Co-enzyme Q10 is also known as Ubiquinone and is commonly abbreviated as CoQ10.
This is an oil-soluble vitamin-like substance that is present throughout the human body, especially within the cell Mitochondria.
This nutritional supplement is also a component of the electron transport chain, participates in aerobic cellular respiration, and plays a vital role in generating energy in the form of ATP. Researchers estimate that as much as 95% of human body’s energy is generated in this manner.
Co-enzyme Q10 is a popular anti-aging supplement and it has also been shown to improve brain performance and health.
CoQ10 was discovered in 1957 by Dr. Frederick Crane in the mitochondria from the cells of beef hearts. In the human body, this substance is most prevalent in organs with the highest energy requirements like the heart and liver.
There has been a large amount of research conducted on this supplement, especially since the 1980’s. Although there is still much we do not know, it does appear that CoQ10 has a number of beneficial properties including acting as a powerful anti-oxidant.
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a natural enzyme synthesized in your body. It’s also known as “ubiquinone” because it is ‘ubiquitous’ in the human body. CoQ10 is used by every single cell.
Your body uses CoQ10 faster than it can produce it. So you need supplemental CoQ10 either from food or a supplement. You can get CoQ10 from eating fatty fish, beef, poultry, nuts, seeds and oils.
CoQ10 provides fuel for the mitochondria in your cells. Mitochondria are the tiny power plants that energize each cell. And your brain has a higher concentration of mitochondria in each cell than most other organs.
CoQ10 is also a powerful antioxidant. It protects your cells from free radical damage. Oxidative damage has been implicated in several neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, and Lou Gehrig (ALS) disease
Coenzyme Q10 is used throughout your body. It helps produce more energy for your cells, boosts heart health, helps maintain healthy blood pressure and immune system, and reduces the signs of aging.
Here we’re talking about how CoQ10 affects your brain health and chemistry.
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a fat-soluble nutrient produced naturally in your body. The highest concentration of CoQ10 is in the organs that require the most energy – including your heart, liver, muscles, kidneys and brain.
CoQ10 is in the mitochondria in your cells. This is where cellular energy occurs. It acts as an electron acceptor or donor in the chain of reactions that lead to cellular energy production.
When oxidized CoQ10 (ubiquinone) accepts an electron from another molecule in the chain, it becomes Ubiquinol. And when Ubiquinol donates an electron it becomes ubiquinone. This state of equilibrium is necessary and how your body benefits from CoQ10.
The chemical difference between ubiquinone and Ubiquinol is the Ubiquinol compound contains two hydroxyl groups. This makes it more “hydrophilic”, or easier to dissolve in water. And makes it more bioavailable than ubiquinone.
In Ubiquinol-form, CoQ10 has the ability to scavenge free radicals in the mitochondria and cell membranes. Sites where free radicals inflict the most damage.
Supplement makers have been pushing the Ubiquinol form of CoQ10. They claim it’s the best form because it’s what your body produces naturally. They say it’s absorbed up to 8-times better than other forms of CoQ10.
Real world use however, does not always back up the marketing claims. Some people say they feel fatigue when using Ubiquinol. And only energy when using ubiquinone.
You’ll have to experiment and find out what works the best for you. Your body can use both. But Ubiquinone is far less expensive than Ubiquinol.
Coenzyme Q10 boosts brain health in several ways. But two in particular stand out.
1. When you supplement with enough CoQ10, you’re giving your brain cells the fuel it needs to produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP is the fuel used by the mitochondria in your neurons.
Mitochondria are the source of life and death for neurons. They generate your neuron’s energy and control its death. But mitochondria tend to develop defects as we age.
As these defects accumulate, mitochondria start to malfunction. This results in a reduction in cellular energy production. And cells die.
The result of this dysfunction can be brain fog, cognition problems, poor memory and recall. And ultimately neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s, stroke and others.
Studies show that CoQ10 protects against this cellular damage by raising energy levels. In a study with rats, scientists put CoQ10 in their chow for 10 days before giving them a toxin that caused brain lesions. CoQ10 reduced lesions by 30%. And restored energy production in neurons to nearly normal levels.
2. CoQ10 preserves brain function, mental illness and fights migraines. CoQ10 is essential not only in preventing brain deterioration at a structural level, but in maintaining normal function at all ages.
Studies are beginning to show some troubling associations between migraine headaches and mental health issues like depression and schizophrenia.
Scientists don’t know for sure what causes migraines. But think it may be related to brain energy levels. Studies show that CoQ10 supplementation in children, adolescents and adults had significant decreases in frequency and length of migraines
Major depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia have long been considered separate health issues. Lately, they are being recognized as having mitochondrial dysfunction in common. And higher oxidative stress levels.
Just one of many studies show that depression in older bipolar adults had a significant reduction in symptoms. This was after treatment with 1,200 mg of CoQ10 per day.
As we get older, the chemistry in our brain cells and energy metabolism changes.
↓ Brain cell membranes degenerate
↓ Recall, reaction time and mood diminish
↓ Neurotransmitter levels decline
All of these age-related changes are contributing factors to the neurodegenerative diseases of aging, including Alzheimer’s and dementia.
But even if things haven’t degenerated to such a debilitating level, CoQ10 can help.
Research from thousands of studies have shown that Coenzyme Q10 will:
Optimizing your mitochondria is one the most powerful strategies you have to extend your life. Mitochondrial dysfunction is associated with the aging process, including many age-related diseases.
