What is CoQ10 and do I need it?

CoQ10, or Coenzyme Q10, is a supplement that has become more popular in recent years. I often get questions from patients about what CoQ10 is and if they should be taking it. In an attempt not to make it too complicated, here is my explanation.

CoQ10 is a coenzyme also called ubiquinone and it is found in the cells of your body within small organisms called mitochondria. Interestingly enough, mitochondria aren’t actually human and contain their own DNA! Despite this fact, the mitochondria are crucial for human survival because they are known as the “power plants” of cells, with their primary purpose being energy generation. Within the mitochondria is where CoQ10 is located. Without going into the chemistry too deeply, CoQ10 aids in electron transport that ultimately creates energy for the body in great amounts. Without CoQ10, your body will not be creating energy as efficiently as it should be.

Different tissues and organs in the body have different concentrations of mitochondria. The heart, for example, has very high levels because it is constantly working and needs a lot of energy. Makes sense. This is why CoQ10 is said to help the heart. More CoQ10 means more energy production from the mitochondria, translating into more energy for the heart (among other organs in the body).

This topic brings me to mention statin drugs. Statins are the drugs that people with high cholesterol are typically prescribed. The purpose of these drugs is to block the body’s production of cholesterol. This also makes sense, but here’s the kicker: The very bodily process that makes cholesterol also creates CoQ10. Therefore, blocking cholesterol production is also blocking our CoQ10. It’s funny that a drug intended to improve cardiovascular function is also reducing our heart’s energy. That being said, anyone who takes a statin drug for high cholesterol should also be supplementing with CoQ10.

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2 Responses to “What is CoQ10 and do I need it?”

  • cathy:

    Thanks for this article, never understood the importance related to the use of cholesterol drugs !!!

    • Thanks for reading, Cathy. Yes, it’s amazing what effects pharmaceuticals can have on the body. Medications do have their place in health care, but there should be an attempt to limit their use to prevent negative side effects that are much more common than people realize.

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