What is CoQ10? Benefits and Uses
By Dr. Justin Marchegiani
CoQ10, also known as ubiquinone or ubiquinol, is short for Coenzyme Q10. There are a few supplements that just about everyone would benefit from, and CoQ10 makes that list.
What is CoQ10 and What Does it Do?
Not only does CoQ10 work as an antioxidant, helping to break down free radicals, and as a ‘coenzyme’ helping to break down food— it also plays a crucial role in the production of ATP, the energy currency of life.
You may be familiar with mitochondria as “the powerhouse of the cell. In order for our bodies to make use of the food we eat, our mitochondria has to turn food and oxygen into useable energy in the form of ATP. This conversion process requires the presence of CoQ10.
Why is CoQ10 so essential for your health? Evidence is showing benefits for:
- Heart Health
- Brain Health
- Energy Levels
- Free Radical Damage Protection
- Eyesight Improvements
- Immune System Support
- Reduced Inflammation
- Firmer Skin
Heart Health: While further trials are pending, we’ve seen promising evidence for preventing and treating heart conditions. Studies suggest that taking CoQ10 may be able to prevent recurring heart attacks: In one study, patients who took CoQ10 within 3 days of having a heart attack were able to reduce chest pain and chance of another attack.
Additionally, one review of CoQ10 stated it “has potential for use in prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease, particularly hypertension, hyperlipidemia, coronary artery disease, and heart failure.”*
Reproduction: In men struggling with infertility, CoQ10 was shown to help by improving sperm count & quality. *
Lowers Inflammation: CoQ10 has shown an ability to lower two markers of inflammation, NT-proBNP and gamma-glutamyl transferase (an early marker for heart failure). Inflammation is commonly referred to the “root of all modern disease,” so lowering inflammation is powerful for preventing autoimmune disease, neurocognitive decline, and other markers of aging.
Firmer Skin: CoQ10 can help with the production of collagen and elastin, the proteins responsible for making your skin flexible and firm. Topical products may not contain enough active CoQ10, so it’s better to get this coenzyme internally.
Energy Levels: We’ve already learned that CoQ10 plays a vital role in the production of cellular energy, or “ATP.” In addition to this vital role, coenzyme q10 has been shown to help with energy levels post-workout. *
Protection From Free Radical Damage: Also known as oxidative stress, free radical damage is a power to be reckoned with, and a major factor of aging. CoQ10 is one of the first antioxidants on the scene when LDL is oxidized, and can even protect membranes against oxidation in the first place.
Brain Health: There is potential for CoQ10 to treat mitochondrial disorders and neurological diseases, such as Parkinson’s and ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis). Additionally, a 2014 study showed that those with higher levels of CoQ10 were 77% LESS likely to develop dementia. *,*
How to Get Enough CoQ10
Some coenzyme Q10 is actually produced naturally in your mitochondria, but natural production tends to decline with age.
Try incorporating more CoQ10-rich foods into your diet. CoQ10 rich foods include:
- Oily fish: salmon and sardines are great choices: remember to chose wild-caught seafood for maximum nutrient profile.
- Grass-fed beef: You also get the benefits of healthy fats and protein.
- Vegetables: Cauliflower, broccoli, and spinach are high in CoQ10 as well as other protective antioxidants. Remember to choose organic!
- Organ meats: Liver and kidney have high levels of CoQ10 (and are sources of a whole host of other rare nutrients!)
An easy way to ensure you’re getting the benefits of CoQ10 daily would be by taking it in supplement form. One pill (100mg) per day is generally a good maintenance dose, though depending on your health status and goals you may take more. For example, if you are trying to prevent or treat brain fog or dementia. Work with your functional medicine practitioner to determine your personal CoQ10 strategy.
Mitochondrial Nutrients on Fat Burning with Evan Brand | Podcast #206
Mitochondria are often referred to as the powerhouse of the cell. They are the tiny organelles inside cells that are involved in releasing energy from food. Their efficient function very much depends on one’s lifestyle and diet. Watch the video and learn the essential supports to these tiny friends before burning that fat on the gym!