So when taking CoQ10 you should feel better and more energized. Thinking should be clearer. Less fatigue and stamina improved.
Some neurohackers report feeling more fatigue while taking Ubiquinol. And actually feel better taking the less optimized form Ubiquinone.
CoQ10 was first isolated from beef hearts at the University of Wisconsin in 1957. Research continued at Merck & Company, Stanford Research Institute, and the University of Texas at Austin. Many studies from around the world have been published since.
A study at the University of Texas was conducted to find out if supplementing with CoQ10 or Vitamin E could help older mice learn tasks more quickly. The researchers separated groups of older mice. And gave each mouse either CoQ10, Vitamin E, or both antioxidants for 14 weeks.
The mice were run through a battery of tests assessing learning, memory and psychomotor function. The study concluded that CoQ10 combined with Vitamin E working in concert boosted performance in all tests.
Neuron death caused by oxidative stress is implicated in a host of neurodegenerative diseases. Including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and stroke.
Oxidative stress is an imbalance between the production of free radicals, and the ability of your body to detoxify the harm caused by free radicals. Exposure to toxins in your everyday environment can cause oxidative stress.
Researchers at the University of Windsor in Canada demonstrated this effect using human cells in the lab exposed to an herbicide commonly used in North America.
Your brain exposed to this toxin causes apoptosis (programmed cell death) and DNA fragmentation. But scientists found that cells pretreated with CoQ10 prevented oxidative stress and neuron damage.
The profound protective effect of CoQ10 on brain neurons and memory was proven in studies with soldiers who fought in the Persian Gulf War.
About one-third of the 700,000 troops deployed during the first Persian Gulf War, have been diagnosed with Gulf War Illness (GWI). Symptoms include fatigue, muscle pain, weakness, and decreased cognitive function.
Gulf War Illness was caused by exposure to pesticides, sarin nerve gas, and other toxins during the war.
Forty-six United States Gulf War veterans participated in this randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. All had been diagnosed with GWI.
The veterans were given CoQ10 in pill form, or a placebo for 3 ½ months. Researchers concluded that 80% of those receiving only 100 mg of CoQ10 during this study saw improvements with headaches, irritability, recall and muscle pain.
The degree of improvement correlated to the degree in which CoQ10 levels in the blood increased.
The primary “side effect” of using CoQ10 in your Nootropic stack is – you’ll feel better. You should have more energy and thinking should be clearer and faster.
CoQ10 may reduce the toxic effect of some chemotherapy drugs. And it may enhance the effectiveness of some blood pressure medications. Which can be good or bad depending on your situation.
CoQ10 can reduce the efficacy of a blood thinner like Warfarin. It can also lower blood sugar levels. So needs to be monitored if you have diabetes.
Caution is advised when using CoQ10 with aspirin. Especially if you have a bleeding disorder.
Talk to your doctor if you’re on any medication before you start using CoQ10.
A few people who use CoQ10 report rashes, nausea, abdominal pain, dizziness, sensitivity to light, irritability, headache, heartburn or fatigue.
There are two types of CoQ10 used in CoQ10 supplements: ubiquinone and Ubiquinol. Some alternative health practitioners advise staying away from ubiquinone because your body has to convert it to Ubiquinol to use it.
If you’re under 25 and in good health you can likely get the benefit of CoQ10 with the less expensive ubiquinone. Over 25 and you’re better off with Ubiquinol.
Ubiquinol is identical to 95% of the CoQ10 your body is designed to naturally produce. Which means your body doesn’t have to convert the CoQ10 to use it.
Some in vitro research shows that Ubiquinol is up to 8-times more bioavailable than other CoQ10 supplements. (“8-times” is likely a bit of an exaggerated marketing claim).
CoQ10 comes in liquid and capsule form. Logic says the liquid form is easier to absorb by your body.
The standard dose for CoQ10 is generally 90mg for a low dose and 200mg for the higher dose, taken once daily with a meal due to its reliance on food for absorption.
We suggest starting with a dose of 200 mg daily.
Dose-dependence is not commonly observed with CoQ10 supplementation and 90mg tends to be the best cost-effective dose. There generally isn't too much of a therapeutic effect of CoQ10 supplementation (mostly taken with the 'just in case' mentality that pervades multivitamin supplementation), although for people who have previously experience a heart attack or damage to cardiac tissue as well as for people on statin therapy supplementation becomes much more important.
CoQ10 supplements can be either the oxidized form (ubiquinone) or reduced form (ubiquinol) as both forms seem pretty equally potent in increasing circulating levels of total CoQ10 in the body. 'Total CoQ10' refers to the sum of both forms, since CoQ10 can readily swap between forms as it acts in the body.
CoQ10 can help the mitochondria in your brain, and throughout your body, work more cleanly and efficiently. It reduces oxidative stress and damage to mitochondria. Helping to slow the aging process.
Dosing CoQ10 depends on what you’re trying to accomplish. Generally dosing for a healthy adult is 30 – 400 mg daily.
* Weight loss: 100 mg daily
Note: recommended dosing is for as long as you have symptoms. Work with your doctor and get tested for CoQ10 levels in your blood. Once your CoQ10 level are optimized you can scale back to a maintenance dose.
Age-related cognitive disorders that include muscle control problems may want to up the dose to 3,000 mg per day. But for a limited time until CoQ10 blood levels are stabilized. Work with your doctor.
To learn more about Co-Enzyme-Q10: