You may have heard claims that the supplement coenzyme Q10 can lower blood pressure, boost the immune system and improve certain heart diseases. There are also claims it can help fight cancer, Parkinson's disease, wrinkles, diabetes, gum diseases and many other problems.

It appears that taking a coenzyme Q10 supplement should be beneficial. Coenzyme Q10 is a vitamin-like compound found in the energy-producing center of each cell in the body. It plays a vital role in producing energy in cells. It's also an antioxidant, a natural compound thought to protect against disease. And, concentrations of coenzyme Q10 decline with age and are low in people with diseases such as heart disease, Parkinson's disease, cancer and diabetes.

But according to the November issue of Mayo Clinic Health Letter, scientific evidence doesn't support most of the health claims. So far, it's not known if low coenzyme Q10 levels cause disease or if taking supplements can prevent or treat disease. Of the many coenzyme Q10 studies, most have been small. Many have not been "controlled," where some participants take a placebo.

However, some coenzyme Q10 studies appear to have scientific merit. There has been some evidence of benefit for people with Parkinson's disease, migraine and high blood pressure, but more studies are needed. So far, there's not enough evidence to make medical recommendations.

Talk with your doctor about the pros and cons before taking coenzyme Q10 to help treat a disease. The role for this supplement in any therapy is supportive at best. It's not a substitute for proper medical care.

Mayo Clinic
200 First St. SW
Rochester, MN 55902
United States