It also functions as an antioxidant, which protects the body from damage caused by harmful molecules. CoQ10 is naturally present in small amounts in a wide variety of foods, but levels are particularly high in organ meats such as heart, liver, and kidney, as well as beef, soy oil, sardines, mackerel, and peanuts.
Coenzymes help enzymes work to digest food and perform other body processes, and they help protect the heart and skeletal muscles.
CoQ10 is available in the United States as a dietary supplement. It is also known as Q10, vitamin Q10, ubiquinone, or ubidecarenone.
Many claims are made about CoQ10. It is said to help heart failure, as well as cancer, muscular dystrophy, and periodontal disease. It is also said to boost energy and speed recovery from exercise. Some people take it to help reduce the effects certain medicines can have on the heart, muscles, and other organs.
If you have heart failure, talk to your doctor before you take any supplement. There’s no strong evidence that vitamins or other supplements can help treat heart failure. They are used along with medical heart failure treatments, not instead of treatment.
But you may still hear about CoQ10 supplements and heart failure. CoQ10 has not been shown definitely to relieve heart failure symptoms. Only some of the studies of coenzyme Q10 showed that it helps heart failure symptoms.
The main CoQ10 benefit involves its role in the creation of an important molecule known as adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP helps direct energy where it is needed within a cell and within the human body. As such, ATP is essential for healthy metabolism and is a key part of a number of processes within the body, such as the contraction of muscles.
Other possible CoQ10 benefits are being investigated. “It is also thought to function as an antioxidant along with vitamins E and C, and selenium,” says Roberta Anding, MS, RD, a clinical dietitian at Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, and a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association. “It is also suggested that there are diseases that may respond to CoQ10 supplementation.”
Some health benefits that doctors believe people could get as a result of taking coenzyme Q10 include:
The body naturally produces coenzyme Q10 in quantities sufficient to prevent deficiency, and no symptoms related to CoQ10 deficiency have been observed in the general population. About one-quarter of the CoQ10 in a person’s blood is believed to come from dietary sources, with the rest produced internally.
Most of the purported CoQ10 benefits have been observed in research studies, but have not been scientifically proven.
Some studies have found that levels of CoQ10 tend to be lower in people with high cholesterol levels, and other studies have found that CoQ10 can reduce inflammation and promote heart function, but subsequent research has not amply supported these findings.