The causes of CoQ10 deficiency is not very well understood even by experts in the field.
Most researchers tend to agree that it is not likely due to a poor diet since the body can readily make coenzyme Q10.
Many believe it is likely due to the body not making enough of it because of a disease state.
Let's look into greater details at all the potential causes of deficiency as well look at a list of potential symptoms of deficiency.
We'll also list several common diseases that are associated with a lower than normal CoQ10 levels.
There are three known possible causes of low CoQ10 levels:
Low dietary intake of CoQ10 (or substances needed for the body to make CoQ10)
The body to unable to make sufficient quantity of CoQ10
The body is using up more CoQ10 than it can make
Experts believe that all of these possible causes of CoQ10 deficiency play a role. Taking a CoQ10 supplement will address the deficiency problems regardless of the cause.
Let's look at each one in detail and see how likely it is to occur under certain situations.
#1 - Low dietary intake of CoQ10
In the first potential cause, extreme malnutrition would contribute to low CoQ10 levels.
This is unlikely to happen in modern society. If anywhere, third world countries are the likely place to find low CoQ10 levels due to chronic and severe malnutrition.
#2 - The body is unable to make enough CoQ10
This is believed to be the most common cause of low levels of CoQ10.
Some experts believe that the body is unable manufacture enough CoQ10 because of poor diet choices or simply lacking in the proper vitamins and minerals.
As a result, most people generally have levels of CoQ10 that are not optimal for energy production. This is one theory.
Certain prescription medications may inhibit the body from making coenzyme Q10. Statin-type cholesterol lowering medications are good at blocking cholesterol production in the liver. By doing so, they do a great job at lowering high cholesterol.
But, they also block CoQ10 synthesis as well. CoQ10 is made using the same chemical pathway as cholesterol.
In addition, certain disease states also compromise the body's mechanism for making CoQ10. This may be the main reason why low CoQ10 levels are found in conditions like diabetes, fibromyalgia and muscular dystrophy, just to name a few.
#3 - The body uses up more CoQ10 than can be made
It is unusual for the body to not be able to make enough CoQ10 to meet demands (excluding certain disease states).
More than likely, this can happen when an individual needs excessive amount of energy production, like with extreme physician activities, doing heavy weight lifting exercises or body building. This is why body builders are interested in the using CoQ10.
In these cases, a daily CoQ10 supplement may be considered to help prevent deficiency.
Here is a list of health conditions where low levels of CoQ10 are commonly found:
Heart failure and congestive heart failure (CHF)
Gingivitis (gum disease)
High Blood Pressure (hypertension)
Let's look at some commonly mentioned coenzyme Q10 deficiency symptoms.
Keep in mind that many of the listed symptoms are extremely vague and may not point to a deficiency at all.
A comment is included for each of the listed deficiency symptoms to explain our thoughts on these vague symptoms.
Of course, you can do a blood test to find out if you are really deficiency in CoQ10 but that will cost you between $150 and $200. It is not a routine test regular labs can do.
This is a very general symptom and it may not even indicate a CoQ10 deficiency. However, many people do take daily coenzyme Q10 supplement in an attempt to treat this condition.
Poor heart function
Look, after a serious event like a heart attack, the heart is going to function poorly. There is no disagreement on this.
And a low CoQ10 level is linked to those who have heart problems. This further worsen the problem since the heart has a high energy need. Studies have shown significant benefits in using CoQ10 for patients with heart failure.
Why risk it further by having a CoQ10 deficiency? Take a CoQ10 supplement. There are proven benefits in using CoQ10 for improving heart function.
Muscle weakness is a vague symptom and it may not indicate a deficiency in coenzyme Q10.
Gum disease (Gingivitis)
There is evidence that low CoQ10 levels can compromise the health of gum tissues. Studies have shown that individuals suffering from gingititis tend to have lower than normal levels of CoQ10.
However, experts cannot say if low CoQ10 levels cause gum disease or that having gum disease causes low CoQ10 levels.
Obesity, diabetes, Parkinson's disease, and many others health conditions
We don't believe these (and other) health conditions are signs of CoQ10 deficiency. However, many diseases are associated with lower than normal CoQ10 blood levels.
This is to say that individuals who suffer with these health conditions are likely to have low CoQ10 levels. But it does not mean that these diseases are caused by low CoQ10 levels.
For example, you do not have diabetes because you are deficient in CoQ10. You might be deficient in CoQ10 because you have diabetes. People with diabetes seem to have lower than normal CoQ10 levels.
In these cases, talk to your health care professional and find out if taking a Co10 supplement could benefit you.
Concerned about a CoQ10 deficiency?
A blood test will give you the absolute answer since normal blood level of CoQ10 is well-known from research studies done both in humans and animals.
The simplest way for most reasonably healthy individuals to avoid CoQ10 deficiency is to take a daily supplement.
100 mg daily is suitable for most healthy individual. Higher dose of CoQ10 may be used under supervision in those with health conditions like heart disease.
The article Coenzyme Q10 Dosage Recommendations list dosage ranges used to treat various health problems.
Also, don't forget to see Health Benefits of Coenzyme Q10 for the full unbiased review on this natural substance.
Revised: April 29, 2012