Supplement 101: Coenzyme Q10

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“Everyone with any type of cardiovascular disease should take coenzyme Q10,” says Julian Whitaker, MD, founder of the Whitaker Wellness Institute Medical Clinic in Newport Beach, Calif. “It’s the single most powerful supplement for strengthening the heart muscle. I also recommend CoQ10 for general health maintenance and disease prevention.” While CoQ10 is found in soybean and canola oils, “it’s most abundant in meat and fish, so supplements are particularly important for vegetarians,” Whitaker adds.

Coenzyme Q10: A Power Source

Coenzyme Q10 plays a vital part in cell energy as well as heart function. As an antioxidant, it also battles the free radicals that lead to disease and aging. Both types of CoQ10 produced in the body—ubiquinone and the more active ubiquinol—are available in supplements. Whitaker prefers the latter for supplementation, though the type of CoQ10 matters less than taking it with a fatty meal to slow transit through the body and improve absorption.

Use Coenzyme Q10 Right 

Natural levels of coenzyme Q10 decrease with age and in patients with heart conditions or those taking statins (anti-cholesterol drugs). While there’s no official daily value for CoQ10, tests on its use as an antioxidant range from 60 to 150 milligrams per day and up to 200 milligrams as a preventive against heart disease. Julian Whitaker, MD, usually suggests 100 milligrams daily for health maintenance.

Watch Out For...

Side effects may include gastrointestinal upset, but no serious adverse reactions are associated with recommended doses. Consult your health care provider if you take blood thinners, aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen.

Coenzyme Q10 to Try:

Bluebonnet Cellular Active CoQ10 Ubiquinol
$55.95/60
100-mg v-caps; bluebonnetnutrition.com

Solgar Vegetarian CoQ-10
$35/60 120-mg v-caps; solgar.com