Just as we need energy to perform at our best, so do our cells.

One of the keys to keeping our cells full of energy is Coenzyme Q10 (or CoQ10). CoQ10 is “phenomenally important and pretty miraculous stuff,” says CPW pharmacist Greg Boucouvalas, RPh.

Coenzyme Q10 is a vitamin-like substance produced by the human body. It is found in virtually every cell in the body and is necessary for the production of energy within the cell. It also functions as an antioxidant.

In healthy individuals, normal CoQ10 levels are maintained by intake of CoQ10 in certain foods (such as beef, sardines, and peanuts) and by the body’s synthesis of the coenzyme. However, CoQ10 levels decrease with age, certain heart conditions, and chronic diseases such as cancer, autoimmune diseases, and diabetes. Some prescription drugs may also lower levels of CoQ10, and in these instances, supplementation may help cells maintain proper energy function.

Significantly decreased levels of CoQ10 have been found in studies of a variety of diseases, but most specifically in heart disease. According to CoQ10 researcher Peter Langsjoen, M.D., “CoQ10 is known to be highly concentrated in heart muscle cells due to the high energy requirements of this cell type. Congestive heart failure (from a wide variety of causes) has been strongly correlated with significantly low blood and tissue levels of CoQ10 and the severity of heart failure correlates with the severity of CoQ10 deficiency.”

Additionally, many drugs used to treat heart disease – such as beta blockers and statin drugs, those typically prescribed to lower cholesterol and improve heart health – actually interfere with the body’s ability to produce CoQ10. CoQ10 and cholesterol partially share a bio-synthetic pathway (where one biological material is converted to another through enzymatic reactions). “Inhibitors used to treat elevated blood cholesterol levels by blocking cholesterol biosynthesis also block CoQ10 biosynthesis,” Langsjoen reports. And in patients with heart failure, inhibiting CoQ10 production has a significant harmful effect.

Taking CoQ10 supplements, however, has proven to help negate CoQ10 deficiency and improve the heart’s ability to produce energy. When used in addition to traditional medical treatments, patients have experienced great heart health results. According to Langsjoen, the majority of clinical studies concerning the treatment of heart disease “were remarkably consistent in their conclusions: that treatment with CoQ10 significantly improved heart muscle function while producing no adverse effects or drug interactions.”

CoQ10 supplements come in pressed tablets, powder-filled capsules, or oil-based gelcaps. As CoQ10 is fat-soluble, absorption is enhanced when supplements are consumed with fat-containing foods such as peanut butter. The average recommended dose is 100 mg per day, but it varies according to disease and individual patient needs, and it’s important to discuss supplementation with your physician.

Click here to read more about CoQ10 or visit the store to talk with one of our wellness specialists.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.