Publix GreenWise Market Magazine - Summer 2011
An Enzyme You'll Take to Heart
|Popularly known as CoQ10, this natural wonder might just as easily be called "the little enzyme that could." |
If you could help your heart by enjoying a bit more of foods you already love, you would, wouldn't you? When it comes to choices that provide coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), the decision is practically a no-brainer.
What Is CoQ10?
Like vitamins A, C and E, CoQ10 is a natural antioxidant. In the body, it seems to play a role in preventing cholesterol from forming artery-clogging plaque, which is why it's so often associated with cardiovascular health. CoQ10 occurs naturally in foods such as beef, chicken, canola and soybean oils, peanuts and oily fish (trout and salmon).
Why Do I Need It?
Your body naturally produces CoQ10 because it's necessary for cell function. It transforms fats and carbohydrates into energy to help your body's tissues work properly. But as you age or battle a chronic ailment such as a heart condition, your levels of CoQ10 can decline.
If you have risk factors for heart disease such as high blood pressure or you've already had a heart attack, then CoQ10 may help minimize your chances of future problems. In a 2010 study of 70 patients with multiple cardiovascular risk factors, one group took a daily antioxidant cocktail that included 60 milligrams of CoQ10 while another took a placebo. After six months, those in the antioxidant group had greater elasticity in their arteries, as well as higher levels of good HDL cholesterol and lower blood pressure (Nutrition & Metabolism online medical journal).
|How Much Should I Get?|
If you regularly eat a balanced diet, you're probably getting sufficient CoQ10 because, when properly nourished, your body manufactures it. A simple blood test can tell if your number is low. But those who don't eat healthfully most of the time may want to consider taking a daily supplement, says Rallie McAllister, M.D., M.P.H., a family physician in Lexington, Kentucky, and coauthor of The Mommy MD Guides books and website.
"Studies suggest that most Americans have a daily dietary intake of less than 10 milligrams of CoQ10," she says. However, some experts believe that levels of 50 or more milligrams per day may be needed to promote general heart health. Because it can be difficult to get that much from food alone, supplements are sometimes recommended.
|Are There Risks?|
Adverse side effects are rare with CoQ10. "Mild gastrointestinal problems have been reported in less than 1 percent of individuals taking the supplement," McAllister says. However, pregnant women or those who are breast-feeding may want to avoid taking CoQ10. Supplements also may impact the effectiveness of the blood thinner warfarin.
Always take a CoQ10 supplement with food because it's best absorbed with the fats in a meal, McAllister advises. Dosages vary with individual needs, so follow instructions carefully. As with any supplement, you should talk with your doctor before beginning a CoQ10 regimen.
Natural Sources For CoQ10
- Salmon, 3 ounces = .4 mg
- Beef, 3 ounces = 2.6 mgs
- Canola oil, 1 tablespoon = 1 mg
- Chicken, 3 ounces = 1.4 mgs
- Peanuts, 1 ounce = .8 mg
- Trout, 3 ounces steamed = .9 mg
Look for Publix GreenWise Market Co-Q10 supplements in the vitamin section. Like every Publix GreenWise Market brand vitamin and supplement, they're all-natural and contain no added chemicals, fillers or lubricants.