Coenzyme Q10 – sometimes spelled CoQ10 – is a naturally occurring compound found in many tissues in your body. You can also find it in food sources like meat, spinach and peanuts.
This coenzyme was first identified in 1957 by scientists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Enzyme Institute. But what do coenzymes do? They assist enzymes to complete their tasks. An enzyme accelerates the pace of natural chemical reactions that occur in your cells. Specifically, coenzyme Q10 creates energy required by cells for health development. It’s also an antioxidant – a substance that protects your cells from the ravages of disease. Because of its unique properties, coenzyme Q10 shows promise in helping prevent and treat several serious health conditions, such as the following.
- Heart Disease
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Mitochondrial and metabolic disorders
While large, randomized controlled trials on humans still need to be conducted, smaller studies on coenzyme Q10 indicate encouraging results.
Scientists found that patients with certain types of cancer had low levels of coenzyme Q10. Researchers discovered that increasing this coenzyme in animals strengthens the immune system, and this assists the body at battling cancer. It may also prevent heart damage caused by certain chemotherapy drugs. [i]
In a small Danish study of 32 breast cancer patients given a minimum of 90 mg of coenzyme Q10 as part of their therapy, the patients required less pain medication and avoided weight loss often common during cancer treatment. For six of the patients, tumor sizes decreased. And one patient who received 390mg of the coenzyme over three months saw her tumor completely disappear.[ii]
For neurological health, coenzyme Q10 may aid in the fight against Parkinson’s disease, which causes degeneration of brain cells. It’s believed damaging free radical molecules are involved in this disease. A study on the development of early Parkinson’s noted “Less disability developed in subjects assigned to coenzyme Q10 than in those assigned to placebo, and the benefit was greatest in subjects receiving the highest dosage. Coenzyme Q10 appears to slow the progressive deterioration of function in PD, but these results need to be confirmed in a larger study.”[iii]
Statin Drugs and the Damage Done
One area that coenzyme Q10 may be especially beneficial is reducing the dangers associated with cholesterol-lowering statin drugs. These medications can promote serious side effects, including muscle damage, cognitive problems and peripheral neuropathy. In a review published in 2008, the American Journal of Cardiovascular Drugs cited 900 studies showing the dangerous side effects of statin drugs.
The study also provided strong evidence that statins harm mitochondria, which are energy producing cells. Coenzyme Q10 is key to creating energy in these cells and reducing free radical spread. But statins lower the levels of coenzyme Q10. This reduced cell energy and boosts free radicals that can damage mitochondrial DNA. The review noted that the longer a patient takes statin medication, the more likely new adverse effects will develop.[iv]
Reducing Blood Pressure
Nearly 40% of hypertension sufferers have low levels of coenzyme Q10. Australian medical researchers conducted a meta-analysis of the coenzyme and its effect on hypertension. The review looked at the overall efficacy, therapeutic action and side-effects of Coenzyme Q10. The research group reported in their analysis that the coenzyme may help to effectively lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure without major side effects. And it can be used concurrently with hypertension medications.[v]
In a University of Texas study of hypertension and coenzyme Q10, researchers discovered that “51% of patients came completely off of between one and three antihypertensive drugs at an average of 4.4 months after starting CoQ10.” They also noted the study subjects suffered no side effects or negative drug interactions.[vi]
More Health Benefits
If you have chronic low energy, coenzyme Q10 may help jump-start your tired mind and body.
Other research indicates the coenzyme can be effective at protecting and repairing sun damaged skin, slowing the aging process and treating diabetes. Japanese researchers discovered it may be useful to treat duodenal ulcers.
Coenzyme Q10 shows potential as an effective non-pharmaceutical approach to many health problems. And it seems to have virtually no side effects. But as with any nutritional supplement, talk to your chiropractor before you start using it.
[i] Coenzyme Q10 for Prevention of Anthracycline-Induced Cardio toxicity – Integrative Cancer Therapies, Vol. 4, No. 2, 110-130 (2005)
[ii] Partial and complete regression of breast cancer in patients in relation to dosage of coenzyme Q10 – Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 1994 Mar 0; 199(3):1504-8
[iii] Effects of Coenzyme Q10 in Early Parkinson’s Disease – Arch Neurol. 2002; 59:1541-1550
[iv] Statin Adverse Effects: A Review of the Literature and Evidence for Mitochondrial Mechanism – American Journal Of Cardiovascular Drugs – 1 November 2008 – Volume 8, Issue 6, -pp 373-418.
[v] Coenzyme Q10 in the treatment of hypertension: a meta-analysis of the clinical trials. J Human Hypertension 21:297-306, 2007.
[vi] Treatment of essential hypertension with Coenzyme Q10 – Molecular Aspects of Medicine Volume 15, Supplement 1, 1994, Pages s265-s272.