Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a type of enzyme found in the cells of your body. CoQ10 is biosynthesized, that is, your body produces it naturally. It works to provide energy for organ function and is found in high concentrations in the heart and liver cells. In supplement form, CoQ10 is designed to replace or replenish the coenzyme in case of deficiency.
Coenzyme Q10 is concentrated in the mitochondria of your body’s cells. The mitochondria convert matter (nutrition) into energy, and CoQ10 is needed for this function. The coenzyme also acts as an antioxidant -- it works to prevent the formation of cancer cells and boosts your immune system. Your body produces CoQ10 the same way it produces both HDL and LDL (good and bad) cholesterol.
CoQ10 prevents oxidation of bad cholesterol (LDL). Oxidation of cholesterol leads to blocked arteries, a form of heart disease. CoQ10 is closely tied to the production of cholesterol, and if you take prescription statins to control high LDL levels, the statins also suppress production of CoQ10.
As a supplement, then, CoQ10 can aid in replenishing the coenzyme in your body. The side effects of statins include muscle weakness and joint pain, both of which have been attributed to reduction of CoQ10 in the body. Taking a CoQ10 supplement along with your statins may reduce or eliminate the side effects of the statins.
The significance of CoQ10 as a supplement is mostly aligned with heart health. Because the heart is one of the body's more active organs, it requires enormous amounts of energy to function. CoQ10 allows for production of that energy. Its ability to control oxidation of cholesterol and boost your immune system contributes to a healthy cardiovascular system. But is it effective as a day-to-day supplement for those in good health?
If you suffer from an immune deficiency condition, such as AIDS, CoQ10 may help you fight infections and ease physical pain. Those suffering from muscular dystrophy, Parkinson’s disease, or other muscle- and joint-related conditions might also benefit from using CoQ10 supplements. But your body should produce CoQ10 in sufficient amounts if you're in good health, follow a healthy diet and exercise regularly. Taking it as a supplement is unlikely to be of any benefit to you if you do not suffer from heart disease, autoimmune conditions or muscular degeneration due to disease.