CoenzymeQ10: The Heart Health Nutrient

by lydia on October 17, 2012

Perhaps by now, you’ve heard a bit about this fat soluble vitamin like nutrient- CoenzymeQ10, ubiquinone  or CoQ10 for short. CoQ10 is a pretty critical nutrient that seems to be widely deficient in the current population. This makes a lot of sense for many reasons. If you know anything about the studies done by Dr. Weston A. Price, you will know that traditional cultures included plenty of CoQ10 rich foods that are no longer prevalent in modern day diets. CoQ10 is critical for heart health as it transports electrons along mitochondrial electron transport chain to generate ATP. It’s an anti-oxidant and is very heart protective. It’s also useful in countering histamine, which makes it useful for reducing allergic reactions. Any health issue where increased oxygenation is required can benefit from consuming or supplementing with CoQ10.

Offal Challenge
Here’s is how Chris Kresser describes the importance of CoQ10;

CoQ10, it’s found in most cells, primarily in the mitochondria, and it’s a component of the electron transport chain, and it participates in aerobic cellular respiration, which is generating energy in the form of ATP, so I don’t know if you all remember back to your high school biology class and the Krebs cycle, citric acid cycle, and ATP production, ATP being the fundamental energy unit of the cell.  This is what we’re talking about here.  And 95% of the human body’s energy is actually generated this way, so it’s a very important process.  You can think of CoQ10 kinda like the spark plug in a car, and without that initial spark that CoQ10 supplies, the body can’t function properly.  CoQ10 deficiency can produce not only subjective signs of low energy and fatigue but all kinds of different — You know, the range of symptoms that it can produce is vast because ATP fuels cellular energy production, and cellular energy production is what makes the body function properly.  So, if you’re CoQ10 deficient, a lot can go wrong.  Now, CoQ10 can exist in three redox states and be fully oxidized as ubiquinone, it can be semiquinone as ubisemiquinone, and then fully reduced in the ubiquinol form.  And this enables it to perform functions both of energy production in the electron transport chain that I mentioned, and also it can function as an antioxidant.  And when it does that, CoQ10 inhibits lipid peroxidation, so the oxidation of fats by preventing the production of lipid peroxyl radicals.  So, that’s a lot of scientific mumbo jumbo, but basically the thing that most people need to understand about CoQ10 is that it plays a crucial role in energy production, and it plays a crucial role in preventing oxidative damage. ( more here)

Health Issues to Support with CoQ10

  • Cardiovascular stress
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Viruses, cold & flu
  • General Immune Support
  • Allergies & sensitivities
  • Diabetes
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Periodontal Disease
  • Asthma
  • Ulcers
  • Gum Problems

Foods Rich in CoQ10

  • Beef heart
  • Pork heart
  • Chicken heart
  • Beef liver
  • Pork liver
  • Beef – muscle meat
  • Pork – muscle meat
  • Olive oil can be a good source
  • Sardines
  • Mackerel

Supplementing with CoQ10

Again from Chris Kresser

There are a couple of things I want to point out regarding CoQ10 supplementation.  Number one, despite a lot of claims by supplement manufacturers, there’s no solid evidence that ubiquinol is a superior form to supplement with than ubiquinone, which is the cheaper form that’s been used for decades in the research.  And I’ve never seen any study that has convinced me that ubiquinol is better to use, so just stick with the ubiquinone.  The main factors that determine CoQ10 absorption are, number one, whether you eat it with fat, because CoQ10 is fat-soluble, so whenever you take a CoQ10 supplement, you should always take it with a meal that includes some fat or just a snack that has some fat.  And then there are certain forms of CoQ10, certain delivery mechanisms, I guess you could say, that have been shown to be better absorbed than others.  There’s one called the Kaneka Q-absorb process that’s a proliposome lipid-soluble delivery system, and that makes sense because CoQ10 is fat-soluble, right?  So, that’s been shown in one study to increase CoQ10 levels up to 400% from baseline.  The one product that I will often recommend is Jarrow Q-Sorb.  That uses this Kaneka Q-absorb delivery mechanism, and it’s pretty affordable.  I don’t see any need to buy anything fancier than that.  And the dosage can vary a lot, but generally with a mild to moderate deficiency, 60 mg to 120 mg a day is a good starting place.

