Taking CoQ10 for Blood Pressure

Coenzyme Q10, also known as CoQ10, is a naturally occurring nutrient that helps boost the conversion of food to energy. Found in most cells of the body, CoQ10 is an antioxidant that helps fight free radicals (oxygen-containing molecules that damage cell membranes and DNA).

Free radicals are widely believed to contribute to aging and increase the risk of aging-related diseases like cancer and heart disease. The use of an antioxidant supplement is thought to neutralize free radicals, reducing or preventing cellular damage as well as the risk of certain diseases.

CoQ10 in supplement form is purported to improve heart-related conditions like hypertension (high blood pressure) by neutralizing free radicals, increasing the production of energy in cells, and preventing the formation of blood clots.

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Hypertension Benefits

Among the cardiovascular conditions that may be prevented or treated with CoQ10 supplements are heart failure, heart attacks, and high blood pressure. For its part, the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database has rated CoQ10 as “possibly effective” for the treatment of hypertension.

Some experts believe people with hypertensive may have low concentrations of CoQ10 in their bodies. Several studies have suggested that CoQ10 can effect positive changes in blood pressure, generally within four to 12 weeks of use.

Research is conflicting on how effective CoQ10 truly is in lowering blood pressure. A 2016 analysis in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews could find no evidence that CoQ10 had any effect on either systolic or diastolic blood pressure.

Possible Side Effects

No major side effects have been reported with CoQ10 use, although some users have reported an upset stomach.

Since studies have not determined safety during pregnancy, CoQ10 supplements are not recommended for use by pregnant women. People with diabetes should consult their healthcare provider before using CoQ10 supplements as the supplements may lower blood sugar.

People who take blood thinners like Coumadin (warfarin) and Plavix (clopidogrel) should also speak with their healthcare provider before taking CoQ10 supplements as the concomitant use of the drugs may increase the risk of bleeding and easy bruising.

CoQ10 can also decrease the efficacy of certain chemotherapy drugs, so people undergoing cancer treatment should avoid taking CoQ10 without first speaking with their oncologist.

On the other hand, a number of small studies have suggested that CoQ10 may reduce cardiac toxicity associated with daunorubicin and doxorubicin, two chemotherapy drugs that are associated with heart muscle damage.

Some medications can also lower the concentration of CoQ10 levels in your blood, all but undermining its potential effects. These include:

Dosage and Preparation

If you are on treatment for hypertension, the addition of CoQ10 supplements may allow you to decrease the dosage of other antihypertensive drugs. With that said, there is no guarantee that they will, and you should never change doses unless your healthcare provider gives you the OK. Regular monitoring of blood pressure is needed before any such judgments can be made.

COQ10 should only be taken by adults 19 and older. Recommended dosages range from 30 mg to 200 mg daily, depending on the manufacturer. Soft gel capsules are thought to be absorbed better than other formulations.

CoQ10 is fat-soluble, meaning that it needs fat in order to be absorbed and metabolized. For optimal results, take the supplement with a fat-containing meal rather than on an empty stomach.

What to Look For

It is important to note that supplements are not stringently regulated in the United States and that the quality can vary from one manufacturer to the next.

To ensure quality and safety, opt for brands that have been voluntarily submitted for testing by a third-party certifying authority like U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP), NSF International, or ConsumerLab. Certification ensures that the products on the ingredients label are safe and as listed.

Certification does not mean that the supplement "works." It simply means that the ingredients are pure, that the listed amounts are correct, and that no impurities were found in the supplement.

A Word From Verywell

If you have hypertension, supplements may or may not be useful in reducing your blood pressure. Research remains sorely lacking, and it's too soon to suggest that CoQ10 or is any other supplement is anywhere near as effective as proven strategies like routine exercise, improved diet, and smoking cessation.

If you are considering the use of a supplement like CoQ10, tell your healthcare provider. Some supplements may interact with the antihypertensive medications you take. It is also important to monitor your blood pressure regularly when making any changes in your treatment plan.

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