a collection of symptoms including hypertension, high cholesterol, and blood sugar imbalance.
Can CoQ10 improve COVID recovery?
There are numerous trials and studies ongoing to better understand the possible benefits of CoQ10 for Covid treatment and/or recovery (11).
One proposed notion is that Covid may negatively impact mitochondria, making it harder for cells to produce energy (12). This would account for some of the lingering symptoms, like fatigue and difficulty concentrating, which many people report after the initial infection has subsided. One study suggests that CoQ10 and selenium may be effective to mitigate some of this mitochondrial dysfunction, restoring the body’s energy-producing powerhouses (13).
Additionally, CoQ10 is a powerful antioxidant, and one of its primary functions is to help prevent oxidative damage to cells. Coenzyme Q10 may offer supportive benefits for lung tissue and your immune system.
What is better—CoQ10 or ubiquinol?
There are two types of CoQ10 you’ll see listed in dietary supplements: ubiquinone and ubiquinol. In comparison, ubiquinol is more effective at the cellular level. The inactive form–ubiquinone–has to undergo a few conversion steps in your body before your cells can utilize it.
The efficiency of oral CoQ10 can be improved based on how it’s prepared. CoQ10 supplements are available as tablets, powder-filled capsules, and emulsified soft gel capsules. Because it’s fat-soluble, an emulsifier improves absorption. Data mostly shows that CoQ10 has superior bioavailability in its reduced form (ubiquinol) than in its oxidized form (ubiquinone), although both have been used in clinical studies (14).
In addition to adding a CoQ10 supplement to boost your levels, you can also eat foods high in CoQ10, like:
- Grass-fed beef
- Organ meats, like liver and kidney
- Cooked spinach or broccoli
- Peanuts and soybeans
- Fish, especially mackerel, tuna fish, salmon.
Grass-fed, or naturally-raised animal proteins, contain more antioxidants per serving than conventionally raised animal products (15). Yet another reason why it’s important to choose the best quality food when possible.
Read more: 5 Greens You Should be Eating More Of
Can I take CoQ10 on an empty stomach?
CoQ10 is fat-soluble, meaning it’s best absorbed with a meal that contains sufficient amounts of fat. Take this supplement with a balanced meal instead of on an empty stomach.
The best time to take CoQ10 varies, but studies support taking it either with breakfast or in the evening with dinner to maximize absorption.
While your body does make CoQ10 naturally, it’s still important to let your integrative provider know if you plan on adding a new supplement to your routine since some medications can interact with dietary supplements.
CoQ10 doesn’t generally have any safety concerns, though higher doses may reduce blood pressure slightly or cause a minor upset stomach.
Healthy Living with Integrative Medicine
CoQ10 is a powerful antioxidant that’s crucial for the optimal health of your brain and heart. But it also has other benefits, like reducing inflammation and helping to reverse damage from free radicals. As we age, our production of CoQ10 decreases, making us more susceptible to the damaging effects of these harmful molecules.
If you’re looking for an edge in keeping your body healthy as you get older, consider adding CoQ10 supplements to your diet. This article can help you figure out if CoQ10 is right for you!