The CoQ10 Association has announced plans to test every Coenzyme Q10 product on the market in the US for potency and purity [Schultz 2020, August 13]. If all goes according to plan, the project will be completed by the end of 2020. We look forward to seeing the results of the testing.
Potency of CoQ10 Products
Testing for potency means ensuring that the capsule contains the quantity of Coenzyme Q10 specified on the label.
Earlier this year, in May, 2020, the NOW nutritional supplements company headquartered in Illinois, revealed that its in-house laboratory had tested 10 CoQ10 products purchased on amazon.com.
The NOW testing showed that only three of the ten CoQ10 products contained 80% or more of the Coenzyme Q10 declared on the product label [Schulz, 2020, May 14].
Purity of CoQ10 Products
Testing for purity means making sure that the CoQ10 products do not contain any adulterating or contaminating substances.
For example, back on February 6 and 7, 2015, the New York Times reported that herbal remedies – ginseng, Ginkgo biloba, St. John’s Wort, and valerian root among them – sold by GNC, Target, Walgreens, and Walmart did not contain the active ingredients listed on the labels.
Documentation of Bioavailability and Health Benefits
Testing for potency and purity is important.
- Potency and purity are necessary conditions for consumer trust in a product.
- However, potency and purity are not sufficient conditions.
Bioavailability of Coenzyme Q10
A 2019 double-blind crossover study has shown that there is considerable variation in the bioavailability of individual CoQ10 products depending upon the formulation of the Coenzyme Q10 [Lopez-Lluch 2019].
Efficacy of Coenzyme Q10
Daily supplementation with a well-formulated CoQ10 product has been significantly associated with beneficial health effects in the following studies, all of them randomized controlled trials:
- Improved survival and symptoms in chronic heart failure patients [Mortensen 2014]
- Improved symptoms in veterans diagnosed with Gulf War Illness [Golomb 2014]
- Reduced risk of heart disease in senior citizens [Alehagen 2013]
- Reduced muscle pain and weakness in patients on statin medications [Fedacko 2013]
Summing Up: CoQ10 and Quality
Coenzyme Q10 supplements are affordable and safe and well-tolerated.
- Not all CoQ10 supplements will be up to scratch with respect to potency, purity, bioavailability, and efficacy.
- Spending money on a CoQ10 supplement that is not documented with respect to bioavailability and efficacy is a gamble.
- It is best to purchase a CoQ10 product that has been produced to medical standards and has been tested in clinical trials.
Alehagen U, Johansson P, Björnstedt M, Rosén A, Dahlström U. Cardiovascular mortality and N-terminal-proBNP reduced after combined selenium and coenzyme Q10 supplementation: a 5-year prospective randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial among elderly Swedish citizens. Int J Cardiol. 2013;167(5):1860-1866.
Golomb BA, Allison M, Koperski S, Koslik HJ, Devaraj S, Ritchie JB. Coenzyme Q10 benefits symptoms in Gulf War veterans: results of a randomized double-blind study. Neural Comput. 2014;26(11):2594-2651.
López-Lluch G, Del Pozo-Cruz J, Sánchez-Cuesta A, Cortés-Rodríguez AB, Navas P. Bioavailability of coenzyme Q10 supplements depends on carrier lipids and solubilization. Nutrition. 2019;57:133-140.
Mortensen SA, Rosenfeldt F, Kumar A, et al. The effect of coenzyme Q10 on morbidity and mortality in chronic heart failure: results from Q-SYMBIO: a randomized double-blind trial. JACC Heart Fail. 2014;2(6):641-649.
Schultz H. NOW Testing Reveals CoQ10, SAMe Products Sold on Amazon to be of Almost Uniformly Low Potency. 2020a, May 14. Retrieved from https://www.nutraingredients-usa.com/Article/2020/05/14/CoQ10-SAMe-products-sold-on-Amazon-fail-potency-tests.
Schultz H. CoQ10 Association Plans to Test Every Product on the Market. 2020b, August 13. Retrieved from https://www.nutraingredients-usa.com/Article/2020/08/06/CoQ10-Association-plans-to-test-every-product-on-market.
The information presented in this review article is not intended as medical advice and should not be used as such.
31 August 2020
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