Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a ubiquitous compound found in pretty much every organism ranging from bacteria all the way to mammals (that’s you!). It’s a vitamin-like nutrient that plays a critical role in making the most basic form of energy in the body, adenosine triphosphate (ATP) from the foods you eat. (1) While CoQ10 can be synthesized within the human body, everyone can greatly benefit from the supplementation of CoQ10.
What Does CoQ10 Do?
Scientifically speaking, the main function of CoQ10 is to make ATP or energy, through the rapid rate of conversion of oxygen (O2) to water (H2O) at the cellular level in the mitochondria. When the chemical conversion of sugars and fats occurs, free electrons are produced, captured, then transferred (as well as protons, +) to oxygen molecules. (1) This results in reducing Oxygen2 to Water, which produces adenosine triphosphate (ATP) from the mitochondria and applies it to the rest of the cell as energy. CoQ10 levels are highest in organs that produce high rates of metabolism such as the heart, kidney, and liver, where CoQ10 functions as energy transfer molecule. (2)
Without ATP cellular functions are unable to do their job. CoQ10 plays an essential role in virtually every human tissue and organ health function! Talk about important stuff. When there’s an abundance of O2, thanks to CoQ10, the body is able to function at a higher capacity, helping fight against free radicals, and more efficiently break down carbohydrates and fats for energy. (3)
What Are The Symptoms Of Low CoQ10?
CoQ10 plays a significant role as a lipid antioxidant (prevents generation of free radicals and modifications of proteins, lipids, and DNA) in the body and with an insufficient level of Coq10, your body suffers. When the concentration of coenzyme Q10 in the human body decreases, the respiratory chain becomes dysfunctional, which decreases the overall efficiency of our body at the cellular level. (4)
Symptoms of CoQ10 deficiency include but are not limited to
- chronic pain
- weak immune system function
- physical and mental fatigue
- neurological disorders
- Increased the risk of obesity
- Increase risk of heart disease
What are the Benefits of CoQ10?
Reduces Free Radical Damage
One of the main benefits of CoQ10 comes from its antioxidant properties. Dietary supplementation of CoQ10 can increase the resistance of mitochondrial membranes, proteins, and DNA to oxidative damage, especially in the tissues that are most sensitive to damage. Vitamins such as C, E, and coenzyme Q10 could reduce this free-radical formation, thereby minimizing skeletal muscle damage and fatigue and promoting tissue and organ recovery.
Much like CoQ10, Vitamin C and Vitamin E need to be regularly replaced through diet and or supplementation because they are likely to be excreted in the urine when they become oxidized (lose their antioxidant functions). Luckily, CoQ10 is able to receive Vitamin C & E free electrons, recycling the vitamins as un-oxidized antioxidants and allowing them to continue protecting the body from oxidative damage. Coenzyme Q10 then transfers the gained electron to other antioxidants, shifting and completing the sequestration of the electron while regenerating itself.
Without an abundance of readily available coenzyme Q10 in the body, free radical damage builds up leading to degenerative disorders and chronic diseases ranging in severity. Some examples include brain dysfunction, muscle weakness, loss of coordination and balance, seizures, poor muscle tone, muscle stiffness, and loss of vision.
Restores Cellular Exhaustion
Some individuals express CoQ10 deficiency simply because they are unable to convert O2 to H2O within the body. Thus, they are unable to generate enough cellular energy. Some of the consequences of cellular exhaustion include depressed or decreased function of usually normally functioning human ability. These include loss of bowels, rapid fatigue, exercise intolerance, loss of vision, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (enlargement of the heart), and hearing loss to name a few.
A benefit of CoQ10 is that it enables the human body to restore the rate of mitochondrial respiration, muscle strength, coordination and exercise tolerance. While the symptoms of CoQ10 deficiency seem drastic, gradual CoQ10 deficiency can lead (to an overall loss of performance, quality of daily life, and normative human functioning. Essentially, you gradually lose the ability to live each day at your highest human potential.
