Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), also known as ubiquinone, holds a discreet place in the realm of health and well-being, yet its influence on our vitality runs deep.
This essential molecule is naturally produced by our bodies. It plays a crucial role in generating adenosine triphosphate (ATP) within our mitochondria, the primary source of cellular energy, while acting as a potent fat-soluble antioxidant that safeguards organelle cell membranes and possesses anti-inflammatory properties.
The evidence of Coenzyme Q10’s effectiveness in treating various health conditions is substantial, notably in the cases of fibromyalgia, heart and kidney failure, diabetes, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases, cancer, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, and rheumatoid arthritis, to name just a few.
In the context of fibromyalgia, a condition characterised by diffuse muscle pain, persistent fatigue, and increased pressure sensitivity, the role of Coenzyme Q10 is particularly noteworthy. Patients with fibromyalgia typically exhibit reduced CoQ10 levels in their tissues, often as low as 40 to 50% of normal levels. Moreover, there is an increase in mitochondrial dysfunction, oxidative stress, and inflammation in these patients.
Clinical trials, including one conducted by Cordero et al. (a controlled and randomized trial), have shown that CoQ10 supplementation at a daily dose of 300 mg for 40 days could significantly reduce pain, fatigue, and headaches while improving psychological symptoms, including depression. These results suggest that a daily 300 mg CoQ10 supplementation could provide significant relief for fibromyalgia patients.
Similarly, in the context of heart failure, where the heart fails to maintain adequate blood circulation, CoQ10 is of critical importance. Myocardial energy deficiency, characterised by mitochondrial dysfunction, reduced ATP production, increased generation of pro-oxidative molecules, and inflammation, is one of the causes of heart failure.
Several studies have identified a depletion of CoQ10 levels in patients with this condition. The 2014 randomized controlled trial QSYMBIO, the largest study to date, demonstrated that CoQ10 supplementation (3 x 100 mg per day for two years), in addition to conventional heart failure medications, could significantly reduce the relative risk of cardiac-related death (53%) and all-cause mortality (55%) without notable side effects.
Chronic kidney disease
In the case of chronic kidney disease (CKD), plasma CoQ10 levels are significantly lower in CKD patients, whether with or without haemodialysis, compared to healthy individuals. Randomized controlled studies, including one in particular, have shown that CoQ10 supplementation (3x 100 mg per day for three months) can improve kidney function and reduce the need for dialysis in approximately 50% of CKD patients.
Type II diabetes
Finally, several studies have reported a significant reduction in blood CoQ10 levels in type II diabetic patients, correlated with an increase in blood glucose and HbA1c levels, an indicator of average blood glucose over a two- to three-month period used to assess blood sugar control in diabetic individuals.
Numerous publications and a 2018 meta-analysis confirmed that CoQ10 supplementation (100-200 mg/day for three months) significantly reduces HbA1c and blood glucose levels in diabetic patients.
Increasing your Coenzyme Q10 levels
While Coenzyme Q10 is naturally present and produced in the body, it is essential to emphasise that dietary intake of this compound is necessary to maintain adequate CoQ10 levels.
CoQ10 is naturally found in some foods (see Table 1), including beef heart and fatty fish such as sardines, salmon, and tuna. However, the CoQ10 content in these foods remains relatively modest, making it difficult to achieve therapeutic levels through diet alone.
For those seeking to reap its health benefits, CoQ10 supplementation is a viable option. Recommended dosages vary depending on age, gender, and individual health condition.
The still often overlooked CoQ10 dosage
The lack of awareness regarding CoQ10 dosages is widespread, whether among healthcare professionals or the general public. This gap can limit access to the potential benefits of this coenzyme for health.
It becomes imperative to raise more awareness about its beneficial role in the treatment and management of various diseases, particularly those mentioned in this article, where CoQ10 supplementation can bring significant improvements.
Coenzyme Q10, as a versatile molecule, plays a substantial role in managing and enhancing various health conditions, shedding valuable light on a discreet yet powerful player within the medical and well-being domain.
By Dr Aurélien Núñez
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Aurélien Nuñez is a Functional and micronutritional Medical Doctor, graduated from the Favaloro University of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Specialised in Micronutrition, Food, Prevention and Health (MAPS) from the Paris Descartes University. He is working at Hotel Capela Das Artes in a project named Smart Treatments, where with his colleague, Silvestre Gonzalez, an Ayurveda-oriented Medical Doctor, and a team of therapists, are offering consultations, body therapies, retreats, yoga, meditation classes and workshops.