The Essentials on CoQ10 - Better Nutrition

The Essentials on CoQ10

It has earned accolades for its heart health benefits. Now, CoQ10 shows promise for migraines, fibromyalgia, and even as a skin care ingredient.
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In 1981, after giving birth to her son, Joan developed postpartum cardiomyopathy, a rare form of heart failure that can strike young women. Two years later, she was on the waiting list for a heart transplant. But things changed after she saw Stephen Sinatra, MD, a cardiologist who was beginning to use coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) to treat patients. At the time, says Sinatra, “The strategy was totally experimental.” But Joan wanted to try it—and it worked.


“By the time my name came up on the heart transplant list,” recalls Joan. “I was on CoQ10, and it gradually started bringing my heart level up.” Experiencing considerable improvement, she declined a new heart and continued on a supplement regimen prescribed by Sinatra. To this day, 30 years later, her own heart serves her well.

Research Highlights

Joan is only one of many heart patients who’ve benefitted from CoQ10. One study, published in Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, documented marked improvement among 11 people waiting for heart transplants. “After CoQ10, some patients required no conventional drugs and had no limitation
in lifestyle,” wrote the researchers.

In a University of Texas study that followed more than 400 heart patients, taking CoQ10 (75–600 mg daily) significantly improved heart function, and for some, eliminated risk of imminent death while reducing the need for various medications. Dozens of other studies have found similar heart healthy results.

See Also CoQ10 Helps Restore Health

But the heart isn’t the only part of the body that benefits from this nutrient. In fact, mitochondria, the energy-generating components of every cell, must have CoQ10 to function properly. Because that energy is essential to keep us alive, a CoQ10 shortfall has far-reaching consequences, and restoring levels can produce remarkable benefits. In addition to its effects on heart health, research has shown that CoQ10 can:

  • Reduce inflammation and muscle damage from intense exercise
  • Provide some relief from fibromyalgia symptoms
  • Lessen the frequency and severity of migraine headaches
  • Improve quality of life for people with Parkinson’s disease
  • Fight sun damage when used topically in skin care products

How to Use CoQ10

Our bodies naturally produce CoQ10, but the amounts decrease as we get older—lack of energy is a symptom. The nutrient is also found in meat and oily fish, but in quantities too small to be therapeutic, so supplements are the way to go. Also look for the reduced form of CoQ10 (ubiquinol), which is easier to absorb. Sinatra recommends the following dosages:

  • To maintain a healthy heart and prevent periodontal disease: 90–150 mg daily.
  • When taking statins, or if there is high blood pressure, shortness of breath, irregular heartbeat, or existing gum disease: 180–360 mg daily.
    For mild-to-moderate heart failure: 300–360 mg daily.
  • For severe congestive heart failure or dilated cardiomyopathy (a weak and enlarged heart): 360–600 mg daily.
  • To improve quality of life for people with Parkinson’s disease: 600–1,200 mg daily.
  • To reduce migraines, a study found this dosage effective: 100 mg, three times daily, taken for several months.

CoQ10 & Statins

Statin drugs for lowering cholesterol are known to deplete levels of CoQ10, and this is one cause of the drugs’ side effects, including muscle weakness, fatigue, memory loss, and peripheral neuropathy—damage to nerves that causes numbness, tingling, or prickly sensations in hands and toes. CoQ10 supplements can help to reverse these symptoms while protecting the heart.

In a study published in the journal BioFactors, doctors at a clinic in Tyler, Texas, gave an average of 240 mg of CoQ10 daily to 50 heart patients who had discontinued statin drugs due to their adverse effects. Researchers tracked these patients for an average of 22 months and saw no heart attacks or strokes in the group, and in most cases, heart function either improved or remained stable. And the percentage of patients suffering from statin-related adverse effects decreased significantly:


Another study, published in The Physician and Sportsmedicine, found that 200 mg daily of CoQ10, taken for six weeks, improved muscle function in a group of athletes who were over age 50 and were taking statins.

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