Today’s podcast talks about ways to enhance one’s metabolism, the low-hanging fruits, how vegetarian diets miss out essential nutrients, or why carnitine deficiencies result in decreased ability to use long-chain fatty acids as metabolic fuel. Stay tuned for more and don’t forget to share. Sharing is caring!
Dr. Justin Marchegiani
In this episode, we cover:
00:15 B-Vitamins: The Low Hanging Fruit
11:39 Free-Form Amino Acids
14:13 Underlying Toxins that Affect Mitochondria
19:08 Functional Medicine that is Results Driven
23:25 CoQ10, Ubiquinol, and Ubiquinone
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Hey there it’s Dr. Justin Marchegiani,
Evan Brand: Hey man, happy monday. We’re playing with some new technology to try to make ourselves look pretty, so let’s see how it works.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, you had a new camera on, here I saw my same uhm– more updated uh– HD webcam. We may update that in the future to a 4K one, we’ll see how it goes. But today we wanted to chat about how to enhance your metabolism. What nutrients we can use to enhance your metabolism. So, why don’t we dig in? So, off the bat, we have various energizing nutrients. We have the low hanging fruit which
Evan Brand: I was looking at my O-test the other day and I thought, “Dang it!”. I was actually really-really low on B-6. Even though– I guess I have been supplementing for– maybe a few months after my O-test, but I can’t remember when I started it. So I was tryin’ to do the timeline like, will my D’s burning through my B’s quickly, due to working too much, or– what is it, you know, so, we find that B-Vitamins are low all the time. We do know that stress burns ’em up, you and I talk about this all the time with like amino acid metabolism, we talked about burning through neurotransmitters quickly, so– B-Vitamins, same thing, and then Vitamin-C, I would put that in the same category too. We actually test Vitamin-C on the organic acids panel, I would say like 9 out of every 10 people we test are low on Vitamin-C. I actually drink some this morning. I just do a mixed ascorbate powder, with the citrus bioflavonoids, and 25 hundred milligrams all you need in 2 months and you can rebuild your levels.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Wow that’s really good.
Evan Brand: What are you– what are you popping? ___[02:52], what is he swallowing?
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Oh yeah, sorry about that.
Evan Brand: [laughs]
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I should
Evan Brand: Let’s talk about creatine. You– you men– you brought up creatine. Now, you know, people out there may say, “Oh, well creatine isn’t that for your muscles, isn’t that I should be using to increase muscle mass at the gym?”.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. [crosstalk]. It
Evan Brand: Right. Yeah, carnitine, let’s talk about carnitines. So, there’s a ketone and fatty acid section on the organic acid test. So we can kind of look at this and– and we can see whether someone’s been fasting or whether they’d been on like a ketogenic diet. And we can also tell too when there’s metabolism issues or metabolism defects you could call on, on the O-test. Now, what the prescription generally is for this when we see that these markers go high, the prescription could be acetyl
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Exactly, and if you look at carnitine, you know, what its job is, you go to any biochemistry textbook, you’ll find something known as the carnitine shuttle. And the carnitine shuttle, it essentially shuttles free fatty acids into the mitochondria. Let me see if I can find uh– my biochemistry– come on, one sec. Let me see if I have it close by. Yeah, I do, right here– here– alright.
Evan Brand: So free acid– so– so that– so this has to come from the diet. You’ve gotta have some free fatty acids coming, so–
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, so you need the– so number 1, the carnitine shuttle’s really important because it’s gonna take free fatty acids, and it’s gonna dump it into the mitochondria, right, and then the body’s gonna be able to burn that up for fuel. But the other really-really important part– so carnitine shuttle is 188, 189– so we’re doing this on the fly here guys. We’re keeping it real for ‘ya all, okay? I’ll try to be the– the mayor or real ville here.
Evan Brand: [laughs]
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Okay.
Evan Brand: I see.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: 189. So, off the bat, we have carnitine right here. This is the mitochondrial matrix.
Evan Brand: Go a little higher, we can’t see it yet.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Oh, sorry.
