Also known as ubiquinone or ubiquinol, Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is used throughout your body for many important processes. Cells use it to produce energy, and organs like the heart, liver, kidneys and pancreas require a lot of it to function optimally.CoQ10 is recognized for assisting with cardiovascular and nervous system health, as well as muscle and physical endurance.
Unlike with vitamins, minerals and other essential compounds, it is very difficult to increase your CoQ10 intake simply by improving your diet because foods that provide CoQ10 don’t contain high enough to make much of an impact on your overall health and wellness. And as you age, your body doesn’t produce as much CoQ10 as it needs to use on a daily basis. Research has also linked the use of certain medications like statins to low CoQ10 levels.
In these instances, a CoQ10 supplement can come in handy. Here’s what you should know about the different forms of CoQ10 and the best nutrient pairings for meeting your health goals and needs.
Ubiquinone vs. Ubiquinol
When browsing your CoQ10 supplement options, you'll notice that this antioxidant can come in two forms: ubiquinone and ubiquinol. Ubiquinol is the active form of CoQ10—your body converts ubiquinone into ubiquinol. They are both great supplement options, but some medical experts say that younger people may notice more benefits from ubiquinone while older people may benefit more from ubiquinol.
Best CoQ10 Nutrient Pairings
Like many dietary supplements, CoQ10 can play a complementary role to other supplements. Here are four of the best ways to combine CoQ10 with other important nutrients.
#1 CoQ10 + Vitamin K2 for Heart Health
CoQ10 and vitamin K2 aren’t the only nutrients you need for a healthy heart, but they’re definitely among the most important, especially as you age and if you use statins.
CoQ10 helps your body convert the food you eat into the fuel you need, namely supplying the fatty acids that keep your heart pumping.5 Researchers say that, combined with a healthy diet and exercise, CoQ10 may have significant cardioprotective effects.6 Studies also show that getting enough vitamin K2 (or menaquinone-7) each day is another important way to support the health and function of your cardiovascular system. K2 is a fat-soluble vitamin that plays an essential role in bone health, blood coagulation and heart health. It helps your bones absorb calcium from your bloodstream, boosting arterial and heart health in the process.7 Similar to CoQ10, the synthesis of vitamin K2 within the body can be inhibited by statin use, making a supplement especially important.
Swanson Ultra CoQ10 + Vitamin K2 is a 2-in-1 formula that features clinically-studied dosages of these important nutrients. Individually, CoQ10 and vitamin K2 have been scientifically shown to support heart health, and now you can get them both together in one powerful softgel at a better value than buying them individually.
#2 CoQ10 + B Vitamins for Cellular Energy
Individually and together, CoQ10 and B vitamins are critical nutrients that support healthy cellular energy production in your body.
CoQ10 works in the mitochondria (the powerhouse of a cell) to help produce cellular energy from the food you eat, which is then used to power muscles and perform other important functions of the body. The B-vitamin family, which consists of 8 different vitamins, also supports cellular metabolism. While each B vitamin offers its own unique list of benefits , B-complex vitamins collectively help transform your nutritious meals into energy for your body. B vitamins are also water soluble, which means your body doesn’t store them like it does with fat-soluble nutrients, so you need to replenish your body’s supply of B vitamins continually via the foods you eat and supplements you take.
In order to help your body derive as much cellular energy as efficiently as possible from the foods you eat each day, consider pairing a CoQ10 supplement with B-complex supplement . You will likely need to take them individually as opposed to in a combination capsule, but Swanson Health offers plenty of affordable options in both categories. That way, you can select the exact formulas and dosages that work best for you.
#3 CoQ10 + Vitamin E for Skin Health
Your skin is the largest organ in your body, and it’s widely exposed to internal and external agents that can contribute to premature aging. Luckily, both CoQ10 and vitamin E can play vital roles in maintaining and protecting skin health.
Everything from sun exposure to air pollution to imbalanced hormones can impact your skin’s cells, leading to reduced moisture and degredation of other protective properties. However, CoQ10 applied directly to the skin may help increase the energy production in skin cells and promote antioxidant protection.8 One study found that CoQ10 applied directly to the skin helped reduce oxidative damage caused by environmental exposures and even decreased the depth of wrinkles.9 Vitamin E can provide similar benefits. It’s a fat-soluble nutrient that easily absorbs into the skin, is highly moisturizing and can support healthy skin when applied directly.10
The most convenient way to get skin benefits from CoQ10 and vitamin E is to look for a product that offers them together in one formula. Swanson CoQ10 Cream combines the powers of CoQ10, vitamin E, vitamin C, MSM, aloe, chamomile and licorice extracts to help moisturize and rejuvenate your skin, as well as defend against visible signs of aging.
#4 CoQ10 + L-Carnitine for Physical Endurance
Both CoQ10 and L-carnitine help promote energy production in the mitochondria of cells, but they are also readily available in other tissues in the body. While CoQ10 is drawn to the heart, liver, kidneys and pancreas, L-carnitine is predominantly found in your muscle tissues. When both assist with the production of cellular energy throughout the body at the same time, you can reap some big exercise-related benefits.
Research suggests that CoQ10 may help exercise performance as it improves mitochondrial functions, as well as decreases oxidative stress, leading to both an increase in power and a decrease in fatigue. And some studies have found that larger, more long-term doses of L-carnitine may help increase oxygen supply to your muscles, reduce fatigue and improve exercise recovery.
So if your physical endurance and exercise performance is something you’re working to improve, consider a supplement that provides both CoQ10 and L-carnitine. Depending on the supplement you choose, you might enjoy even more benefits. For instance, Swanson Ultra Advanced Heart Nutrition Cardioplex contains CoQ10, propionyl L-carnitine, magnesium and ribose, four nutrients especially helpful for cardiovascular health. So while it’s providing important nutrition for your heart, it’s also fueling your fitness goals. Check out Be a Lean, Mean Body Machine for more nutrition to fuel your goals and boost metabolism.