Have you heard of the latest supplement on the market? Coenzyme Q10 is a compound naturally present in our body that acts as a powerful antioxidant and helps in converting the food we eat to fuel.

Although our bodies produce their own Coenzyme Q10, it produces less and less as we get older, and some lifestyle habits, such as smoking, can also deplete our body’s reserves of Coenzyme Q10. The good news is we can get extra Coenzyme Q10 from specific foods or supplements. The best food sources are meat organs, sardines, cauliflower, and broccoli.

There are claims that Coenzyme Q10 supplements can help improve energy levels in regular exercisers, and thus improve exercise performance. This is because the enzyme has a role in producing ATP, a molecule in body cells that functions like a rechargeable battery in the transfer of energy. While the theory behind this is promising, unfortunately all of the studies conducted on athletes and non-athletes have not shown any change in energy levels after supplementation with Coenzyme Q10. So, if you were planning on starting Coenzyme Q10 supplements to boost your energy levels, save your cash.

If it is not for energy, why else should you take Coenzyme Q10 supplements? There is evidence that the higher your blood levels of the enzyme, the lower your risk of heart disease and high blood pressure. Some new studies are even suggesting that these supplements can slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease in people who have susceptibility genes. Because it is such a powerful antioxidant, Coenzyme Q10 can be very useful as we get older to reverse some of our body’s internal damage from free radicals. Of course, like all supplements, it is only beneficial if taken as part of a healthy lifestyle.

Coenzyme Q10 supplements have only a few mild side effects reported thus far, including diarrhea, nausea, and heartburn in just a few select users. It’s important to always consult with your doctor before taking any supplements, and avoid taking them all together if you have diabetes, are pregnant, or are on any other medications.

Consequently, if you suffer from chronic fatigue or want to increase your energy levels, Coenzyme Q10 is probably not your answer. If you have a family history of high blood pressure, heart disease, or Alzheimers though, the supplement might be useful in the long term.