Improves Heart Health
CoQ10 promotes healthy heart muscle energetics and cardiac contraction. The human body’s demand for CoQ10 is greatest within the heart muscle. Scientists discovered this fact when they discovered the demonstration of the sensitivity of cardiomyocytes to the drug, Adriamycin, which works in the body to prevent CoQ10 from passing electrons along efficiently. The result? The heart’s ability to beat becomes impaired. But good news! If the human heart contains enough CoQ10, the inhibition of contractions by Adriamycin will be overcome and the heart will continue to beat.14
With regular supplementation of CoQ10 cardiac contractions in both men and woman are increased by an average of one-third, delivering more oxygenated blood through the body. These findings were published in the European Heart Journal after the study “Coenzyme Q10and Exercise Training in Chronic Heart Failure” was completed. (5) CoQ10 supplementation proves to be a powerful ally in maintaining the quality of heart health. It's so good, your heart will thank you for every beat, literally!
Helps Athletic Performance
As an athlete, you demand a lot more from your cells in order to supply the organs, tissues, and muscles with the appropriate nutrients and energy required to perform at a high level for long periods of time. The amount of CoQ10 available in the body at the cellular level determines the rate of energy production by a cell. As an athlete, when your electrons are ‘in waiting’ while you exercise, if there’s no CoQ10, they don’t get transported to the O2 molecules to provide the appropriate production of energy asked by you, the athlete, for muscle contraction and oxygen delivery, especially by the heart.
Providing your body sufficient sources of CoQ10 Q10 is crucial to your overall health. The speed and power of contraction in the cardiomyocytes (heart muscle cells), is determined by the bioavailability of CoQ10 available for use within the mitochondria. Better heart function from supplementing with CoQ10 translates into not only better overall health, but better physical and mental performance as an athlete. You work on refining your movements and ability, why not refine your cells productivity while you’re at it?
Helps Sustain Energy
The goal of pretty much any athlete is to train harder, faster, and longer while increasing intensity, duration, and performance outcomes. Coenzyme Q10 aims to do the same thing inside the human body at the cellular level. By increasing the supply of COQ10 via soft gel supplementation, an athlete naturally gains the ability to provide invaluable nutrients to an athlete’s muscles that support their overall athletic goals.
Being that it is ubiquitous, all muscles in the body, including skeletal and otherwise (heart), can benefit from high quality and daily oral supplementation. While adherence to a training regiment itself will result in an improvement in peak power output, coenzyme Q10 supplementation significantly enhances peak power production in athletes as compared to those who do not supplement with CoQ10. (6)
While CoQ10 doesn’t increase energy in the sense that caffeine does, cellular energy and ATP use at the cellular level within the body will become more of a refined and efficient process, resulting in increased time to exhaustion and lower serum oxidative stress. CoQ10 is a must-have supplement for endurance athletes.
When Should You Take CoQ10?
You can obtain adequate levels of CoQ10 naturally through the foods that you eat such as
How often do you eat liver and tuna? Personally speaking, not that often and I consider myself pretty healthy. No matter how healthy and well rounded of a diet you have it’s still important to supplement with CoQ10 to bridge nutrient deficiencies.
There currently is no recommended dose of CoQ10 (due to individual expression) and there is currently no established Upper Limit (UL) for the supplement. Dosage can be as low as 5 mg/day and can exceed 1200 mg/day without any clinically reported adversities. As far as the human body is concerned, the more CoQ10 it can get from diet and supplementation, the better off it will be!
In conclusion, just as any other supplement, CoQ10 should be taken to bridge the gaps in dietary nutrition with the overall goal of optimizing human function. CoQ10 is utilized by every cell in the human body. By providing your body the nutrients it needs, especially at the cellular level, you increase your chances of living each day at your highest potential. By promoting the health of the heart muscle by taking CoQ10, you’re promoting the supply of oxygenated and nutrient-rich blood to every muscle in the human body. Pretty cool stuff!
