How does CoQ10 Benefit the Brain?

A lot of people have a hard time figuring out how to classify CoQ10.

Is it a vitamin?  Can we call it a nootropic?  Or is it more accurate to refer to it as a micronutrient?

This article is going to provide you with some clarity.

But before we get into the basics of what CoQ10 is and isn’t, let’s consider what we know of it in general, and ask ourselves, “How does CoQ10 benefit the brain?”.

I am writing about nootropics after all…

CoQ10 is taken as a supplement by most people to increase their energy levels, boost their immune system, improve their heart health, their mental clarity, and age a little more gracefully.

How does CoQ10 Benefit the Brain - Senior Couple in Bed

We also know that CoQ10 is a powerful antioxidant, prevents neurodegenerative diseases, improves cognition, and can help with depression.

But why?  And how?

In order to answer these questions, we’ll have to look at the specifics.

Let’s dig in!

What is CoQ10?

CoQ10 is a protein found in all tissues of the body.

Since it’s so common, or ubiquitous, it’s also known as ‘Ubiquinone’.  (Sorry guys, scientists aren’t always known for being original)

CoQ10 was first identified in 1940, and was later isolated from beef hearts in 1957 by Dr. Frederick Crane.(bit of history for you)

How does CoQ10 Benefit the Brain - History Book on Desk

Basically, the amount of CoQ10 in the cells of the body varies with the type of tissue.  CoQ10 is present in higher concentrations in the heart, liver, kidneys, and (last but not least) the brain.

These organs need tons of energy to function, and CoQ10 is essential for energy metabolism.

CoQ10 occupies cellular membranes, and acts as an electron carrier for chemical reactions involving nutrients like fats being converted to ATP.

ATP, or adenine triphosphate is a molecule that can be used for energy throughout the body.  ATP is to the body what a dollar is to the economy.

It’s the most basic medium of exchange, only for chemical energy.

How does CoQ10 Benefit the Brain - Man Juggling Light Bulbs and Coins

For those of you that fell asleep in high school science (no judgement here), there are tiny organelles inside each of our cells called mitochondria.

Think of mitochondria as ‘cells inside our cells’, if that helps.

Mitochondria process energy, and as a result are present in greater numbers in the organs that need the most energy; the heart, liver, kidneys, and brain.

So naturally, this is why we see more CoQ10 in these same organs.

Greater energy needs means more mitochondria, which results in more CoQ10.  Now we’ve come full circle.

Clear as mud, right?

I know what you’re thinking, “Thanks Mr. Science, but how does that help me?”.

How does CoQ10 Benefit the Brain - Scientist Holding Flask

Don’t worry, we’re getting there, I promise.

CoQ10 Benefits – for The Body

CoQ10 is present in some of the foods we eat, especially fatty foods.

Beef, oily fish, nuts, seeds, and avocados are all good sources.

The body is also able to synthesize a decent amount of CoQ10 from other compounds in the body.

However, we usually use CoQ10 faster than we can ingest it or make it.

That’s why taking it as a supplement has been found to have a lot of benefits.

How does CoQ10 Benefit the Brain - Pills Spelling the Word Health

Just to give you an idea, this is a list of some of the physical ailments CoQ10 is used to help with:

  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • AIDS
  • Radiation Injuries
  • Age Related Decline

This is not an exhaustive list, by any means, but I didn’t want to overwhelm you with all the possible uses of CoQ10.

Unfortunately, our ability to create CoQ10 ourselves also diminishes as we get older, so deficiencies are more common in older folks.

How does CoQ10 Benefit the Brain - Senior Couple Walking in Park

It’s also interesting to note that some people absorb CoQ10 better than others, depending on their body chemistry.

In any case, since we need CoQ10 to process energy, we get tired when we don’t have enough.

That’s why we see a lot of people, young and old, using it as an energy booster.

The tissues and cells in the immune system also use a lot of energy, so supplementing with CoQ10 naturally optimizes their performance.

Finally, CoQ10 is also a very potent antioxidant.

It has the ability to soak up free radicals, preventing tissue damage and inflammation.

How does CoQ10 Benefit the Brain - Inflamed Elbow

So to give it to you in a short list (I like lists), supplementing with CoQ10 can benefit our physical health by:

  1. Increasing Energy Levels
  2. Boosting the Immune System
  3. Acting as an Antioxidant

So do any of these advantages spill over into cognitive function?  Can CoQ10 help the mind as well as the body?

Let’s have a look, shall we?

How does CoQ10 Benefit the Brain?

The brain is a spongy, fatty organ absolutely packed with mitochondria that’s always hungry for more CoQ10.

Give it what it wants, and it will perform at a higher level.

