CoQ10 or Ubiquinol
Are you thinking of adding CoQ10 to your list of supplements? Should you? If you do how much should you take? Are there side effects? What exactly does it do? All of these are questions you should ask yourself before adding any supplement to your daily regimen. In the following post I will try to answer these questions the best I can.
First it’s important to know what exactly Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is. It acts like an antioxidant but is similar to a vitamin. Your body makes it and it is present in every cell of your body. It is used to produce the energy your body needs for cell growth. As we grow older our levels decrease, and some medications all but eradicate it from our body.
CoQ10 deficiency is found in people with heart disease, diabetes, gum disease and metabolic dysfunctions.
Ubiquinone vs. Ubiquinol
In the body, CoQ10 exists either in its oxidized form, ubiquinone, or in its reduced form, ubiquinol. When oxidized CoQ10 (ubiquinone) is used by the body, it transforms and becomes ubiquinol. In the same way, reduced CoQ10 (ubiquinol) becomes ubiquinone when it carries out its role in the body.
Regardless of what form of CoQ10 you take as a supplement, the body is able to convert the consumed form to the other form as needed. In other words, if you take a reduced CoQ10 supplement (ubiquinol), the body can convert the reduced CoQ10 (ubiquinol) to the oxidized CoQ10 (ubiquinone) and vice versa. This conversion takes place to maintain a state of equilibrium between reduced CoQ10 (ubiquinol) and oxidized CoQ10 (ubiquinone). Bottom line is that both forms work well and for the higher price of the ubiquinol I don’t feel it is necessary. Several studies have shown equal blood levels in patients taking either form. The only time I recommend Ubiquinol over Ubiquinone is when a patient hasn’t responded with regular CoQ10 supplementation (possibly due to poor conversion of ubiquinone and ubiquinol in the body).
So, how much should you take? For healthy individuals under 60 I suggest 50-100 mg daily to improve the metabolic efficiency of their cardiovascular system. If you are over 60 or take statin drugs for cholesterol I would recommend 100-200 mg daily. For people with a history of congestive heart failure, a recent heart attack or recent heart surgery studies show 200-300 mg to be effective. You should divide the doses during the day. (don't take all at once)
In theory, allergic reactions to supplements containing CoQ10 may occur. Itching or rash has been reported.
Side Effects and Warnings
There are few serious reported side effects of CoQ10. Side effects are typically mild and brief, stopping without any treatment needed. Reactions may include nausea, vomiting, stomach upset, heartburn, diarrhea, loss of appetite, skin itching, rash, insomnia, headache, dizziness, itching, irritability, increased light sensitivity of the eyes, fatigue, or flu-like symptoms.
CoQ10 may lower blood sugar levels. Caution is advised in patients with diabetes or hypoglycemia, and in those taking drugs, herbs, or supplements that affect blood sugar. Serum glucose levels may need to be monitored by a healthcare provider, and medication adjustments may be necessary.
CoQ10 may decrease blood pressure, and caution is advised in patients with low blood pressure or taking blood pressure medications. Elevations of liver enzymes have been reported rarely, and caution is advised in people with liver disease or taking medications that may harm the liver. CoQ10 may lower blood levels of cholesterol or triglycerides.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
There is not enough scientific evidence to support the safe use of CoQ10 during pregnancy or breastfeeding. Sperm may be affected.
CoQ10 is one of the supplements that I regularly reccomend in my office for my patients. Be sure you buy a quality brand and discontinue and talk to your doctor if any of the above side effects occur. If you have any questions about the supplements that our office offers please give us a call at 859-635-6666.