Looking for an amazing CoQ10 Supplement to help you bridge the gaps in your diet? SWOLVERINE's CoQ10 is 110 mg of the clinical dose you need to feel great inside and out.
Saini, Rajiv. “Coenzyme Q10: The Essential Nutrient.” Journal of Pharmacy and Bioallied Sciences 3.3 (2011): 466–467. PMC. Web. 18 June 2018.
Rahman, K. “Studies on Free Radicals, Antioxidants, and Co-Factors.” Clinical Interventions in Againg. (2007)
Salviati L, Trevisson E, Doimo M, et al. Primary Coenzyme Q10 Deficiency. 2017 Jan 26. In: Adam MP, Ardinger HH, Pagon RA, et al., editors. GeneReviews® [Internet]. Seattle (WA): University of Washington, Seattle; 1993-2018.
Igor Pravst, Katja Žmitek & Janko Žmitek (2010) Coenzyme Q10 Contents in Foods and Fortification Strategies, Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 50:4, 269-280
Dietmar Alf, Michael E Schmidt, Stefan C Siebrech.”Ubiquinol supplementation enhances peak power production in trained athletes: a double-blind, placebo-controlled study“ Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition (2013)
Chopra RK, Goldman R, Sinatra ST, Bhagavan HN. Relative bioavailability of coenzyme Q10 formulations in human subjects. Intern J Vit Nutr Res1998;68:109-113. [Pub-Med]
Hathcock JN, Shao A. Risk assessment for coenzyme Q10 (Ubiquinone). Regul Toxicol Pharmacol. 2006;45(3):282-8. [Pub-Med]
Merry TL, Ristow M. Do antioxidant supplements interfere with skeletal muscle adaptation to exercise training? J Physiol 2016;594:5135-47 [Pub-Med]
Durán-Prado M, Frontiñán J, Santiago-Mora R, Peinado JR, Parrado-Fernández C, et al. (2014) Coenzyme Q10 Protects Human Endothelial Cells from β-Amyloid Uptake and Oxidative Stress-Induced Injury. PLOS ONE 9(10): e109223 [Pub-Med]
Lass A, Sohal RS. Effect of coenzyme Q(10) and alpha-tocopherol content of mitochondria on the production of superoxide anion radicals. FASEB J2000:14:87-94. [Pub-Med]
Quinzii CM, Emmanuele V, Hirano M. Clinical presentations of coenzyme q10 deficiency syndrome. Mol Syndromol. 2014 Jul;5(3-4):141-6. doi: 10.1159/000360490. [Pub-Med]
Lalani SR, Vladutiu GD, Plunkett K, Lotze TE, Adesina AM, Scaglia F. Isolated mitochondrial myopathy associated with muscle coenzyme Q10Arch Neurol 2005; 62:317-230 [Pub-Med]
Wong AP, Niedzwiecki A, Rath M. Myocardial energetics and the role of micronutrients in heart failure: a critical review. Am J Cardiovasc Dis. 2016;6(3):81-92. [Pub-Med]
Folkers K, Choe JY, Comb AB. Rescue by coenzyme Q10from electrocardiographic abnormalities caused by the toxicity of adriamycin in the rat. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 1978; 75:5178-5180 [Pub-Med]
Belardinelli R, Mucaj A, Lacalaprice F, Solenghi M. Seddaiu G, Principi F, Tiano L, Littarru GP. Coenzyme Q10and exercise training in chronic heart failure. Eur Heart J20016; Aug 1. [Pub-Med]
Cooke M, Iosia M, Buford T, et al. Effects of acute and 14-day coenzyme Q10 supplementation on exercise performance in both trained and untrained individuals. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2008;5:8. [Pub-Med]
Lenaz G, Parenti Castelli G, Fato, D’Aurelio M, Bovina C, Formingini G, Marchetti M, Estornell E, Rauchova H. Coenzyme Q deficiency in mitochondria: Kinetic saturation versus physical saturation. Mol Aspects Med 1997;18 (Suppl.) :S25-S31 [Pub-Med]