  • CoQ10 for Memory – A clinical study on middle aged diabetic rats found that when compared to a control group, rats given CoQ10 as a supplement performed better on memory tests.  These findings support research done on elderly patients with neurological disorders like Parkinson’s.
  • CoQ10 for Disease Prevention – The combined effects of increasing mitochondria health, and protecting neurons from oxidative stress have been found in numerous studies to prevent Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s, and Parkinson’s disease.  This is a strong indicator that CoQ10 is excellent for overall brain health.
  • CoQ10 for Depression – Plasma levels of CoQ10 have been found to be over 50% lower in people suffering from depression.  The lower energy levels that can result from CoQ10 deficiency typically make depression worse.  CoQ10 supplementation can help reverse these effects.

Granted, CoQ10 is not the most powerful nootropic.  It’s better known for it’s ability to help with overall vitality, and perhaps help turn back the clock.

How does CoQ10 Benefit the Brain - Woman with Clock over her Face

But there are some fascinating tips and tricks I’d like to share with you to make CoQ10 more effective.

Check this out!

CoQ10 and PQQ – The Perfect Combination?

Chocolate and peanut butter.

Wine and cheese.

Beer and nuts.

You get the idea.  Some things are just better together.  CoQ10 and PQQ are no exception.

Those of you that have done a bit of reading may be asking, “Don’t they basically do the same thing?”.

No.  Not quite.

How does CoQ10 Benefit the Brain - Nail and Screw doing Different Jobs

PQQ is another micronutrient that influences energy metabolism, but it does so by increasing the number of mitochondria.

CoQ10 increases the activity of the mitochondria.

That’s the difference.

When these two micronutrients are taken together, they’re way more effective than when used individually.

Kind of like caffeine and L-Theanine, but that’s another article I wrote a long time ago…

Let’s move on.

How can we take CoQ10 for best results, aside from taking it together with PQQ?

Is it safe?

How does CoQ10 Benefit the Brain - Cat in Bird Cage with Birds on Cage

Are there any risks associated with its’ use?

Let’s find out…

CoQ10 Side Effects – Dosage Notes

I have good news.

Since CoQ10 is a naturally occurring compound already found in the body, the potential side effects from supplementing with it are pretty rare.

Mega-dosing is actually the main cause of adverse effects with CoQ10.

I mentioned earlier that absorption rates vary widely with individual body chemistry and age.  We also lose the ability to make our own CoQ10 as we get older.

How does CoQ10 Benefit the Brain - Pills on a Spoon

As a result, older individuals should reasonably expect to need more CoQ10 as a supplement, and the recommended dosage has a pretty wide range; 30mg to 400mg per day.

Mega-dosing is when someone is taking 500mg/day or more, and it’s usually not necessary.

Generally speaking, most folks should start off at 200 mg/day to see how they feel.  If they find that it’s to much or too little, they can adjust their intake.

CoQ10 is also a fat soluble nutrient, so you can increase its’ absorption by taking it with a high quality fat.

A few teaspoons of organic coconut or olive oil should work just fine.

How does CoQ10 Benefit the Brain - Coconut Oil on a Table

It’s also worth mentioning that CoQ10 can affect blood pressure, blood sugar, and can thin the blood.

So please consult your doctor before taking CoQ10 as a supplement if you are:

  • Using Blood Pressure Meds
  • Diabetic
  • Using Blood Thinning Meds

Some of the more unusual side effects that can be experienced are:

  • Nausea
  • Rashes
  • Abdominal pain
  • Dizziness
  • Light Sensitivity
  • Irritability
  • Headache
  • Heartburn

Fortunately, these symptoms are unusual.  Most people supplementing with CoQ10 get to enjoy the following benefits:

  • Increased Energy
  • Better Mental Clarity
  • Faster Reaction Times

All in all, CoQ10 is very safe.  But if you do run into any issues, just stop taking it.

OK.  I think we’re about ready to wrap things up here.

How does CoQ10 Benefit the Brain - Man Wrapping a Present

Let’s take stock of what we’ve learned about CoQ10, shall we?

Who should take CoQ10? – Final Recommendations

So how does CoQ10 benefit the brain?

CoQ10 has been called a vitamin, even in scientific papers.

So if you were confused by that, don’t feel bad, it’s absolutely not your fault.

Just to be clear, though, CoQ10 is not a vitamin.  It’s a protein.  It acts like a vitamin by supporting energy metabolism as a coenzyme.

What’s a coenzyme?

Coenzymes are molecules that act as a ‘go between’ in a chemical reaction to make the reaction happen faster and more efficiently.

How does CoQ10 Benefit the Brain - Metal Balls Transferring Energy

They’re basically facilitators or support ingredients.

B vitamins do the same thing, only with water soluble nutrients, and that’s why people often label CoQ10 as a vitamin as well.

Makes sense?

Since CoQ10 makes energy reactions more efficient, it’s best known for increasing energy levels when taken as a supplement.

