Q10 blocks inflammation
- but only when taken in optimal amounts
Q10 is a popular supplement for boosting energy levels and supporting circulatory health. According to a new meta-analysis that is published in Molecular Nutrition Food Research, the compound is also able to inhibit inflammation, which is the common thread in most chronic diseases. This requires sufficiently high doses of the compound, and it is also important to take high-quality supplements with documented absorption.
Q10 is a vitamin-like, lipid-soluble compound that has several essential functions. It is involved in cellular energy metabolism, a process that takes place inside the mitochondria. However, Q10 is also a powerful antioxidant that protects cells and the circulatory system against oxidative stress and free radical damage. Moreover, Q10 helps recycle vitamins C and E and is also involved in the cholesterol metabolism. There has been some discussion about whether Q10 affects different inflammation markers, so a group of scientists decided to look at the matter.
The body must be able to launch acute inflammation in the case of an infection or sudden tissue damage. Chronic inflammation, on the other hand, is highly harmful because it bombards the body with free radicals. Chronic inflammation is the common thread of most chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes.
First, the scientists started by collecting 6,713 articles about Q10 that had been published before December 2022. They proceeded to single out 31 double-blind, placebo-controlled studies with a total of 1,117 volunteers, where Q10 in different doses had been tested on three different inflammation markers: C-reactive protein (CRP), interleukin-6 (IL-6), and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α).
They found that Q10 supplementation significantly increased levels of Q10 in the blood, while lowering circulating blood levels of the three inflammation markers (CRP, IL-6, and TNF-α). The optimal anti-inflammatory effect was seen with a daily Q10 intake in the range of 300-400 mg.
Q10 requirements and supplementation
There is no official recommendation for Q10 intake. However, experts believe we need around 500 mg per day. We only get limited amounts of Q10 from the food we eat (around 5 mg daily), so we rely on our endogenous synthesis of the compound. This process primarily takes place in the liver, heart, kidneys, and muscles.
When we enter our early 20s, our endogenous Q10 synthesis gradually tapers off, causing Q10 levels in our blood and organs to decrease. The Q10 content in the heart muscle of an 80-year-old will have dropped to around 40 percent of its peak level. Other factors that limit the body’s Q10 synthesis include the use of cholesterol-lowering statins and alendronate for treating osteoporosis. Certain diseases can also impair our Q10 synthesis.
Lack of Q10 can impair your vitality. Many people therefore take a daily supplement (typically 100-200 mg) to boost their energy levels. Accordingn to the new meta-analysis, it takes as much as 300-400 mg per day to obtain optimal protection against chronic inflammation.
It is a good idea to combine supplements of Q10 and selenium because selenium and Q10 work as a team. This was seen in the Swedish KiSel-10 study. Here, daily supplementation with 200 mg of Q10 and 200 micrograms of pharmaceutical-grade selenium yeast was shown to inhibit inflammation and different pathological conditions.
The body has difficulty with absorbing Q10. Therefore, one should always choose Q10 capsules with documented bioavailability, which guarantees that the Q10 molecules reach the cells. We can only absorb around 100 mg of Q10 at a time. Therefore, if you take larger doses you may want to split them into several smaller doses for better utilization.
Shanshan Hou et al. Efficacy and Optimal Dose of Coenzyme Q10 Supplementation on Inflammation-Related Biomarkers: A GRADE-Assessed Systematic Review and Updated Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. Molecular Nutrition Food Research. 2023
Will Chu. Co enzyme Q10 has potential to help chronic condition symptoms, review finds. NutraIngredients. 2020
Urban Alehagen et al. Improved cardiovascular health by supplementation with selenium and coenzyme Q10: applying structural equation modeling (SEM) to clinical outcomes and biomarkers to explore underlying mechanisms in a prospective randomized double-blind placebo-controlled intervention project in Sweden. European Journal of Nutrition. 2022
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