I prefer to get my nutrients from food, but I don’t always make it a priority to eat organ meats. This month’s challenge is intended to help me with that though – check out the ‘Offal & Odd Bits Challenge‘ if you haven’t already.  I think having a supplement on hand during times of stress and even when life gets busy and eating your CoQ10 is not optimal or possible is a good game plan. I like Biotics CoQzyme 30 because it’s an emulsified form of coenzyme Q-10. It’s micro-emulsified, making it much easier to assimilate. It also avoids the need to have to use fats when you take it, the dry form requires you to eat it with fat. (I don’t see how that would be a problem, since eating plenty of fat is a critical component to a healthy diet, however, I think having the option available is nice, plus it’s easier to assimilate and good for those with digestive problems).  I also am familiar with Biotics Research Products and am very happy with the quality they provide, not to mention they are a completely gluten free facility.

Vegetarians or vegans will need to supplement with this nutrient, since they won’t be getting it in their diets.

Another thing to consider is if your digestion is working properly. For further understanding on how digestion works read; Digestion 101, Are You Adequately Digesting Your Fats, ‘Why I Am Supplementing with Hydrochloric Acid.’ Understanding all of the aspects of digestion and realizing where you need support is key in knowing whether you are indeed actually assimilating the food nutrients you are putting into your body!

Consider working with a practitioner if you experience any of the above health issues and need help supporting your overall foundations to improve your health. It’s always important to get to the bottom of why you have a deficiency of any nutrient. (Though I suspect most people do not consume of this nutrient to begin with, so begin with making sure to include rich sources of CoQ10 in your diet.) Consider testing your levels to see where you stand, and whether or not you really need to supplement for a time. Chris Kresser recommends Genova Labs and Metametrix organic acids test for testing levels of CoQ10. Check with your doctor or health practitioner on these.

Further Reading On CoQ10

A Rare Steak A Day Keeps the Cardiologist Away

Are Your Cells Suffocating?

Linus Pauling Institute – More Info. on CoQ10

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LydiaLydia Joy Shatney is a certified Nutritional Therapist Practitioner through the Nutritional Therapy Association. Additionally, she is the chapter leader for the Weston A. Price Foundation in Delaware County, Pa. (Find the group here on Facebook). Lydia is also a member of the Nourished Living Network. Lydia founded Divine Health in March of 2010. You can find Lydia on Facebook, Twitter & Pinterest.

Lydia offers specialized step by step counseling to transform your health. Personalized consultations to suit your specific needs are offered via phone, Skype or in person. Lydia offers a variety of packages offered to suit your individual needs. Contact Lydia today for your free initial consult and to learn more about what she has to offer you!



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Jen October 17, 2012 at 11:05 am

Great post! I avoid the Jarrow supplement because it has Soy Lecithin in it. It’s not easy finding a CoQ10 supp without soy as an ingredient.

lydia October 17, 2012 at 11:13 am

Glad you enjoyed the post! I agree it’s hard to find, but let me make mention of why soy lecithin is not as bad as soy in general; soy lecithin is the fat component and contains none of the allergenic/digestive properties of soy. I try to avoid all soy myself, but there are times when the mechanically pressed oil can be helpful. In any case, it’s always best to eat nutrients from food -some people may really need to supplement, especially if they don’t get it in their diet and have any of the health issues mentioned. I think it’s worth it over being sick and over taking meds.

Jen October 18, 2012 at 10:03 am

Thanks for that info, Lydia! : )

Shuli July 17, 2014 at 11:01 pm

Chris, this article show convincing evidence that ubiquinol is better than uniquinone….

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