Co-Enzyme Q10

Apr 3, 2022

By Barret Procyshyn, Pharmacist at Dauphin Clinic Pharmacy

The vitamin, mineral and supplement aisle in any pharmacy or grocery store has a lot of products to select from. There are new products showing up all the time in different brands and combinations. The same vitamin can have different strengths and formulations such as tablets, sublingual dissolving tablets, chewables, gummies, liquids and more. Selecting the right product can seem a little daunting. The solution to this is asking your pharmacist for help to select the right product at the right price point. While some products are often worth paying extra for the quality, at times you may be paying for brand power. Your pharmacist can help you find the right over the counter medication for you without spending unnecessary money, while keeping you healthy.

In the past decade Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) has increased in popularity. It is a co-enzyme and antioxidant that your body produces naturally, which can also be supplemented. An enzyme is a protein that functions as a catalyst to mediate and speed a chemical reaction. These chemical reactions in the body are what converts nutrients into energy. Antioxidants are man-made or natural substances which may prevent or delay some types of cell damage. They do this by neutralizing free radicals in your body. Free radicals are compounds that can cause harm if their levels become too high in your body. Free radicals form in excess from things like pollution, smoking, poor diet, and even poor sleeping habits. They're linked to multiple illnesses, including diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Your body is currently producing antioxidant defenses to help keep free radicals as bay.

When the free radicals outnumber antioxidants, it can lead to a state called oxidative stress and if prolonged can damage your DNA and other important molecules in your body. It may even cause cell death. Damage to your DNA increases your risk of cancer, and in theory plays a role in the aging process. While we know this occurs, we need much more science and research to fully understand the effects of free radical oxidation on specific diseases and illnesses.

We supplement antioxidants through our diet, as they are found in food, especially in fruits, vegetables, and other plant-based, whole foods. Several vitamins, such as vitamins E and C, are effective antioxidants. Antioxidant preservatives also play a crucial role in food production by increasing shelf life. In addition to the antioxidant role, our bodies use Coenzyme Q10 for both growth and maintenance of our cells. As we age CoQ10 levels decrease. Again, while there is more research needed, we know CoQ10 levels are lower in those who have heart disease, congestive heart failure and diabetes.

While found in meat, fish and nuts, the amount of CoQ10 in these dietary sources is not enough to significantly increase CoQ10 levels in your body. CoQ10 is generally safe to be supplemented for those with heart disease, heart valve replacement, diabetes, elevated cholesterol, mitochondrial diseases and to reduce the severity of migraine headaches. It may have a role in reducing blood pressure, assisting with the maintenance of heart muscle, and helping cell function. As CoQ10 plays a role in energy production, supplementation may help athletic performance, but this has shown tough to prove with testing. Sore muscles caused by cholesterol medication is very common and CoQ10 is often the go to fix for this issue.

While it is generally safe you should always speak to a health care professional before starting a supplement like CoQ10. Although rare some reported side effects include loss of appetite, abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhea, and sleep disturbances. It is usually recommended to take it in the morning with breakfast to reduce or eliminate the risk of adverse effects. Pregnancy and breast-feeding safety information has not been established. It may alter the effectiveness of blood thinners life warfarin so ensure you speak to a health care professional if you are considering taking them together.

If you have questions in the vitamins and minerals section or about the over-the-counter medications your family uses, talk to your pharmacist.

The information in this article is intended as a helpful guide only. It is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional advice. If you have any questions about your medications and what is right for you see your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care professional.


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