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What Are the Dangers of Coenzyme Q10?

Coenzyme Q10, also known as ubiquinone for its essential and wide-ranging presence in the body, supports energy production, boosts the immune system and protects the body against free radical damage. Found in such foods as sesame and soybean oils, wheat germ, spinach, broccoli, fish and beef, coenzyme Q10 can also be taken in supplement form. Although coenzyme Q10 is considered generally safe, some side effects and risks accompany its use.

Side Effects of Coenzyme Q10

CoQ10 at doses of 100 mg a day or more can cause insomnia. Long-term consumption of more than 300 mg daily can lead to increased levels of liver enzymes. In addition, a wide range of side effects have been reported, including nausea and abdominal pain, headache, dizziness, heartburn and photophobia. Some users also experience rashes and heartburn.

CoenzymeQ10 and Drug Interactions

CoQ10 can have potentially dangerous interactions with essential medications. Diabetics taking coenzyme Q10 may experience a change in their insulin requirements. A key risk area involves the widely prescribed statin drugs. Statins can deplete the body's levels of CoQ10 and reduce the efficiency of CoQ10 supplements. Also, Coenzyme Q10 can change the body's response to the blood thinner Warfarin.

Coenzyme Q10 and Non-Prescription Medications

CoQ10 may have adverse interactions with a number of over-the-counter medications and herbal supplements. Users are urged to consult a medical professional if taking coenzyme Q10 with aspirin, laxatives, cold medications, antacids or vitamin and mineral preparations, as the enzyme's effects touch nearly all systems in the body.

Coenzyme Q10 and Health Conditions

Since CoQ10 affects many functions of the heart such as pumping action, blood vessel flexibility and heart muscle strength, individuals suffering from any kind of heart disease are advised to consult a physician before using this supplement. Likewise, CoQ10 poses significant dangers during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

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About the Author

Carla Jean McKinney has been writing professionally since 1989. She is the author of three nonfiction books and numerous published short works, as well as articles on natural sciences and the environment. Also a photographer, McKinney earned her Master of Arts at the University of Arizona and is a graduate of the Sessions School of Design.