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In October of 2016, CNN reported that more than half of all American adults had taken at least one type of supplement within the previous 30 days.
And while the usage of multivitamins had actually declined from 37 percent to 31 percent in recent years, some nutrients—such as omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, and lycopene—were now being taken more often than ever before.
This type of supplementary consumption contributes to what the Office of Dietary Supplements refers to as a $36.7 billion industry. But what’s perhaps most interesting is that NASDAQ’s Globe Newswire is predicting that one particular supplement alone will grow massively and become responsible for a whopping $849.5 million of the market by the year 2020, accounting for a larger share than a lot of other supplements combined. That supplement is coenzyme Q10.
What exactly is CoQ10?
The National Institute of Health’s National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) shares that coenzyme Q10, often referred to simply as CoQ10 for short, is an antioxidant that is necessary for cells to function properly. Specifically, it helps them create the energy they need to grow and stay healthy. Antioxidants fight damaging particles known as free radicals, which can damage cell membranes.
While it can be found in multiple places (such as plants, bacteria, and animals), CoQ10 within the human body is in almost every cell, with higher amounts in four specific organs: the heart, liver, kidneys, and pancreas says the NCCIH. But let’s look at the heart in particular.
Cardiovascular benefits of CoQ10
Because coenzyme Q10 can improve energy production in cells, can act as an antioxidant, and prevent blood clot formation, researchers believe it is necessary for heart health. The NCCIH reports that CoQ10 supplements may be advantageous for patients with certain cardiovascular disorders.
Information provided by the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) concurs, stating how research has linked CoQ10 supplementation with reduced blood pressure, fewer incidences of reoccurring heart attacks in individuals starting a CoQ10 regimen within 3 days of an initial episode, and cardiovascular improvements in those diagnosed with heart failure.
According to the Mayo Clinic statins may have been found to reduce the amount of CoQ10 that occurs in the body naturally, so it has been suggested as a treatment for these individuals. Some researchers have also proposed the use of CoQ10 as it might reduce the muscle pain sometimes associated with statin treatments.
One literature review published in BMJ Journals in 2015 pointed to studies which found CoQ10 more effective than a placebo. This caused the researchers to call coenzyme Q10 “an attractive option in the management of heart failure,” at least while more studies are being conducted.
According to the UMMC, some studies have even found CoQ10 offers heart-based benefits for individuals prior to heart surgery, undergoing chemotherapy, protecting the heart from the drugs often used during this course of treatment. While these are all promising results, it’s important to realize that not everyone should take coenzyme Q10.
Individuals who shouldn’t take CoQ10
Health experts seem to agree that CoQ10 supplementation should not be considered without an individual first consulting with his or her primary care provider. That be said, it should not be taken by women who are pregnant or breastfeeding according to the NCCIH. Individuals taking warfarin should also be weary of CoQ10 usage because it may make this anticoagulant (blood thinner) less effective.
The NCCIH also warns that CoQ10 supplements should not be used to replace a healthful diet or conventional medical care, or as a reason to postpone seeing a health care provider about a medical problem. Instead, it should be used in addition to and in conjunction with a healthy lifestyle.
CoQ10 dosage recommendations
As far as how much should be taken, the Mayo Clinic indicates that the amount of CoQ10 recommended depends largely on the reason for taking it. For instance, if you’re taking this supplement as a basic antioxidant, then the dosage generally falls somewhere between 60 and 150 milligrams per day. However, if you’re taking CoQ10 to strengthen the heart, the dosage range is much higher, with some recommendations being closer to 600 milligrams daily.
If CoQ10 supplementation is recommended, the Cleveland Heart Lab suggests that individuals take it at mealtime as it is “fat-soluble and is best absorbed when taken with food”, or a supplement formulation with “body-ready” technology such as VESIsorb®. Studies show that the VESIsorb® patented delivery system provides significant improvements in absorption and bioavailability of fat-soluble nutrients such as coenzyme Q10.
They go on to say that it’s also important to keep track of its levels in the blood, monitoring “good cholesterol” levels at the same time as these two substances tend to rise and fall in unison.
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