Q: I've heard so much about the benefits of coenzyme Q10. What is it, and is it worth taking?
better known as
CoQ10—is a vitamin like substance your body produces naturally. Present in every cell, it's necessary for basic body functioning and also acts as an antioxidant. Healthy people typically make plenty
of the nutrient on their own, but research has linked illnesses like heart and gum disease with lower levels of CoQ10. What's more, some prescription medications, such as cholesterol-lowering statins, can diminish levels even further.
If you have a chronic condition, consider speaking to your doctor about taking a CoQ10 supplement: Preliminary studies suggest the nutrient (which is available at health food and vitamin stores) may lower blood pressure levels, heal gum disease, and even slow the rate of deterioration from diseases such as Parkinson's. But if you're healthy, there isn't enough evidence to prove that taking CoQ10 is beneficial.