Explaining CoQ10: Health Benefits and Sources
What is CoQ10 and what does it do?
CoQ10 is an antioxidant that can be found naturally in almost every cell of your body. Antioxidants are important because they are substances that help break down free radicals, which are molecules produced in the body that can cause damage. Free radicals are natural by-products of some cellular reaction which gives the body some health benefits. This is not healthy for your body. Things like too much alcohol and smoking can cause free radicals to build up, negatively affecting your body.
According to Dr. Robin Berzin, an integrative medicine physician and founder of Parsley Health, “When there are too many free radicals floating around, these highly reactive entities damage the healthy parts of your body they come in contact with. When free radicals come into contact with DNA, they can damage it, even causing mutations that lead to cancer. Free radicals also play a role in heart disease, stroke, arthritis, alcoholic liver damage, and even the aging process.”
Don’t worry though, your body produces some antioxidants while the rest we supplement through foods that contain them. Antioxidants work to find and neutralize free radicals, turning them into harmless substances. The antioxidants that our bodies produce is like a built-in defense, but it’s not always enough. If you are often losing sleep, drinking heavily, or smoking often, your body may need more antioxidants. Other antioxidants include vitamin E, vitamin C, flavonoids, phenols, ligands, and glutathione, which has been shown to boost levels of all the other antioxidants floating around in the body.
You can also get antioxidants from other sources besides your body. The best approach? Go natural. Plant-based foods like fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, herbs and spices, and foods like cocoa and green tea. The best things about these options are that antioxidants are not the only health benefit they offer. high-antioxidant foods are normally also high in fiber and good sources of vitamins and minerals, so you’re hitting a one stop shop of nutrients for your body.
Foods that you can find CoQ10 in.
There are various foods that are naturally high in CoQ10. Increasing your consumption of these foods is a great way to get more CoQ10, as well as antioxidants in general, in your life.
Here’s a list to get you started:
- Oily fish: Fish like salmon, tuna, sardines, and mackerel are high in antioxidant CoQ10. They are also high in healthy fats. Make sure you find a quality brand that does not over process the canned fish or fish in general.
- Organ meats: Liver and kidney meats also have high levels of coenzyme Q10.
- Vegetables: Veggies like spinach, broccoli, and cauliflower naturally contain high levels of this antioxidant.
- Legumes like peanuts and soybeans are the best non-animal sources of the substance.
Different uses for CoQ10.
CoQ10 has many uses in our bodies, its major roles are to help convert the food we eat into energy to power our brain. Researchers think it may be able to help with conditions like heart disease, immune function, and even migraines because of its antioxidant activity. Its effect on energy production, and the ability to prevent blood clots. Let’s delve a little deeper into the powers of this antioxidant:
CoQ10 and energy production.
It can be difficult to think about the things going on inside our bodies in a mindful way because, well, there is a lot going on. That being said, energy conversion in the body is one of those things people rarely think about, however, it’s crucial to our overall health. Eating the most nutritious foods every meal every day is great. This process takes place in our cells thanks to mitochondria.
What are mitochondria? Dr. Frank Lipman, an integrative medicine physician, explains, “The mitochondria are power plants. In the cells, they turn your food and oxygen into energy in the form of ATP. These mitochondria power the biochemical reactions in your cells. To me, they are the Western equivalent of chi or energy.” When the mitochondria aren’t in tip-top shape, it can majorly affect your health and could explain why you might be tired all the time. CoQ10 is completely necessary for mitochondrial support.
CoQ10 and heart disease.
If you have heart disease in your family and are interested in supplements, talk to your doctor about CoQ10. Studies and research have suggested that CoQ10 might be able to prevent a heart attack recurrence in people who have already suffered from a heart attack.
CoQ10 and statin drugs.
Taking statin drugs has the potential of lowering a person’s levels of CoQ10. Some studies have shown that taking a CoQ10 supplement might improve some of the side effects of statin drugs. Specifically speaking muscle weakness.
CoQ10 and brain health.
Studies that have taken place have shown that people with cognitive disorders have lower levels of CoQ10 in their blood than people with healthy brain function. Amazingly as well, some research has suggested that supplementing might slow deterioration in cognition for people with Alzheimer’s disease.
The possibilities of the power of CoQ10 continues beyond the research mentioned above. According to the NIH, various research studies have looked at the effects of CoQ10 for ALS, Down syndrome, Parkinson’s, diabetes, and even age-related changes in genes, however, none of them have been definitive. Talk to your doctor about dosages and if your body could benefit from CoQ10 supplements.