April 12, 2010
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is found in every cell in the body, and as a supplement it may reduce the incidence of cancer, heart disease, hypertension and migraine headaches. As Lisa Freedman explained in a Mens Fitness article, the antioxidant CoQ10 makes energy for cell growth and maintenance, and has been used to treat heart failure and neurological diseases.
While she said studies are still preliminary, research has shown beneficial effects of CoQ10 supplementation on cancer patients. CoQ10 may help the immune system reduce the heart-damaging effects of anti-tumor drugs. Freedman noted three studies of women with breast cancer showed improvement when given CoQ10 supplements.
The heart benefits of CoQ10 have been studied for 20 years, she wrote, but that doesnt mean experts agree. Some studies show CoQ10 can help lower blood pressure. For instance, a 2001 study showed people who took 60 mg of CoQ10 experienced an 18-point (18 mm Hg) reduction in systolic blood pressure; while those on the placebo only saw a two-point reduction. Additionally, low blood levels of CoQ10 have been found in people with hypertension. On the other hand, other studies have shown the supplement has little or no effect in treating heart failure or angina.
CoQ10 may also help reduce headaches. Swiss researchers who found it caused significant reductions in migraines said these headaches are caused by decreased mitochondrial energy. CoQ10 may boost that energy and thus, reduce the pain.
Freedman added other preliminary studies have found CoQ10 could be useful in treating muscular dystrophy, periodontal disease and speeding recovery from exercise.
However, results from at least seven trials show CoQ10 did not improve athletic performance in healthy individuals.
CoQ10 can be found in many foods, and is particularly high in organ meats like heart, liver and kidney. Supplementation up to 1,200 mg per day for 16 months has shown no negative side effects. She said few minor risks of supplementation have been reported, such as rashes, nausea, upper abdominal pain, dizziness, loss of appetite sensitivity to light, irritability, headache, heartburn, mild insomnia and fatigue.
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