Congestive heart failure is managed holistically through a combination of medications, lifestyle modifications and dietary supplements. The condition, that afflicts a large percentage of the US population, results in possible overuse of supplements; unlike the prescriptions and dosages of medications. The possibility of coenzyme q10 side effects exist among users, and considering the reported statistic of around 5 million Americans with the condition, the risk is proportionately higher. Here is an in-depth look at the coenzyme q10 and suggestions to prevent undesirable effects from incorrect or over use of the supplements.

What is coenzyme q10 and what conditions does it help manage or treat?

Coenzyme q10 is known as a lipid soluble coenzyme and is abundant in antioxidants. It is available naturally in the body and is present in various food products. It is similar to vitamins and is essential for the smooth functioning of various organs in the body and has a role in multiple functions in the body. Known as a ubiquinone, coenzyme q10 belongs to the category of quinone and is effectively the most common form of the nutrient in the body. Through its mechanism of actions, the treatment outcomes among patients with specific conditions are improved.

This includes systolic hypertension and congestive heart failure by increasing the cardiac input. The nutrient is vital in the sequence of actions that occur in cells with high metabolism. In addition to the above, the nutrient helps elderly patients by delaying the onset of degenerative conditions such as Parkinson’s.  Apart from conditions mentioned above, coenzyme q10 is used in the treatment of periodontal diseases and fibromyalgia. It is also used by diabetics and individuals suffering from migraine.

The link between benefits and the mechanism of action

The benefits are all attributed to the mechanism of action of the nutrient. One of the reasons that make it an essential co-factor is its role in accepting electrons, and its pivotal role in ATP synthesis. The conversion of carbohydrates into energy is critical, as it supplies the cells with the required energy. As a rich source of antioxidants, coenzyme q10 plays a very important role in protecting lipid membranes from lipid peroxidation. This refers to the sequence of actions and reactions that contribute to oxidative degradation, wherein, electrons from lipid membranes are reduced as a result of actions by free radicals. The consequence of this is cell damage and disease. In addition to this, the nutrient helps in fighting bad cholesterol.

The actions that are specifically responsible for the benefits in treating various health conditions can be attributed to the role of coenzyme q10 in producing energy, the important action of handling or mitigating the actions of free radicals, and DNA replication/repair.  Free radicals are responsible for various diseases, and the nutrient helps in warding off or preventing or treating conditions that are a result of damage by free radicals.

Food products that contain the essential coenzyme

The coenzyme q10 is found in various food products that are consumed as part of standard diets. For instance, the heart, liver and kidneys of meat products contain the nutrient. Also known as a nonprotein molecule, the coenzyme is available in meat such as pork, chicken and beef. It is present in fish specie such as trout, mackerel, sardines and herring. It is also available in vegetables such spinach, broccoli and cauliflower and legumes like soybean, peanut and lentils. In addition to the above, the nutrient is also available fruit such as oranges and strawberries. Apart from all the sources of food listed above, it is also found sesame seeds, pistachios and oil from soybean and canola.

Why is it necessary to take coenzyme as a supplement when it is available naturally in food?

While it is true that dietary intake will deliver the required amount of coenzyme q10, the levels of the nutrient in the body may sometimes be lesser than the desired levels. This could be due to age related degradation, congenital defects and certain medications. For instance, statins are known to reduce the levels of the coenzyme q10 in addition to the desired outcome of lowering cholesterol. Certain medical conditions or disorders specifically related to mitochondria may also cause a reduction in the levels of the coenzyme. This makes it necessary to supplement the same from other sources, that will help deliver the nonprotein molecule quickly to the body, and help treat or manage the disease.

Link between coenzyme q10 and diseases

Many health conditions are directly and indirectly attributed to lesser than required coenzymeQ10 levels, as listed below:

Contributing reasons for the above conditions include tissue damage, DNA mutation and/or inflammation. This also occurs due to the action of free radicals, or large amounts of free radical in the body. The coenzyme 10 helps in neutralizing free radicals, and this in turn helps to protect and prevent cell damage. It is also known to halt aging related degradation to an extent that could either delay the ailments or could, in some instances, actually prevent individuals from degenerative conditions.

Are there possibilities of coenzyme q10 side effects?

