Coenzyme Q10: Definition and Overview

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What is coenzyme Q10?

What is coenzyme Q10

Coenzyme Q10 is a substance found naturally in the mitochondria, the cells’ powerhouses. It is also a powerful antioxidant that is sometimes taken in supplement form to treat a variety of ills. It has been touted as a treatment for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, breast cancer, diabetes and a host of other conditions. Several controlled studies suggest that coenzyme Q10 may be an effective treatment for high blood pressure. Evidence regarding its effects on high cholesterol levels, heart disease and cancer is inconclusive.

The evidence on coenzyme Q10’s potential benefits for diabetes is a mixed bag. Two randomized controlled trials of coenzyme Q10 in people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes failed to show any effect on blood glucose control or insulin requirements. However, one randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial found that coenzyme Q10 supplements improved blood pressure and long-term blood glucose control in participants with type 2 diabetes.

Is coenzyme Q10 safe?

There are few serious side effects associated with the use of coenzyme Q10, and side effects are usually mild and brief. The most frequent side effects include nausea, vomiting, stomach upset, heartburn and diarrhea. As with any dietary supplement, be sure to tell your health-care team if you take coenzyme Q10.

Originally Published March 29, 2011

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