Coenzyme Q-10 (CoQ-10) is a vitamin-like substance found throughout the body, but especially in the heart, liver, kidney, and pancreas. It is eaten in small amounts in meats and seafood. Coenzyme Q-10 can also be made in a laboratory. It is used as medicine.
Many people use coenzyme Q-10 for treating heart and blood vessel conditions such as congestive heart failure (CHF), chest pain (angina), high blood pressure, and heart problems linked to certain cancer drugs. It is also used for diabetes, gum disease (both taken by mouth and applied directly to the gums), breast cancer, Huntington’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, muscular dystrophy, increasing exercise tolerance, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), and Lyme disease. Some people think coenzyme Q-10 will treat hair loss related to taking warfarin (Coumadin), a medication used to slow blood clotting.
Some people also think coenzyme Q-10 might help increase energy. This is because coenzyme Q-10 has a role in producing ATP, a molecule in body cells that functions like a rechargeable battery in the transfer of energy. Coenzyme Q-10 has been tried for treating inherited or acquired disorders that limit energy production in the cells of the body (mitochondrial disorders), and for improving exercise performance.
Some people have also used coenzyme Q-10 for strengthening the immune systems of people with HIV/AIDS, male infertility, migraine headache, and counteracting muscle pain sometimes caused by a group of cholesterol-lowering medications called “statins.”
Coenzyme Q-10 has even been tried for increasing life span. This idea got started because coenzyme Q-10 levels are highest in the first 20 years of life. By age 80, coenzyme-Q10 levels can be lower than they were at birth. Some people thought that restoring high levels of coenzyme-Q10 late in life might cause people to live longer. The idea works in bacteria, but not in lab rats. More research is needed to see if this works in people.
It’s not only time that uses up the body’s store of coenzyme Q-10. Smoking does, too.
Coenzyme Q-10 was first identified in 1957. The “Q-10” refers to the chemical make-up of the substance. These days coenzyme Q-10 is used by millions of people in Japan for heart disease, especially congestive heart failure. Coenzyme Q-10 is also used extensively in Europe and Russia. Most of the coenzyme Q-10 used in the US and Canada is supplied by Japanese companies. Coenzyme Q-10 is manufactured by fermenting beets and sugar cane with special strains of yeast.
How does it work?
Coenzyme Q-10 is an important vitamin-like substance required for the proper function of many organs and chemical reactions in the body. It helps provide energy to cells. Coenzyme Q-10 also seems to have antioxidant activity. People with certain diseases, such as congestive heart failure, high blood pressure, periodontal disease, Parkinson’s disease, certain muscular diseases, and AIDS, might have lower levels of coenzyme Q-10.