It’s also a very potent antioxidant, which means it can help prevent tissue damage and inflammation.

These combined effects improve overall brain health, as well as enhance cognitive function.

So who should use CoQ10?

How does CoQ10 Benefit the Brain - People Sitting around a Question Mark

I would say it’s a good option for anyone looking to:

  • Increase Energy Levels
  • Boost their Immune System
  • Improve Mental Clarity
  • Prevent Neurodegenerative Diseases
  • Age Better 

I’d also highly recommend finding a supplement that combines CoQ10 with PQQ, and taking it with a high quality fat.

A few teaspoons of organic coconut oil or olive oil would do the trick.

 

All right, that’s about all I had to share with you about CoQ10 today.

If you think of any questions, by all means, leave a comment below.  I’ll get right back to you.

In my next article, I’ll be talking about Mind Lab Pro and ADHD.

Mind Lab Pro has been recognized as a good nutritional supplement for brain health, but how well does it counteract the symptoms of ADHD?

That’s the question I’ll be trying to answer…

Until next time,

 

Michael

 

P.S.- If you have friends you think should read this article, just use the social buttons below to share it!

 

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8 thoughts on “How does CoQ10 Benefit the Brain?”

  1. Hey Michael,

    I’ve never heard of CoQ10 before, so this article was an interesting read.

    I didn’t know this protein was in all the tissues in our bodies. The fact that it can help various ailments such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease is rather impressive. 

    It’s fascinating that CoQ10 is not only an energy booster and potent antioxidant, but also helps boost the body’s immune system.

    I can see the need for more CoQ10 as the body gets older, so I might look at taking a CoQ10 supplement with some PQQ.

    I appreciate the information shared in this article.

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Hi Toni,

      Thanks for taking the time to read my post on CoQ10.

      If you have some interest in taking a CoQ10 supplement, I recommend finding a product that contains both CoQ10 and PQQ.

      You might also enjoy my article on PQQ titled, ‘Is PQQ a Nootropic?’.  It has a lot of useful information for you.

      Basically, CoQ10 and PQQ are great for offering what I call a ‘One-Two Punch’.

      They’re both great for giving you an energy boost, and helping slow down the aging process at the same time.  They’re also much better taken together.

      Just like chocolate and peanut butter!

      Let me know if you have any other questions going forward.

      Michael

      Reply
  2. Thank you so much for this very informative article, Michael!

    I had no idea that CoQ10 contained so many vastly beneficial benefits!

    I take care of my 60-year-old, developmentally delayed Mother, and she’s had a history of heart, anxiety, and depression problems. Knowing that CoQ10 assists with all of these issues, I will immediately invest in CoQ10 supplements!

    Great read! God bless you!

    Reply
    • Hi C.N.,

      I’m super happy that this article can help you with your 60-year-old mother!

      CoQ10 really does sound like a perfect fit for all her ailments!

      If you are going to look into getting a CoQ10 supplement for her, I recommend looking for a product that also has PQQ in it.

      You should also read my article on PQQ before you go shopping. I think you’ll find a lot of useful information there.

      Please let me know how things go for you, and if you have any questions later, just give me a holler!

      Michael

      Reply
  3. Hey Michael,

    Thank you for such an informative article on CoQ10.

    I do take this supplement for my immune system and energy, but I had no idea I was receiving so many other health benefits from this supplement.

    I really learned a lot today!

    Jeff

    Reply
    • Hey Jeff,

      Glad to hear you’re seeing the benefits of taking CoQ10 already. That’s great!

      I have to ask you, are you taking a supplement that also has PQQ in it?

      Basically, CoQ10 increases the metabolism of mitochondria, and PQQ helps mitochondria multiply in number. They make a great combination.

      There are also tons of products out on the market that combine CoQ10 and PQQ for you, so why not?

      You might also want to read my article on PQQ. I think you would find a lot of value in giving it a look.

      Please post another comment if you have any other questions later.

      Michael

      Reply
  4. Hi Michael,

    This is an absolutely superb article.

    I have taken CoEnzyme Q10/COQ10 in the past, but stopped taking it a while ago.

    I’ve heard that the plant extract AFA – which works on a cellular level – may pair well with this substance, do you agree with this opinion?

    Reply
    • Hi Simon,

      Thanks for the kudos! Much appreciated!

      I do agree that AFA is a good compliment to CoQ10.

      AFA, and other blue-green algae species, are great for cleansing the body because of their high concentration of chlorophyll and other plant sterols. They help a lot with inflammation, heart disease, and slowing down the aging process.

      If you want to know more about micronutrients that can help in this area, I suggest you take a look at my article on PQQ. It’s an amazing compound to take with CoQ10 if you are considering taking an energy supplement again.

      Please let me know if you think of any other questions later with another comment.

      Michael

      Reply

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