Note: Each week, family physician Regina Chinsio-Kwong, DO from Mission Heritage Medical Group in Laguna Niguel will offer insight on a different vitamin—why you need it, how to incorporate it into your diet and how it affects your health. If you are considering taking any kind of supplement, consult with a medical professional first.
WHAT IT DOES: Coenzyme Q10, CoQ10 (also called ubiquinol) is an antioxidant that acts like a bodyguard for your cells. Found throughout the body—with the highest concentrations in the heart, pancreas, liver and kidneys—CoQ10 keeps cells thriving by producing energy out of food and warding off free radicals that can damage and destroy cells. As you age, your CoQ10 levels decrease; smoking also makes levels go down. CoQ10 supplements are often used by people with cardiovascular disease; other reasons for use include diabetic neuropathy, Parkinson's disease, muscular dystrophy, and migraines.
RECOMMENDED DAILY ALLOWANCE: There is no specific RDA for CoQ10. Generally, daily dosages range from 30 to 200 milligrams.
HOW TO INCLUDE IT IN YOUR DIET: Tuna, salmon, whole grains, and liver and other organ meats have CoQ10. Supplements come in pill or spray form. (It's also in lotions and creams for more cosmetic uses, such as skin care.) Supplements should be taken with food for proper absorption in the body.
HEALTH IMPACT: Low levels of Coenzyme Q10 can cause fatigue and muscle aches. Side effects from taking CoenzymeQ10 can include stomach problems such as nausea and appetite loss, skin rashes due to allergy, insomnia, dizziness, irritability and a decrease in blood pressure. Children and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should avoid taking CoQ10. Talk to your doctor before taking CoQ10 supplements if you're on blood pressure or blood thinning medications or are being treated for glaucoma, high cholesterol or depression.
RECOMMENDED SUPPLEMENT BRANDS:
Common: Nature Made, Kirkland Signature, Berkley & Jensen
Professional Brands: Metagenics, Pure Encapsulations, Orthomolecular, QGel (Tishcon)
Read more from our Value of Vitamin Series, including B complex,