How Much CoQ10 Do You Really Need (Plus What Else You Need to Know)
CoEnzyme Q10, also known as CoQ10, is a lipid-soluble compound that is needed for energy throughout the entire body. But your body’s natural production declines with age, and a deficiency of CoQ10 could lead to more health complications than you might expect.
CoQ10 is found in every cell in the body, primarily in the “cellular power plants” known as mitochondria. The presence of CoQ10 is required for the healthy production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which supplies the energy needed to power every single function in your body. Since roughly 95% of your body’s energy is supplied this way, CoQ10’s role in efficiently generating energy-yielding ATP in the cell’s mitochondira is critical.
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If you’re low on energy, you’re either low on CoQ10, or low on mitochondria.
You may remember hearing about mitochondria, but don’t check out just yet – there’s more to these tiny energy producers than you may know. For starters, they are cellular organelles that live deep within each cell, but unless they’re supported with proper diet, their days are numbered.
Given that CoQ10 couples with your mitochondira to produce energy, it should come as no surprise that the highest concentrations of CoQ10 can be found in the organs with the highest energy requirements: The heart, the brain and and the liver. It should also come as no surprise that when you begin to lose mitochondria, your cellular energy is even further compromised, since the CoQ10 has fewer “power plants” to fuel. (There is a nutrient that helps create more mitochondria, but more on that in a moment.)
What Can CoQ10 Do for You?
CoQ10 is one of the most powerful and versatile antioxidants known to man. You see, every day our bodies encounter rogue molecules known as free radicals, molecules that set out to terrorize otherwise stable molecules by stealing electrons. When successful, they steal electrons from cells that couldnt afford to lose one, thus damaging that cell and significantly accelerating the aging process.
Luckily, some nutrients, such as vitamin C, vitamin E, glutathione and the recently discovered astaxanthin, and are capable of sacrificing an electron and remaining stable — powerful even.
CoQ10 holds its electrons rather loosely, transferring them around as needed to protect its “cellular house” from being damaged by the free radicals our cells encounter every day. That said, CoQ10 is far from your average, everyday antioxidant.
CoQ10 Does Something No Other Antioxidant Can
CoQ10 has the ability to perform a vital function in the body that no other antioxidant can: The CoQ10 molecule carries electrons through three enzyme complexes to generate and capture biochemical energy desperately needed by the body’s organs. Because of this, the vitamin-like nutrient supports and fuels every movement and muscle contraction in the body, which is why having CoQ10 in abundance is vital for optimal heart and brain health.
Considering CoQ10’s role in overall health and energy, it’s scary to think that after the age of 30, our natural CoQ10 levels decline rapidly. This means that energy once reserved for a long run or cleaning is now sucked up in an effort to power your heart and brain. (Your declining energy levels suddenly make sense!) It is believed that by the age of 80, our CoQ10 levels can be lower than they were at birth. This is why so many people start taking a CoQ10 supplement between the ages of 40-65.
Since CoQ10 benefits and levels can be compromised by so many factors — being a high performance athlete, a heart attack survivor a statin user or over the age of 40 often justify CoQ10 supplementation.
How Much CoQ10 Should You Take?
Studies on the health benefits of CoQ10 have used doses ranging from 30 mg to 1,200 mg. Most adults take between 100 mg and 200 mg daily, however, those with specific health concerns may need higher dosages.
The general guideline is to take 1 mg per pound of body weight. So someone who weighs 150 lbs would supplement with 150 mg of CoQ10. However, proper CoQ10 supplementation is dependent upon many factors. Here are some more specific guidelines you can reference or discuss with your physician.
|Health Concern or Objective||CoQ10 mg/day|
|Statin drug use||200-300 mg/day depending on statin dosing|
|Improved athletic performance||60mg/day|
|Reduce fatigue||50-150 mg/day|
|Migraine headache sufferers||100-150 mg/ day|
|Congestive heart failure||50 to 300 mg/ day|
|High blood pressure||50 to 150 mg/ day|
|Post heart attack||120-200 mg/day|
|Huntington’s disease||600mg/ day|
|Parkinson’s disease||500-1200 mg|
Why Do I Need More CoQ10 If I’m on a Statin Drug?
Statin drugs inhibit the rate-limiting enzyme of the mevalonate pathway, HMG-CoA reductase. While this is effective for reducing the amount of cholesterol your body produces, it also interrupts some of your body’s natural functions. Such functions include the production of CoQ10. This dramatic drop in CoQ10 can lead to nerve damage, fatigue, muscle aches and weakness.
Further loss of CoQ10 may come from stress, and other medications such as oral hypoglycemic drugs and beta-blockers. While many doctors fail to inform you of these facts, many alternative practitioners believe that, given CoQ10’s potential benefits and excellent safety record, most people over the age of 40 would be wise to take CoQ10 supplements. The fact is that every cell and system in the body is distressed by insufficient CoQ10.
