Coenzyme Q10: The Essential Micronutrient and Antioxidant That Powers Every Cell of The Body
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is one of the most important nutrients in the human body. It helps energize every cell in every tissue of every organ and is needed for cell growth and maintenance. Despite its importance, not many people talk about it.
CoQ10 also functions as an antioxidant, helping protect the body from damaging free radicals. It’s often found in supplement form, but if you’ve learnt anything about supplements versus the real source, then you’d know that finding CoQ10 through foods is one of the purest, most bio-available forms out there.
CoQ10 levels are particularly high in organ meats, but that isn’t the only source. There are many plant-based sources (such as those listed below), but first let’s talk about CoQ10 a little more.
What Does CoQ10 Do?
CoQ10 helps create ATP, a molecule that helps direct energy where it is needed within a cell, and within the human body. ATP plays an important role in the metabolism, and helps with a variety of processes in the body like muscular contractions. It is basically “molecular currency” for the body.
For this reason, CoQ10 supplementation has been used to help improve exercise performance, or treating mitochondrial disorders (that limit energy production in the body) that have been either acquired throughout life or inherited.
CoQ10, once metabolized, also functions as an important cellular antioxidant along side vitamins C, E and selenium.
Health Benefits of CoQ10
CoQ10 supplementation can be used for a wide range of health issues. People also choose to take it to help their bodies function at a different, more optimal level. These health benefits and diseases it can help include:
• Treats high blood pressure and heart disease
• Enhances immune function (especially those with HIV/AIDS)
• Helps with male infertility (increases sperm count and motility)
• Migraine headache relief
• Provides energy boost for those with chronic fatigue
• Helps treat gum disease
• Stabilizes blood sugar levels and reduces high cholesterol levels (important for diabetics)
• Helps slow or prevent neurodegenerative disease (Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease)
• Prevents cancer
• Protects organs from toxic effects of chemotherapy
Because CoQ10 is highest until around age 20, it has also been thought that it helps to increase life span. Studies on this have only been done on bacteria, however, so no evidence really proves this theory (although it may be wise to supplement in your later years).
How Much CoQ10 Do I Take?
Our body maintains a CoQ10 store of about 1,000-1,500mg, which slowly decreases over our lifetime. We don’t need much from our diet, but if you are interested in supplementation, it is recommended to take 90-140mg per day (especially if you are taking it for disease/illness purposes).
Plant-Based Sources of CoQ10:
Spinach – 2-3mg per cup
Broccoli – 1mg per cup
Cauliflower – 0.8mg per cup
Lentils – 3mg per cup
Green Peas – 1mg per cup
Sesame Seeds – 0.7mg per ounce
Pistachio Nuts – 0.6 mg per ounce
Oranges – 0.3mg per 1 medium orange
Strawberries – 0.2mg per cup
Avocado – 2mg per avocado (~200g)