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Does Co-enzyme Q10 Help You Lose Weight?

In the quest for a more toned and more athletic physique, you to need to exercise hard and eat well. There are a number of supplements that can help you on your way and make it easier for you to achieve your goals, but there are also supplements that will offer nothing but empty promises.

In this article we’ll take a look at co-enzyme Q10 – a relatively expensive compound, which manufactures suggest will help you lose weight.

Is it all it’s cracked up to be? Let’s find out…


What is Co-enzyme Q10?

Also known as ubiquinone, vitamin Q10 or simply just Q10, this compound is vital for the body to run efficiently and produce energy. It isn’t strictly a vitamin as such, as your body produces its own supply. This is unlike true vitamins which have to be obtained from the diet. As such, it is technically classed as a pseudovitamin. 

We store around 2g of Q10 in the body and require around 500mg per day to keep stores topped up – this comes from a mixture of internal synthesis and food [1]. The highest sources can be found in meats – cardiac tissue and liver meat is undoubtedly the best source as well as sardines, mackerel, beef and eggs are all good sources. 

Although we create our own CoQ10 we don’t produce as much of it as we get older though so dietary levels become even more important.

This nutrient has antioxidant properties which help protect us from aging, so in theory we would benefit from more as we get older. For that reason it is used commonly in cosmetic beauty products such as face creams marketed at reducing the effects of aging and retaining the natural elasticity of the skin.

As a supplement though, co-enzyme is relatively expensive and the quality of product varies massively between suppliers. 

The co-enzyme compound is responsible for regulating cellular energy metabolism as part of the electron transport chain. This is a complex energy releasing system located within a part of each cell called the mitochondria. As part of this complex system, Q10 helps to increase the rate of energy generated from carbohydrates and more importantly, fatty acids. 

Because of its role in boosting cellular energy production, co-enzyme Q10 is commonly marketed as a supplement to aid weight loss. But does it help you achieve a better physique or is it another case of false promises?

Let’s have a look at what the research says…


sardines-coq10

Key Point: Co-enzyme Q10 is a vitamin-like nutrient that regulates energy within the mitochondria.


Could Co-enzyme Q10 Boost Weight Loss?

As a regulator of fatty acids and carbohydrates, this compound helps your body use nutrients for energy by converting them into a usable currency called adenosine triphosphate (ATP). 

Studies from the 1990s found that Q10 could be used as an indirect index of metabolism by assessing its effects on fat mass in a group of healthy men [2]. In the study, a number of correlations were found between Q10 levels and fat mass – and that as the men aged, fat mass went up but co-enzyme levels went down.

It would be reasonable then to think then that more Q10 would equal more fatty acid use – which would lead to not only an increase in metabolism but weight loss too. A quick internet search gives you a number of supposed benefits, with weight loss top of the list. The problem is though that there aren’t any actual studies showing that this is the case and no websites quote actual research. 

One study, published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine [3] found Q10 had no effect on weight loss, even over a long-term period. The study, which used over 15,000 middle-aged men, tracked supplement habits over a 10-year period and found that the only supplements that positively affected weight were vitamin B6B12 and chromium – which incidentally are all ingredients in Instant Knockout.

As a supplement, Q10 is seriously under-researched when it comes to weight loss. There is just no scientific backing at present. 

The big problem here is that just because a compound that naturally occurs in the body creates an effect doesn’t mean that to supplement it will further that effect. There are just no evidence-based studies backing up the claims made by supplement companies at present, and for that reason we suggest you look somewhere other than Q10 for a weight loss aid or fat burner.


fat-loss

Key Point: There are no scientific studies that back up the use of co-enzyme Q10 as an effective weight loss aid.


Are There Any Side Effects to This Supplement?

Q10 is safe in recommended doses and appears to be as long as the daily maximum dose of <3000mg is not exceeded. It is advised not to take it for prolonged periods of over eight months though.

Although classed as safe, there have been a number of adverse effects reported in various studies, ranging from digestive to hepatic side effects.

The more common side effects associated with this supplement include stomach upset and gastrointestinal discomfort, nausea, diarrhoea and increased liver enzyme count.

Other side effects may also include low blood pressure and allergic reactions, along with heartburn, flu-like symptoms and headaches.


Summary

Co-enzyme Q10 is a vitamin-like compound that can be obtained either via direct synthesis in the body or through diet. Foods such as organ meats and oily fish provide the most amounts and are important for overall health.

This compound plays a major role in boosting cellular energy, regulating the way in which the electron transport chain provides us with ATP – the usable form of human energy.

It has been claimed that as Q10 increases the use of fatty acids and carbohydrates, it could be used as a weight loss aid. Whilst early studies show a link between the compound and metabolism regulation, there have been to date, no human studies showing any weight loss benefits.

As a relatively expensive supplement with little use in improving body composition, we recommend that until better clinical trial evidence is provided, you avoid it. Instead, consider using a fat burner with much more clinical evidence behind it.


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References

  1. E.G. Bliznakov and D.J. Wilkins. Biochemical and clinical consequences of inhibiting coenzyme Q10 biosynthesis by lipid-lowering HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors (statins): A critical Overview. Advances in Therapy. 1998; 15(4)
  2. Ravaglia, G et al. Coenzyme Q10 plasma levels and body composition in elderly males. Arch Gerontol Geriatr. 1996; 22 Suppl 1:539-43
  3. Nachtigal, M et al. Dietary supplements and weight control in a middle-age population. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. 2005; 11(5): 909-915


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