Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a substance found everywhere in our bodies and thought to be a vital ingredient in our cellular energy production. It seems our mitochondria need CoQ10 to produce ATP and release energy. It is also thought to be an important antioxidant. CoQ10 is usually synthesised by the body given the right raw materials. However, Dr Myhill suggests that even when we have the raw materials available, ME/CFS sufferers may not be able to make their own CoQ10 in sufficient quantities.
Initially I misunderstood the importance of this substance as relating purely to the muscles. Because, this time round, my muscle symptoms have been quite mild and pretty manageable I had initially decided not to prioritise this supplement. If I pace myself properly and don’t over exert I can usually remain symptom free muscle-wise. I had also decided that my healthy diet provides me with plenty of useful fresh antioxidants. And anyway, we would have to have a very generous income to be able to try everything that is thought to be helpful, and I certainly don’t!
A few months ago I read this ProHealth article which inspired me to give this supplement a go.The article explains that there are two forms of this supplement, ubiquinol and ubiquinone and it seems that once we are over 40 or suffering from a chronic illness our bodies find it more difficult to process the latter form. Armed with this information I set about trying to get the best deal I could on the internet for some ubiquinol, unfortunately at some point in the process I lost track of what I was doing and ending up buying a fast absorption coenzyme Q10 that said nothing about which form it was offering! (I blame the brain fog on my inability to focus on two aspects of a product at once!) I only realised my mistake once the product had arrived and because I didn’t know of anybody I could give it away to, I decided to give it a try anyway. The instructions suggested it is best absorbed if taken with a fatty meal so just to be sure, I decided to up my dose of hemp oil from a teaspoon to a table spoon, during my breakfast supplement routine.
Because of this I can’t be sure whether it’s the coenzyme Q10, the extra hemp oil or the combination of both but I have most definitely seen an improvement to my energy levels and my general health which has been sustained over several weeks so far. My baseline of sustainable activity has definitely been raised a notch. I am able to concentrate for longer. I’m finding that I have enough energy to want to go out for a walk, I’m no longer having to make myself do it just because I know it will be good for me! I’m even managing my yoga classes a lot better and haven’t had a ‘yoga crash’ (48 hours after my weekly class) since I started this new regime. So for me this experiment has been definitely worthwhile. Because I suspected that I was taking a supplement that my body wasn’t even going to be able to process well, I find these results even more impressive. The benefits outweighed any ‘nocebo’ effect of my negative expectations, although perhaps the fact that I chose to take them anyway belies that I still held hope!
Please remember that this post is not intended as a recommendation. We are all different and different supplements are likely to have a different value for each of us. We must each take responsibility for our own decisions about which ones might be worth investing in, making sure that they are adequately informed. If in doubt consult your doctor or alternative health practitioner, and always consult your doctor if you have any other conditions and/or are taking any kind of medication.
Again, I would recommend that when you choose to take a supplement you introduce each new one, one at a time. I would also suggest that you record your symptoms and general state of wellbeing before and after to observe if and how they make a difference. Every few months, if you are well enough to experiment with not taking it, it’s a good idea to cut it out for a few weeks and see if there are any ill effects. If there are you can resume taking it with confidence, if not you might want to economise.
What’s your experience with Coenzyme Q10?