How CoQ10 can improve mental, brain, and physical health according to this top functional medicine practitioner

By Dr. Will Cole

The supplement world is vast. The amount of beneficial nutrients is ever expanding due to our growing knowledge surrounding our health. But knowing where to start is another thing.

By educating ourselves on the importance of various nutrients, we can better prioritize what makes the most sense to incorporate into our wellness routines since each person’s individual requirements are going to be different.

One of the supplements I often find myself recommending to my patients in my functional medicine telehealth clinic is CoQ10 for its ability to naturally help elevate certain areas of health that are important to have optimal health. 

What is CoQ10?

CoQ10 stands for coenzyme Q10 and is a type of coenzyme that helps your enzymes work more efficiently and is found in every cell in the body - specifically in the mitochondria of the cell. In order for your body to utilize CoQ10, it needs to convert the inactive form ubiquinone, into ubiquinol which is the active form of this nutrient. It acts as an antioxidant to neutralize free radicals to help protect your cells and DNA from damage. Too many free radicals in the body can contribute to chronic inflammation and lead to a variety of inflammatory health conditions such as heart disease, autoimmune conditions, and even cancer.

CoQ10 Health Benefits

1. Lowered inflammation 

In multiple studies, CoQ10 was shown to reduce levels of the inflammatory compounds CRP and TNF-a as well as the pro-inflammatory cytokine IL-6. This is most likely due to its ability to inhibit production of the inflammatory protein NF-kB.

2. Migraine relief

Those who struggle with frequent migraines are also more likely to have lower levels of CoQ10. But research has shown that regular supplementation can help alleviate migraine severity and frequency.

3. Fibromyalgia

This autoimmune disease affects millions of Americans and is characterized by chronic inflammation and pain throughout the body. In cases of fibromyalgia, CoQ10 is unevenly distributed throughout the body which contributes to higher oxidative stress - which is important since increased oxidative stress is a contributor to inflammation and chronic pain. This makes regular supplementation important for those struggling with this condition.

4. Stabilized blood sugar

By improving insulin resistance, supplementation of CoQ10 can help reduce blood sugar levels for those with higher than normal levels.

5. Enhanced cardiovascular health

Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in America with 1 person dying every 37 seconds. But studies have been looking into the effects of CoQ10 supplementation and its ability to significantly improve these statistics. 

6. Improved Brain Health

One study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology found that in 18 people with depression found that 400 to 800 mg/day CoQ10 for a month decreased the severity of depression symptoms and significantly improved symptoms of fatigue, sadness, and difficulty concentrating or brain fog.

CoQ10 Sources

While your body produces half of the CoQ10 we need, we need to get the rest from outside sources. Some of the best food sources of CoQ10 include grass-fed beef, pasture-raised chicken, and wild-caught seafood such as sardines, shrimp, and scallops as well as dairy and eggs.

Our CoQ10 levels also decrease as we age so it’s important to be even more mindful as we get older. Additionally, those taking statins (cholesterol-lowering medications) and those with disorders of the mitochondria should be mindful of their levels as these can also contribute to low CoQ10.

But since CoQ10 has poor absorption rates, supplementation may be necessary in cases of deficiency when food isn’t enough. CoQ10 is considered fat-soluble meaning it is best taken alongside a high-fat meal to increase absorption. However, bioavailability of this nutrient is still low regardless of how it is taken in, so long-term supplementation may be necessary for certain individuals. Up to 1,200 mg per day has been proven safe for long-term use.

CoQ10 Side Effects

While CoQ10 is generally safe for most people, if you are taking blood thinners it may decrease their effectiveness. It’s important to talk with your doctor before adding in supplements to avoid any possible interactions.

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