When is the Best Time to Take Your CoQ10?
Because CoQ10 is a fat-soluble nutrient, it’s best to take your CoQ10 at meal time, with a meal that contains a little bit of fat. If taking 200 mg or less, a single dose is perfectly fine, but if taking more than 200 mg, it is best to divide it into two doses.
Some companies offer what’s called “water soluble” CoQ10 that, in theory, doesn’t need to be consumed with a meal. But buyer beware — even these are best taken with food. Because food slows the transit time, taking CoQ10 with food allows the body to maximize absorption in the small intestines.
What is the Best Kind/Form of CoQ10 to Take?
There is much debate on which supplement form of CoQ10 best benefits the heart and the brain. In one camp, you have some who say the ubiquinol form is beneficial because it is already reduced, and therefore smaller doses can achieve perks similar to that of the unbiquione form. In the other camp, you’ll find those who support the ubiquinone form, as it is the form produced by the body and the most efficiently used form. While there have been few studies directly comparing the two, one study found that the ubiquinone form was best for healthy blood pressure management glucose balance.
Regardless of which form one chooses to supplement, the body will quite easily convert between the two as needed. The trans-form, ubiquinone, is therefore favored by most physicians and scientists, as it comes in much higher doses for a reasonable cost — after all, why pay a manufacturer to convert for you by machine what the body is designed to convert and utilize well?
If I’m Taking CoQ10 Do I Still Need to Take Other Antioxidants?
Absolutely! Here’s why: Different types of antioxidants concentrate in different parts of the body, supporting specific cells and organs. For example, an antioxidant called astaxanthin possesses powerful antioxidant properties that are extremely effective at protecting and healing the skin. Astaxanthin is also an incredible anti-inflammatory, lending to its ability to optimize joint and muscle function.
CoQ10, on the other hand, is heavily concentrated in the brain and in the heart, warding off free-radical damage, and energizing the cells so that these organs can perform optimally.
Here is a quick infographic to help better understand where each antioxidant most concentrated its power. For more on antioxidants, be sure to see our article, Antioxidants Listed and Explained — So Which Should You Take?
Are There Nutrients That Best Complement CoQ10?
There are several nutrients that pave the way for Co10’s success, but two in particular stand out as having uniquely complementary relationships with CoQ10:
Pyrroloquinoline Quinone (PQQ): CoQ10’s “Perfect Partner”
Many experts refer to PQQ as CoQ10’s “perfect partner” – and for good reason. Studies show PQQ’s antioxidant properties protect mitochondria from damage, but more remarkably, the compound actually enables the body to generate new mitochondria, which is a process called mitochondrial biogenesis. This is unlike the activity of any other antioxidant compound, and is truly incredible!
Curcumin Pairs with CoQ10 for a One-Two Punch
This may seem like an unlikely pair, but curcumin and CoQ10 have a very symbiotic relationship. Here’s why:
Lingering body-wide inflammation is now thought to be the root cause behind so many of the chronic diseases and aging factors that rob us of our mobility, sharpness and quality of life. This inflammation not only launches a cascade of unhealthy cellular responses, it interferes with the normal cellular processes that fuel our entire body.
Because curcumin targets and quells inflammation with masterful precision, it helps set the stage for smooth and optimal cellular functioning, so that CoQ10 can continue to support your bodily system….
What Else is This Wonder Nutrient Doing for Me?
A better question might be: What isn’t CoQ10 doing to improve your health? Without adequate CoQ10, cells cannot produce enough energy to even think straight, much less function optimally and sustain life. Running low on this antioxidant powerhouse for a long period will not only drain your physical energy and risk your heart health, eventually, your whole body suffers the malaise of low-energy production.
Because it is in every cell, supplemental CoQ10 has a wide potential of uses – from helping a failing heart work better to slowing the decline of Parkinson’s disease.
For the latest research on CoQ10 and the many ways it can power-up your health, be sure to visit LiveintheNow.com’s archive on this powerful nutrient.
Joshua Corn – Editor-in-Chief
Josh is a health freedom advocate and veteran of the natural health industry. He has been actively involved in the natural health movement for over 15 years, and has been dedicated to the promotion of health, vitality, longevity and natural living throughout his career. Josh has successfully overcome several personal health challenges through natural means, and believes that sharing information can empower people to take control of their health so they can solve their own problems and live life to its fullest potential. Josh is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Live in the Now. Additionally he serves as CEO of Stop Aging Now, a company that has been formulating premium dietary supplements since 1995. Josh is currently working on his first book about natural health, and is gearing up to launch the Live in the Now radio show. In addition to his work in the natural health field, Josh is an avid outdoorsman, animal lover and enjoys “living in the now” with his wife and two sons.