Should I take Co Enzyme Q10?
Co Enzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a vitamin-like substance essential for life. While we normally make all the CoQ10 we need, some people because of age, health problems or medications can benefit from taking extra good-quality CoQ10.
CoQ10 is essential to make the energy our bodies need. The final stage of making energy needs CoQ10 to shuttle the hydrogen needed to generate energy. If your levels of CoQ10 are low this can be felt as low energy, weak muscles and general fatigue. CoQ10 is also an exceptional antioxidant protecting cells and fats from free radicals. The most important antioxidant function is to prevent oxidation of cholesterol as it circulates in the body. This is a critical part in our natural defences against blockages in heart arteries and other blood vessels.
The most common reason for CoQ10 supplementation is for those using cholesterol lowering (statin) medication. The side effects of statins are so common that they are a diagnosable disease called statin myopathy. The most common side effects are muscle stiffness, pain and weakness. This can also cause general fatigue which often feels like a lack of motivation.
Statins effectively inhibit the enzyme needed to make cholesterol. This enzyme (HMG-CoA reductase) is also needed to make CoQ10. Blocking this enzyme reduces cholesterol but also CoQ10 by as much as 50 per cent.
Drug companies are well aware of this problem and hold patents for combining CoQ10 with statins. Until such drugs are available I recommend those on statins supplement with 100-200mg of naturally fermented CoQ10. The market is now flooded with low-cost semi-synthetic CoQ10. Most people make all the Co enzyme Q10 (CoQ10) they need. Some however should take extra as a supplement. CoQ10 is made in your liver from the same enzymes that make cholesterol. This is why drugs that reduce cholesterol can restrict CoQ10 by as much as 50 per cent.
This can reduce the amount of energy produced especially in muscles, nerves and organs. This is why I recommend people on cholesterol medication take 100-200mg of high grade, rapid absorption CoQ10 daily. Be aware that the market is now flooded with low cost semi-synthetic CoQ10 made from tobacco waste. These tend to be higher doses at much lower prices. I recently spoke to a client who had experienced a lot of muscle pain and stiffness while on statins. After just a month on high grade CoQ10 the pain had completely gone and is now able to tolerate the medication without side effects. I generally find it takes 1-2 months to restore muscle function and energy.
What makes CoQ10 unique is its ability to accept and donate electrons. This enables CoQ10 to move hydrogen electrons within your cell mitochondria to make the energy your body requires. Inadequate CoQ10 levels reduces energy output and this is felt as tiredness and often as muscle weakness.
This ability to carry electrons also makes CoQ10 an excellent antioxidant. It can donate to free radicals their missing electrons preventing them from stealing electrons leading to cell and tissue damage. In particular it protects circulating LDL cholesterol from being damaged by free radicals. This is the first step in the process of forming plaques that block arteries.
■ John Arts (B Soc Sci, Dip Tch, Adv Dip Nut Med) is a nutritional medicine practitioner and founder of Abundant Health Ltd. For questions or advice contact John on 0800 423559 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Join his full weekly newsletter at www.abundant.co.nz.