by Valerie Demetros
Coenzyme Q10, or CoQ10, is a nutrient naturally produced by the body and connected to energy production. A powerful antioxidant, it protects your brain, heart and muscles.
CoQ10 has anti-inflammatory properties, and as we age we produce less. Certain health conditions, including heart disease, cancer, diabetes and such neurodegenerative diseases as Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s, also can lead to lower levels of CoQ10.
Sometimes, it may be necessary to supplement. The essential nutrient can be found in pill form, or in oily fish like salmon, mackerel and sardines, or eggs, nuts, chicken, organ meats and whole grains.
Some research suggests that supplementing with CoQ10 may help with several age-related conditions. A few of these benefits include:
A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that participants who took CoQ10 had improved heart health when compared to those who took a placebo.
In a continuing study, people living with moderate to severe heart failure who took daily CoQ10 supplements had a 42% reduced risk of their first major adverse cardiovascular event (MACE). Participants also had a 43% decreased risk for heart-related deaths.
Be aware that the supplement can make some blood-thinning medications less effective, so discuss this with your doctor.
For those looking to decrease the frequency, severity and duration of migraines, some studies have shown the anti-inflammatory properties of CoQ10 supplements can give relief.
A separate study paired CoQ10 with magnesium and riboflavin and showed results in reducing migraine pain and impact. Of course, you’ll want to check in with your doctor.
Female fertility decreases with age because of a decline in the number and quality of available eggs. As you age, CoQ10 production slows, which makes the body less effective at protecting the eggs from oxidative damage. Studies show that supplementing with CoQ10 helps and may reverse the age-related decline in egg quality and quantity.
As far as male fertility, sperm also are susceptible to the effects of oxidative damage, which may result in reduced sperm count, poor sperm quality and infertility. Various studies have established that supplementing with CoQ10 can improve sperm quality, activity and concentration by increasing antioxidant protection.
Younger looking skin
Your skin is the largest organ in your body, and harmful elements can lead to reduced skin moisture and protection from environmental antagonists, as well as thinning of the skin.
Applying CoQ10 directly to the skin can reduce the damage from internal and external agents by increasing energy production in skin cells and promoting antioxidant protection. CoQ10 applied directly to the skin has been shown to reduce oxidative damage caused by UV rays and even diminish the depth of wrinkles.
One study found that people with low levels of CoQ10 seem to be more likely to develop skin cancer.