|Description||Co-enzyme Q10 (CoQ10), sometimes called Ubiquinone, is a naturally occurring vitamin-like substance produced by the body.
It is found in the mitochondria of all cells in the body, but particularly in those of the heart, liver, kidneys and pancreas.
Co-enzyme Q10 is produced in the body but the ability to synthesise CoQ10 reduces with age.
|Function/ Used for||CoQ10 is needed for the process that converts the energy from food into energy that can be used by the body.
CoQ10 also works as an antioxidant, neutralising potentially damaging free radicals to stabilise cell membranes and protect both lipids (fats) and proteins. It also works to regenerate other antioxidants such as vitamin E.
CoQ10 is also essential for the normal function of the heart muscle.
|As a supplement||CoQ10 is sold in capsules and tablets in strengths of 10–200 mg.
Absorption is increased when capsules containing CoQ10 in an oil base are taken with meals.1
|Found in (dietary sources)||CoQ10 can be mainly found in organ meats such as liver and kidneys; fish and shellfish; and the germ portion of whole grains.
It can also be found in smaller quantities in soya beans, nuts and vegetables, particularly spinach and broccoli.
|Precautions and contraindications||CoQ10 should not be used to treat cardiovascular disorders without medical supervision.|
|Use in pregnancy and breastfeeding||Safety in pregnancy and breastfeeding has not been established.|
|Interactions e.g. with other medications||In patients on warfarin (an anti-coagulant) and heart medication (eg. Beta-blockers), high doses of CoQ10 should be used with caution.
The synthesis of CoQ10 follows a similar biochemical pathway as cholesterol and, therefore, drugs which lower cholesterol such as statins also inhibit CoQ10 production in the body.
Other drugs which may reduce levels of CoQ10 include hypertensive drugs (used to treat high blood pressure, e.g. clonidine, hydralazine, methyldopa), thiazide diuretics (e.g. hydrochlorothiazide) and tricyclic antidepressants (e.g. amitriptyline).2
|Adverse effects||CoQ10 appears to be safe and relatively well tolerated in doses of 10–200 mg daily.
There are occasional reports of gastrointestinal discomfort, dizziness and skin rash, but these tend to occur with doses in excess of 200mg daily.1
|References||1 Mason, P. Dietary Supplements. Pharmaceutical Press, London, 2001.
2 Gaby A.R et al. A-Z Guide to Drug-Herb-Vitamin Interactions. Health Notes. Three Rivers Press. New York. 2006