Coenzyme Q10 and Diabetes?

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If you have ever scanned the vitamin aisle in a drug or health food store you have probably come across bottles of Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), and you may have heard that it could be a useful supplemental therapy in blood glucose control and cardiac disease.

So what is CoQ10, and can it really help to control diabetes?

Coenzyme Q10 is a vitamin-like element that is involved in energy production in the body. It helps produce ATP (adenosine triphosphate), the metabolic equivalent of gasoline for our cells.

It is also a powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants have the potential to repair damage to cell membranes caused by free radicals (highly reactive oxygen-containing molecules) that are produced during energy synthesis. Some of the cell damage of cardiac disease is due to free radicals.

Our bodies can manufacture this helper-vitamin to a limited extent, and we can also obtain small amounts from seafood and organ meats.

Although found in all cells, CoQ10 is distributed heavily in the heart, liver, kidney and pancreas (which is the organ containing the insulin producing beta cells.)

Levels of CoQ10 tend to decrease with age and in certain disease such as AIDS, congestive heart failure, Parkinson’s, neuromuscular disorders, and diabetes.

Because of its relationship to energy metabolism and the finding that people with diabetes generally have depressed levels, some researchers have postulated that supplementing the diet may improvement blood glucose control.

Unfortunately there isn’t sufficient evidence supporting the use of CoQ10 as a hypoglycemic agent. There have been a few small studies which have found a reduction of glucose levels, but other studies have found no effect from the supplement. The evidence of benefit for lowering cholesterol is not firmly established at this time, either.

But, there is also growing evidence that CoQ10 may have a role in treating high blood pressure.  Several small studies have reported reductions in blood pressure of up to 17mg/hg when taking CoQ10 along with anti-hypertensive medication. Since many people with diabetes have high blood pressure this may be an area of research to watch.

These blood pressure reductions were seen in patients using 120-200mg twice per day.

But before you self-prescribe, talk with your health care provider. Because CoQ10 can interact with cardiac and blood pressure medication, it is important that your physician knows if and how much you are taking.

9 Responses to Coenzyme Q10 and Diabetes?

  1. Rich says:

    Coenzyme Q10 (also known as ubiquinone) is a vitamin-like,
    oil-soluble nutritional factor that is located primarily in mitochondria,
    the cell’s power producers in the human body. Their function is
    converting energy into forms that are usable by the cell. CoQ10
    plays such a crucial role in energy production that 95% of the body’s
    energy supply is generated this way. The highest concentrations
    of CoQ10 are present in the heart, liver, and kidneys.

  2. Pierre Guibor, MD says:

    It is not possible to evaluate the merits of CQ10 without double blind cross over studies with placebo. This is not a cheap drug and may do harm. Beware.

  3. Mary Ann says:

    Coenzyme “Q10 is involved in ATP generation, the primary source of energy in human physiology. It functions as a lipid-soluble antioxidant, providing protection against free radical damage within mitochondria.” (uptodate. 2012.).

  4. Joy says:

    I wonder if there is any harm in trying the CoQ10, to see how it works.

  5. Mary HART says:

    I take CoQ10 daily because I am on a statin drug which depletes CoQ10 in our system.

  6. Judy Unger says:

    I don’t know about other effects, but my cardiologist suggested I try CoQ10 to counter-act the excruciating leg cramps I was experiencing almost every night. The result was dramatic! I take 300 mg at bedtime and 100 mg in the morning.

  7. Rob says:

    This article was worthless. The title and 2nd paragraph pose an important question. Yet the balance of the article consists of less information than one could find anywhere. Joslin should be able to do better consdiering its reputation.

  8. neal brockington,md says:

    as an introduction to coenzymeQ10, the statement was fair, but not substantial enough to foster action…in the traffic of statements about various supplements, one would expect clarity from joslin about an option’s viability as a therapeutic choice, as well as it’s potential downside…additionally, as coQ10 works within the cell, are all supplemental choices created equal, in affording the swallowing of it, and digestion of it, to reach the desired place of favorable influence? how would one know? key questions, untouched…action-value of statement=D

  9. Steve says:

    I have found a lot of conflicting evidence regarding studies based on the roll of coq10 and controlling blood sugar. It seems at the moment that this supplement is better off used to aid people that are suffering from coq10 deficiencies rather than curing or treating any diseases. The more you look into different symptoms of being coq10 deficient the more you can see the importance of the nutrient. With very minimal side effects it makes sense to consult a physician and start to supplement.

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