Evan Brand: There you go.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Oh, you could see it right here, your body is using carnitine right here. So this is the inner mitochondrial membrane. This is the outer, mitochondria membrane. So essentially, you could see carnitine is literally bringing all these good fatty acids inside the mitochondria. So you need carnitine to bring it inside the mitochondria. Now
Evan Brand: Go a little higher if you want us to see– oh, right there. Okay, yeah, we can’t read it, it’s too small.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: [reads], carnitine can be attained from the diet where it’s from primarily in meat products. Carnitine can also be synthesized from amino acids, lysine
Evan Brand: Right.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So what does that mean? If you’re vegetarian, it’s a chance that those nutrients are gonna be low, you’re not gonna be able to make, ’cause you’re gonna go take carnitine in from animal products – meat, right? Or you make it from methionine and lysine. And if vegetarian diet
Evan Brand: And what does that mean? In short, you’re gonna be tired. And this is why you go to your doctor, and they may try to diagnose you with chronic fatigue, or they may try to diagnose you with ADD, or ADHD so they can give you a methamphetamine derivative such as
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So– so right here, check this out. So this section right here, it’s called “E”, it’s called carnitine deficiencies. Such deficiencies result in
Evan Brand: Boom! There is it.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: And it also talks about severe infections, burns, trauma, pregnancy, as other mechanism or means in why you would be low in the carnitine, Isn’t that interesting?
Evan Brand: That’s crazy.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Mmmhhhhmm–
Evan Brand: So someone could say, “Oh, I’m tired”. And they could have meat in
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Exactly. Exactly, so– I wanted to just highlight there. A lot of people think vegetarian diets, you know are– are healthy but you’re missing key important nutrients. We’re not even talking about B-12. We’re talking about, you know, important self rebate– or important amino acids and methionine and lysine. And we’re talking about even B-12 and other essential fatty acids. We–
Evan Brand: Yeah so– so even if– so– so you’re saying if that’s happening, even if the diet does have meat, so let’s say somebody’s following a paleo template–
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Mmmhmm–
Evan Brand: You’re saying if we see high on these markers here–
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Mmmhmm–
Evan Brand: –we know that carnitine shuttles’s not happening. They’re still gonna be tired regardless of whether they’re paleo or not.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, I mean, it’s gonna mean that pe– these people are not generating energy from they’re fat optimally, and that’s important. We wanna make sure we have good fatty acid energy
Evan Brand: Well let me ask you this, I know you’re a big fan of free-form amino acids. So will this be another good time to throw those in because you mentioned like lysine, methionine in this process, could that help, if you wanted to throw it in along with carnitine?
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, I think so. I mean, if you look on the– I think marker 7 through 14,
Evan Brand: Yup.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: And– and 3, you know, we may even wanna just supplement it on top of it as well. On the s– the stress part. So the stress part is a third one where you’re just burning up ’cause of stress. You’re–
Evan Brand: And that could be gut stress.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. You’re not eating it, you’re not absorbing it, gut stress is more of your absorption.
Evan Brand: Yeah.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: And then just the overall stress part you’re more catabolic and breaking it down. And so, we would add in additional amino acids if we saw some of those pathways low. And the reason why it’s nice, there
Evan Brand: Aaah–
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: It’s like using a credit card and having a 50% transaction fee, right?
Evan Brand: Ooh–
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: You buy something for a hundred bucks, well you get charged a hundred and fifty ’cause of that 50$ transaction fee on top of it. The nice thing about
Evan Brand: Ho– how often do you use those and what’s like the typical case when you’re using free form
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: I don’t particularly use free form
Evan Brand: Oh, okay. So you could do both. You’re saying could put, you know, somebody who is like an ex-vegan or vegetarian, you may put them on amino
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Absolutely. Absolutely.
Evan Brand: Cool. That’s awesome. So you mentioned the B’s, you mentioned the C’s, we talked about
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, pesticides, the antibiotics, right? I would say–
Evan Brand: Lots of chemicals?
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: ___[15:06] products. Yup. I think those antibiotics are a big one too, so be careful on that. If we need to use antibiotic we don’t wanna make sure it’s specific and try to maximize the natural herbal compounds first. Uhm– so B-Vitamins, carnitine, creatine,
Evan Brand: My mitochondria showed some– some dysfunction. I got my uh– GPL-Tox chemical test done, and I did have some dysfunction. I wasn’t bad, but I had, I was a– I was a couple point off. I was like in the green, headed towards the yellow. So, I’m doing some of the mitochondrial support nutrients right now. And also, uh– you and I were looking at my blood work. My homocysteine was up a bit too. And that was due to my– uh– folate, B-12, B-6, deficiencies. The B-12 actually looked okay on the O-Test, but the B-6 was a bit low. Folate metabolism looked okay, so, maybe it was just B-6 causing homocysteine to go up, I don’t know. That’s– it [crosstalk] something else.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So– some of this could be genetic, some could be stress-based–
Evan Brand: Yeah.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: So I mean, the best thing is you’re diet’s great and checked out often, “Hey you do your best to manage those stress”. You know, you work with– on the general public, and– and helping them get help this– that– that always can be stressful. And then we just supplement. We make sure we have high quality,
Evan Brand: Yeah.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Uhm– do you wanna hit a
Evan Brand: Yeah, I’ve been– I’ve been firing the chat up so do you mind uh– bringing them?
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah, so I’m gonna just– if you guys can kind of keep the questions to these specific topics, that’s gonna help. Uh– if not we’re just gonna go through and– and cherry
Evan Brand: Uh– let me add a couple– couple comments to that. You know, I’ve discussed this before with meat. You know,
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: With the gut. 100%.
Evan Brand: Yeah–
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: They gotta go to the 6-Rs–
Evan Brand: [crosstalk]
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: They gotta go to the 6-Rs.
Evan Brand: Yup.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Excellent. Let’s see here any other questions. Uh– doctor Jack Cruz says “only about
Evan Brand: Yeah, are they– are they trying to say like the other part of it like sunlight, I know– you and I have both done multiple
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah. The problem with Jack Cruz is this, alright. From what I understand, Jack does not work with patients on the functional medicine side directly, okay? And I can tell you, I wish it was as simple as, no EMF, get Vitamin-D, eat lots of seafood, avoid inflammatory foods, and everyone was healed. It would make my job
Evan Brand: Yeah, like gasoline additives for example, you know, you could set out naked in the sun for 12 hours, you’re not gonna detox, these– these things that are deeply stored inside of us no matter what you do unless you really start to use some nutrients to focus on that. Or you’re doing something maybe like a near infrared sauna or something else to help penetrate. You– you just can’t get the penetration level that you need from just sunlight alone to help with toxins. And then the infection piece like you said, I had H-Pylori, I had giardia, I needed herbs to clear those things out.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Exactly. Yup. So just keep that in the back of your mind. Again, you know, I don’t have a dog in the fight, I just wanna make my– my tool bag, right? The tools that I utilize to help patients
Evan Brand: Yeah.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Think of like the monkey wrench being like this supplement or that test, or this diet, I– I don’t care I– I’m result driven. A lot of people, they wanna market themselves so they’re– they’re– they need of what they say to be unique ’cause they’re not necessarily results driven, they’re more marketing driven. So, you just kind of keep that in the back of your head.
Evan Brand: Yeah, so to all just add at one last comment, we’ll move on. So if you
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: That’s it, a hundred percent. Another question came in here,
Evan Brand: Especially if you’re taking statins. ‘Cause we know statins deplete CoQ10 and statins are pastel like candies. So if you’re doing one, gotta make sure that’s in the– in the protocol.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yeah you have this
Evan Brand: I’ve seen the picture. I know exactly what you’re talking about.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: One more step down, it’s actually– you have, this HGM-COA reductase enzyme, and then cholesterol gets made, and then you have all these different important antioxidants like CoQ10, and all these other, the sterol compounds that come off of it. So we have this HMG here, cholesterol here, so it blocks this conversion so you don’t get the CoQ10, you don’t get these other important antioxidants that– that come off of it. Uhm– that’s the problem. Now, insulin is one that actually upregulates that enzyme so it causes more cholesterol. So a lot of people can actually get their cholesterol modulated by just getting
Evan Brand: Yup, well said.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Okay, excellent.
Evan Brand: I think that’s it, we’ll just mention the websites so people can reach out if they need help.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Yes.
Evan Brand: You can check out
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Excellent. Alright Evan, great chatting with you, again, give us
Evan Brand: See you later, bye.
Dr. Justin Marchegiani: Bye.