Question: There is five foot shelf of CoQ10 products in my vitamin store and I have also seen it on the label of moisturizers and serums. What is it and should I being using it? And if yes, what form should I buy?
Answer: This seemingly simple question has a complicated answer. Let’s start with the easy part. CoQ 10 is similar to a vitamin and is a powerful antioxidant. It is made by the body and is essential for providing energy to the cells. As with so many self made substances, the levels drop both as we age and in health problems such as Alzheimer’s, diabetes, some cancers, Parkinson’s disease and heart disease.
The assocition between lower levels of CoQ10 and health issues have led to the study of the benefits of CoQ 10 supplementation. It has been extensively studied in both animals and humans– and yet there is no consensus. Many animal studies indicate CoQ10 can slow aging, strengthen muscles and reduce heart stress. But literally hundreds of studies with humans had ended with conflicted results. It seems that for every small study that shows benefits, there are seven with no benefits. ?????
How Much CoQ10 Do We Need?
The decision to add CoQ10 to your supplement routinue starts with a look at how much of this pseudo vitamin we actually need. Scientists estimates that we require 3-5 mg/day. About 75% of CoQ10 we need is manufactured by the body and 25% comes from our diet. And here we get on a bit of solid information. The best food sources of CoQ10 are beef and chicken– about 2mg in a three ounce serving. Fruits, vegetables, grains and dairy have very small amounts., so if you are a vegetarian or vegan, you may be genuinely low in CoQ10.
There are many forms of supplements availble in hard shell, soft gel, sprays and powders that range from 20mg to 600mg in each dose. Most experts would agree that its safe to take a 20mg supplement several times a week. Because it is fat soluable it will be better absorbed when taken with meals. It can genuinely give you so much of an energy boost that it should be taken in the morning to avoid problems with insomnia.
Traditional doctors are often reluctant to prescribe CoQ10 because it can interfere with medications for diabetes, high blood pressure and chemotherapy. In fact, both the American Heart Association and the American Cancer Society do not recommend taking CoQ10.
Bottom Line: If you don’t eat beef or chicken, you can consider taking small ( 20 mg) amounts of CoQq10 several times a week to supply what you are missing from your diet. But right now there is just not enough evidence to use CoQ10 therapeutically to manage serious health problems. IMO future studies will demonstrate both its true value and the best way to get benefits, but right not we do not have the needed info.
In a second post, I will explore the use of CoQ10 in skin care products– and how to make your own.