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Should You Take CoQ10?

By Jamie Wise

Coenzyme Q-10, or CoQ10, is a fat-soluble, vitamin-like substance. It can be produced by the human body, consumed through food or chemically made. Touted for a variety of healing and preventive properties, many studies have proven to be inconclusive based on only small, short-term studies. Before adding CoQ10 to your diet, you should be aware of the conditions it treats, and what the research says. As with starting any new treatment, please consult your doctor first.

Coenzyme Q10 Health Claims

Coenzyme Q10 is known to be involved in energy production within the cells of the body. It also acts as an antioxidant that helps rid the body of free radicals, or toxins, from pollution, radiation or tobacco smoke. Some have touted CoQ10 as an age-defying vitamin based on the idea that when you are born, you have high levels of CoQ10. As you age, these levels diminish, thus the reasoning that with increased levels of CoQ10, you will live longer. However, this research has not been tested in humans.

CoQ10 Possibly Effective Health Claims

Other than claims of living a longer life, some research suggests that CoQ10 is possibly effective for lowering high blood pressure, improving immunity in HIV/AIDS and preventing migraine headaches. Perhaps the most promising use of CoQ10 is for those with heart failure combined with other medications. However, the American Heart Association does not recommend taking CoQ10 regularly until more research is done.

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Dosings and Possible Side Effects

CoQ10 can be found in organ meats such as the heart, kidney and liver. You can also reap the benefits from foods such as peanuts, mackerel, sardines and soybean oil. If you decide to take CoQ10 supplements, it is best to discuss this with your doctor first. For adults 18 and older, 50 to 1,200 milligrams daily should be safe. For best results, split up your dosing to two to three times each day, vs. one large dose. Common side effects might include nausea, loss of appetite, diarrhea or rash.

Safety First

Before adding CoQ10 to your diet, speak to your doctor to see if it could interfere with any pre-existing conditions you may have or medications you may be on. If you are on chemotherapy, or taking medications for high blood pressure or blood thinners, please be cautious and get your doctor's approval, as the drug combination could put your health at risk. Also, if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, it is safer to avoid CoQ10 as insufficient research exists on its efficacy and safety in this population.

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