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What Is Coenzyme Q10? Is It
Worth Taking?


Chemical structure of
Coenzyme Q10.

Coenzyme Q10, also known as ubiquinone, ubidecarenone, coenzyme Q, and abbreviated at times to CoQ10, CoQ, Q10, or Q, is a 1,4-benzoquinone, where Q refers to the quinone chemical group, and 10 refers to the number of isoprenyl chemical subunits in its tail.

CoQ10 is a vitamin-like substance your body produces naturally. Present in every cell, itís necessary for basic body functioning and also acts as an antioxidant. Healthy people typically make plenty of the nutrient on their own, but research has linked illnesses like heart and gum disease with lower levels of CoQ10. Whatís more, some prescription medications, such as cholesterol-lowering statins, can diminish levels further.

If you have a chronic condition, consider speaking to your doctor about taking a CoQ10 supplement. Studies suggest the nutrient (available at health stores) may help lower blood pressure, heal gum disease and even slow the rate of deterioration for diseases such as Parkinsonís. But if youíre healthy, there isnít enough to prove that taking CoQ10 is beneficial.

Some CoQ10 Research Studies:

Levels of CoQ10 tend to be lower in people with high cholesterol compared to healthy individuals of the same age. In addition, certain cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins (such as atorvastatin, cerivastatin, lovastatin, pravastatin, simvastatin) appear to deplete natural levels of CoQ10 in the body. Taking CoQ10 supplements can correct the deficiency caused by statin medications without affecting the medication's positive effects on cholesterol levels. Plus, studies show that CoQ10 supplementation may decrease the muscle pain associated with statin treatment.

Gum disease is a widespread problem that is associated with swelling, bleeding, pain, and redness of the gums. Clinical studies show that people with gum disease tend to have low levels of CoQ10 in their gums. In a few clinical studies involving small numbers of subjects, CoQ10 supplements caused faster healing and tissue repair. CoQ10 is used in mouth rinse products for this condition. Additional studies in humans are needed to evaluate the effectiveness of CoQ10 when used together with traditional therapy for periodontal disease.

Lower levels of CoQ10 have also been observed in people with Parkinson's disease. Preliminary research has found that increasing CoQ10 may increase levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine, which is thought to be lowered in people with Parkinson's disease. It has also been suggested that CoQ10 might protect brain cells from damage by free radicals.

In a 12-week randomized controlled trial, 74 people with type 2 diabetes were randomized to receive either 100 mg CoQ10 twice daily, 200 mg per day of fenofibrate (a lipid regulating drug), both or neither for 12 weeks. CoQ10 supplementation significantly improved blood pressure and glycemic control. However, two studies found that CoQ10 supplementation failed to have any effect on glycemic control.

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