What is CoQ10 and how does it work?
First off, CoQ10 is a coenzyme, which means it supports other enzymes in their functions. Coenzymes are necessary for an enzyme to function. Coenzymes can’t catalyze a reaction on their own but they can help enzymes to do so. In the case of CoQ10, it is a key player in the metabolic chemical reactions that generate energy within cells. In other words, it helps convert food into energy. Also known as ubiquinone, it can help us feel like we have more energy when we take it. A sign of being low on CoQ10 can be diminished energy.
CoQ10 is found in all of the cells in the body, but because of its energy producing function, it is most notable in the kidneys, liver, and heart—organs with higher energy requirements. It also functions as an antioxidant, which helps the body to fend off the potential damage caused by free radicals or harmful molecules. Free radicals have been linked to the aging process and are thought to contribute to diseases such as heart disease and cancer. As we age, particularly after the age of 40, our body’s ability to produce CoQ10 diminishes. The production of this coen in our body can also be challenged by the presence of disease and certain medications.
Probably what CoQ10 is most known for is the role it plays in supporting heart health. It is essential for supporting the optimal health of the heart muscle and producing the energy your heart needs to beat 100,000 times a day. Studies have shown this coenzyme to relieve heart failure symptoms as well as reduce the risk of atrial fibrillation. It is also thought to help protect the heart’s vessel walls. If CoQ10 levels are low, then the heart can become more inefficient and become susceptible to the oxidative damage caused by free radicals. This can create a pathway for heart failure.
In addition to supporting the heart, this coenzyme assists in maintaining the normal oxidative state of LDL cholesterol. It also helps to maintain circulatory health. When used over a period of time research has shown it can help to lower blood pressure. Other studies have linked low levels of CoQ10 to gum disease, shown it to help improve sperm mobility, as well as help to prevent migraines. Studies have also shown a possible correlation between CoQ10 supplement intake and a slowing in the functional decline of early-stage Parkinson’s disease.