How does CoQ10 help heart health?
Published May 7, 2014
CoQ10, or coenzyme Q10, is a vitamin‐like substance that’s naturally found in the body and is essential for converting the food we eat into energy. It’s found in most of the cells of the body, particularly in those with high energy requirements such as cells in the heart muscle. CoQ10 may assist heart health in a number of ways including:
- Provides antioxidant effects – The heart is one of the most susceptible body organs to premature aging and free radical oxidative stress. CoQ10 is an antioxidant that protects cell membranes from free radical damage and also plays a role in strengthening the body’s antioxidant network.
- Inhibits low density lipoprotein (LDL) oxidation – LDLs are needed in our bodies to transport cholesterol through the bloodstream. Oxidation of LDLs may be harmful to cardiovascular tissues and contribute to heart conditions. As an antioxidant, CoQ10 reduces LDL oxidation.
- Supports general heart function – By improving energy production in heart muscle cells, CoQ10 plays an important role in heart function.
- May assist in the management of cholesterol health in normal healthy adults – Adequate CoQ10 levels have been linked to the maintenance of healthy cholesterol levels in the body.1
- May improve circulation – CoQ10 appears to support normal blood flow.
How do I ensure my body gets the CoQ10 it needs for heart health?
Producing CoQ10 in the body involves a complex 17‐step process that requires multiple nutrients including vitamins B2, B3 and B5, B12, folic acid, vitamin C and other trace elements.2 If the intake of these nutrients is inadequate it may affect tissue levels of CoQ10.3
Age also affects CoQ10 levels; CoQ10 levels tend to decrease with age and may also be affected by certain medicines and conditions. The synthesis of CoQ10 shares some common pathways with the synthesis of cholesterol, so medicines that blocks cholesterol may interfere with CoQ10 production in the body.
Small amounts of CoQ10 can be provided through food such as meat, poultry and fish as well as soybean oil, nuts, broccoli, cauliflower and eggs.3 High strength CoQ10 supplements may also help increase levels and may be suitable for older adults, those who wish to support their heart health or people on certain heart medicines.
- Digiesi, V., F. Cantini, et al. Mechanisms of action of co‐enzyme Q10 in essential hypertension. Current Therapeutic Research 1992;51(suppl): 668‐672.
- Natural Standard, Coenzyme Q10, http://www.naturalstandard.com/databases/, Accessed
- Higdon J, Coenzyme Q10, http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocenter/, Accessed March 2014
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