As a vital protein, coenzyme Q10 has various effects in the body. It defuses cell-damaging free radicals and provides energy in the body cells. It is therefore also used as a “rejuvenating agent” in various cosmetics. But how exactly does coenzyme Q10 work – and what is it supposed to help against? Find out here.
Coenzyme Q10: effect on the skin
Coenzyme Q10, also called Q-10, Ubiquinone-10 or UQ, is an essential element. The power plants of the cell (mitochondria) need it to generate energy.
The substance also acts as a radical scavenger: it neutralizes aggressive oxygen compounds that often cause cell damage. These arise from various metabolic processes.
If their concentration exceeds a healthy level, “oxidative stress ” occurs. These triggers are behind, among other things:
- UV rays
- (High) competitive sport
Finally, the third task of the coenzyme Q10 is to stabilize the cell membrane. This is important for tasks such as transporting various substances into the cell interior.
Since Q10 scavenges free radicals that cause the skin to age prematurely, it only sounds logical to put the coenzyme in cosmetics as an anti-aging substance.
Cosmetics containing Q10 are said to combat oxidative stress, such as that caused by UVA rays. Because the coenzyme is lipophilic (“fat-loving”), it also penetrates into the deeper layers of the skin, where it counteracts fine lines and makes the skin firmer.
There are small studies that confirm that taking coenzyme Q10 makes the skin smoother. However, none of these results have been scientifically proven. Be it because the number of subjects was very small, there were deficiencies in the conduct of the study or the results were presumably manipulated.
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has not yet rated any manufacturer advertising claim regarding protection against oxidative damage by coenzyme Q10 as scientifically proven.
Coenzyme Q10: effect on the heart
In addition to the unsaturated fatty acid omega-3 , Q10 is said to have a positive effect on the heart and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
In fact, there are studies that suggest that coenzyme Q10 helps prevent cardiovascular disease. With high doses of Q10, positive effects can be achieved in people with heart diseases. However, it is questionable whether this effect applies to the coenzyme in the form of dietary supplements.
A review by the Cochraine Collaboration, which evaluated clinical studies on this topic, indicates that coenzyme Q10 has an antihypertensive effect. But here, too, there is a lack of scientific evidence.
For the same reasons as with cosmetics, there are no reliable studies on the effect of coenzyme Q10 on the heart.
Coenzyme Q10: other effects in the body
Apart from cosmetics and heart health, coenzyme Q10 (also: ubiquinone in oxidized form) is said to have a positive effect on a number of other bodily functions and diseases. However, scientific evidence is missing for all of them, for example for
- its effect in cancer therapy
- the effectiveness of Q10 in migraines. The American Academy of Neurology and the American Headache Society credit the coenzyme with at least “possible effects” in preventing migraines.
- alleviating the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. Among other things, a study commissioned by the American National Institutes of Health showed that even high-dose Q10 had no effect on the symptoms.
Where does the body get coenzyme Q10 from?
Coenzyme Q10 can be produced by the body itself or ingested through food. Self-production in the body decreases with age. A balance can be created by eating foods containing Q10 .
Larger amounts of Q10 can be found, for example, in:
- Fish, especially sardines
- Meat, especially poultry
- olive oil
- almond oil
- Oily fruits such as olives
The coenzyme is also available in the form of dietary supplements, such as capsules. On the one hand, the body is normally able to produce enough Q10 itself if it is supplied with enough B vitamins and vitamin E – both are necessary for the so-called synthesis, i.e. production.
Coenzyme Q10: It’s that safe
Since there are no known long-term studies on the intake of coenzyme Q10, it is difficult to say whether an overdose has any chronic effects.
Higher doses of more than 100 milligrams per day sometimes trigger side effects such as discomfort, nausea , diarrhea, loss of appetite, sleep disorders or skin rash
According to the Federal Institute for Consumer Health Protection and Veterinary Medicine (BGVV), daily amounts of 10 to 30 milligrams of coenzyme Q10 are harmless. From the point of view of nutritional medicine, however, an additional intake is not necessary with “usual food intake”.