As February is American Heart Month, we couldn’t think of a better reason to highlight one of our lesser known – but no less important – nutrients, Coenzyme Q10 (aka, CoQ10).
CoQ10 is a fat-soluble, “vitamin-like” substance and powerful antioxidant that is naturally produced in the body. It is essential for cell growth, protects us against damage from toxic free radicals, and also plays a crucial role in mitochondrial function and energy production. This makes it particularly important for cells that use a lot of energy, such as those of the heart muscle.
Despite incredible advancements in medicine, heart disease remains one of the leading causes of death and debilitation worldwide. As the need to understand and manage this problem grows, more and more research is being done on CoQ10 and its connection to heart health.
While it’s natural for our bodies to lose CoQ10 with age, studies have also linked cardiovascular and metabolic disorders to deficiencies in CoQ10. In fact, low CoQ10 levels have been associated with greater overall severity of heart failure, as well as greater tissue damage to the heart during a heart attack and to the brain during a stroke.
In turn, studies have found that outcomes for patients with cardiovascular disease were improved by supplementing with CoQ10. CoQ10 supplementation also lowers levels of inflammatory biomarkers shown to be risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
CoQ10 is strongly recommended for people taking cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins. Statins can not only deplete the body of CoQ10, but may also cause undesirable side effects, such as muscle weakness and pain. Supplementing with CoQ10 has been found to both restore levels in the body and reduce statin-related symptoms.
In addition to protecting the heart, a few studies have shown that CoQ10 may slow the progression of Alzheimer’s and other degenerative diseases. Additionally, CoQ10 has been studied as a preventative therapy for migraine headaches. However, additional research is needed to confirm these benefits.
So, what is the best way to boost your CoQ10?
While CoQ10 is found in some foods, dietary sources aren’t generally adequate to significantly increase CoQ10 levels in the body. Furthermore, oral supplements must be taken with food and may cause GI upset, which can be a hassle. When you get an IM injection*, it bypasses the digestive system and goes to work in your cells immediately. What’s not to ❤️ about that?
*Note: while supplementing with CoQ10 is relatively safe for the majority of the population, it is not recommended for people taking blood-thinning medications, insulin, or certain chemotherapy drugs. Always consult your primary care practitioner and let B12 LOVE medical staff know of any medications you are taking before receiving CoQ10.