Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a natural antioxidant synthesized by the body, found in many foods, and available as a supplement. Coenzyme Q10 is a vital participant in the chain of metabolic chemical reactions that generate energy within cells. It is found in every cell of the body, but is present in higher concentrations in organs with higher energy requirements such as the kidneys, liver, and heart.
Many medical studies demonstrate CoQ10 benefits when taken as a supplement, most of which stem from its vital role in oxygen utilization and energy production, particularly in heart muscle cells.
Coenzyme Q10 is beneficial for heart health in many ways. It assists in maintaining the normal oxidative state of LDL cholesterol, helps assure circulatory health, and supports optimal functioning of the heart muscle. CoQ10 may also help support the health of vessel walls. In addition, Coenzyme Q10 may play a role in reducing the number and severity of migraine headaches, and improving sperm motility in men. A few small clinical trials have indicated CoQ10 supplementation may help prevent and treat inflamed gums, a condition known as gingivitis.
Studies in both animals and humans have associated significantly decreased levels of CoQ10 with a wide variety of diseases. Since this enzyme is found in high concentration in heart muscle cells, deficiency has been associated with cardiovascular problems including angina, arrhythmia, heart failure and high blood pressure. Problems with blood sugar regulation, gingival (gum) health, and stomach ulcers have also been associated with CoQ10 deficiency.
Those who are taking statins to lower cholesterol are at particular risk for deficiency, because not only do statins reduce cholesterol levels, but they also block Coenzyme Q10 synthesis in the body. Low CoQ10 levels in patients on statins can contribute to the common side effects of statin therapy such as fatigue and aching joints and muscles.