Everything to Know About CoQ10: Benefits, Side Effects and More

It seems that everyone I know is taking CoQ10, but what is it? You can never be too informed about the supplements you are putting into your body. This will hopefully answer many of your questions about CoQ10. What it is, what it does, the benefits, and the side effects.  

What it is

CoQ10 is the abbreviation for Coenzyme Q10. It is a compound that is naturally occurring in the body. It is found mostly in the mitochondria of the cells. As you get older the amount of CoQ10 in the body decreases, which is why it is important to supplement and eat foods rich in CoQ10, especially as you age. 

What it does

CoQ10 has two main functions. One is its role as an antioxidant. Antioxidants are protective factors that reduce the harm from free radicals and oxidative damage in the body. Free radicals are harmful products that are produced during the process of creating energy. The free radicals interact with other structures in the mitochondria that result in what is called oxidative damage. The role as an antioxidant is a main reason that CoQ10 does such a great job at protecting the body. 

The second function that it has is also in the mitochondria. CoQ10 has an active role in the process of creating energy in the mitochondria. It helps to efficiently move the energy through the mitochondria to make energy that your body can actually utilize. Without CoQ10 the mitochondria have a more difficult time creating the energy it needs and therefore your body lacks the energy it needs. 

Benefits

CoQ10 has many benefits that affect your physiological and mental processes. When speaking of physical health CoQ10 helps you run at optimum functioning. It starts on the outside with making your skin healthy. It reduces the effects of UV rays and even reduces the appearance of wrinkles and dull skin. The benefits go even deeper to your muscles where it works to make more energy, reduce fatigue, and aid in recovery time. Finally, CoQ10 works in your other organ systems to keep your heart healthy, balance your hormones, and help regulate your blood sugar.  

Often, we focus on physical health, but mental health is of equal importance. CoQ10 can help you to reach mental clarity, reduce your stress or anxiety, and even help you sleep. All these mental health benefits can make it easier to get through your day and even make it more enjoyable. When you feel your best, you can give your all to what matters most to you. 

Side Effects

Overall, CoQ10 has very limited side effects when it is taken as recommended on the bottle or by your healthcare provider. Side effects are not frequently experienced but there are known possible reactions to the supplement. Some digestive side effects include a loss of appetite, a feeling nausea, diarrhea or softened stool, and mild upper abdominal pain. Other side effects include potential sensitivity to sunlight, rashes, dizziness, or irritability. Caution should be taken if you are taking anticoagulants such as Coumadin or Jantoven as these could increase your risk for blood clot or other more serious side effects associated with clots. If you are pregnant, breast feeding, or planning to become pregnant it is advised that you do not take CoQ10 as there is no research on the effects of the supplements on the mother or fetus. If you experience an adverse reaction to CoQ10 stop taking it and see your doctor to ensure that you are able to safely take the supplement. Before starting any supplement, it is advised to talk to your doctor to see if the supplement is right for you. 

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