There are possibilities of undesirable effects of the coenzyme q10 as a supplement. This is generally not because of the supplement itself, as it is also naturally present in the body, but it is because of intake that is beyond the required levels. As supplements are generally consumed with lesser caution, unlike medications, there is a risk of effects. Additionally, there could be consistency issues with the quality, or the dosage. For instance, brands may offer greater or lesser dosage in a typical serving quantity, than other brands, and this may impact the actual amount consumed.

Ideal dosage of the nutrient

Various factors need to be taken in to consideration before deciding on the dosage to be consumed. The age, the actual condition of the individual, other diagnosed health conditions, fitness, metabolism and use of medications that may have an impact on the efficacy of the supplement. While these factors will help to arrive at a safe dosage, there are upper limits that are not to be exceeded under any circumstances. While the average recommended or typical dosage may range between 60 – 500 milligrams per day, certain conditions may require higher dosages. However, it is to be borne in mind that daily dosages are never to exceed 1200 mg. This is regarded as the safe upper limit and this threshold should ever be crossed.

Drug interactions of CoQ10  

There is a possibility of drug interactions of coenzyme q10. This is not restricted to medications, but also extends to supplements. Interactions are common when patients are on blood thinners. There is a possibility of formation of blood clots when taken along with CoQ10, and this makes it necessary to avoid the supplement during the period of treatment regimen. It may be necessary to choose other medications or treatment options to handle the ailments that were aimed to be managed with CoQ10. Other interactions include the possibility of drug interactions with insulin, and as insulin is of paramount importance for diabetics, it is necessary to stay off the supplements during this period. Finally, the coenzyme is also known to present some form of interactions with medications used as part of chemotherapy. As this if greater importance when compared with the expected outcomes of the coenzyme, it is necessary to stay off the supplements during chemotherapy. In the event that it is necessary to continue the supplements, it is mandatory to seek specific medical advice on the same.

Documented outcomes of CoQ10

There are clear and documented benefits or outcomes that have been attributed to CoQ10. As outlined earlier, the neutralization of free radicals, prevention of cell damage, and neutralization or prevention of oxidation are the primary benefits that in turn help prevent various health complications and degenerative conditions.

Other benefits linked to the supplements include the important role in the sequence of actions for ensuring that cells receive the required energy from carbohydrates. Healthy individuals are known to have high levels of the coenzyme, and individuals with relatively lower levels are prone to probable heart ailments. As part of studies to determine the efficacy of the supplements, subjects with heart conditions were given supplements, and results indicated a marked improvement.

CoQ10 is used for managing muscular pain due to specific reasons

In addition to the proven benefits, the coenzyme is also recommended for patients for pain management in specific conditions. Remember, it is not effective in treating or managing pain in all conditions, but is effective only for specific conditions. Statins for cholesterol are known to reduce coenzyme 10 levels. As a result of this reduction, patients may experience pain in the muscles. This is managed through CoQ10 supplements, to help boost the levels of the coenzyme and mitigate the pain.

Coenzyme q10 for treating pain from inflammation and for degenerative, age-related conditions

The nutrient supplement is also effective in helping reduce the pain associated with inflammation. Migraine is attributed to inflammation the use of supplementary CoQ10 helps to reduce the inflammation and deliver relief from headaches among patients with migraine.

Various age-related conditions are mainly due to degeneration, that impact the mitochondria. Elderly patients with Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s experience or exhibit typical symptoms due to free radical’s damage. The use of CoQ10 supplements helps to negate the effects, by boosting the levels of antioxidants, which help to fight damage.

Prevent or manage coenzyme q10 side effects with simple measures

Simple measures help to prevent the adverse effects of the supplement. The first step towards preventing undesirable outcomes is the need to stick to recommended and safe intake levels. Other effects include the possibility of nausea, that is relatively easy to handle or prevent. Consuming the supplements along with food or after food, will help prevent nausea. Pain is another possible outcome that may be experienced initially, and the best method to deal with pain is to start with smaller intake and gradually increase intake. Dizzy feelings can be avoided by rising slowly from reclining positions. Finally, the best way to prevent handle heartburn is to modify intake and gradually increase intake till the body adjusts to the supplementary coenzyme q10.


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