Coenzyme Q10 or CoQ10 is a vital nutrient and antioxidant made by your body that is needed for cell energy as well as heart, brain and muscle health.
CoQ10 also protects your cells from free radical damage and is particularly important for organs that need large amounts of oxygen, like your heart and brain. For example, clinical studies show that CoQ10 increases heart strength and improves its ability to pump blood.
As you grow older, your body makes less CoQ10 along with lowered energy metabolism in your liver, heart and muscles. Some drugs may also deplete CoQ10 levels.
The main symptom of CoQ10 deficiency is feeling a lack of energy. Other symptoms include high blood pressure (BP), angina, stroke, irregular heart rate, leg weakness, muscle aches, loss of concentration and lowered immune function.
Statins - drugs that are widely prescribed to lower risk of heart disease via cholesterol and triglyceride reduction - are known to deplete CoQ10 levels. In fact, a common side effect of statins is muscle weakness and pain, most likely because of CoQ10 depletion.
Along with statins, drugs used to treat heart conditions, reduce high BP and manage blood sugar are known to lower CoQ10 levels.
In other words, if you take statins, beta blockers or diuretics for high BP you should find out how they might be affecting your CoQ10 levels and your heart health.
CoQ10 supplementation has been shown to benefit patients with diabetes by improving their heart function and healing diabetic ulcers on their feet. CoQ10 may also help to lower BP and LDL cholesterol levels.
In athletes, CoQ10 has been shown to reduce muscle fatigue and speed up recovery times, along with improving athletic performance. Studies have reported greater improvement in both anaerobic and aerobic exercise with CoQ10 supplementation.
CoQ10 is known to interfere with your body’s response to blood thinners such as warfarin and can decrease your insulin requirement, if you’re diabetic - so it is always a good idea to confer with your doctor if you are thinking of adding CoQ10 to your daily supplement routine.