CoQ10 vs. Omega-3

Intro
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Maintain the best possible quality of life. (Photo: Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Marc)

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) and omega-3 are key nutrients for sound health. Our own bodies produce CoQ10, while omega-3 is found in foods that many of us consume. But what is the value of taking a supplement of either nutrient, in addition to what we already have? The best approach is to include the right foods in our diet, but to use supplements if there is a deficiency.

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Significance

If you're concerned about the health of your heart or brain, you're not alone. Most people are, especially as we begin to age. However, if you have health problems like high blood pressure, congestive heart failure, stroke, or even Parkinson's Disease, consider the benefits of including foods containing CoQ10 and omega-3. Both of these nutrients are important for maintaining good health.

Exercise and proper nutrition strengthen your heart. (Photo: Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Duncan Rawlinson)

Types--Coenzyme Q10

CoQ10 energizes cells and helps to prevent oxidative damage from free radicals in low-density lipoprotein (LDL). In essence, CoQ10 is important for proper function of the cells in our bodies and also acts as a scavenger for damaging free radicals. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, these protective and supportive activities of CoQ10 are especially beneficial for heart function and the prevention of some illnesses (see reference 1).

Consume marine sources of omega-3 twice per week. (Photo: Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of woodley wonderworks)

Types--Omega-3

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for human nutrition. Our bodies cannot produce these fatty acids, so we must consume them through our diet. Integral to the proper functioning of cell membranes, omega-3 fatty acids help to regulate hormone and cell receptor functions. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, these protective and supportive activities of omega-3 benefit the cardiovascular and nervous systems.

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Effects

The Harvard School of Public Health suggests that omega-3 fatty acids support a normal heart rhythm and help prevent the likelihood of death from a cardiac event, like heart failure (see reference 1). There's also some preliminary evidence that CoQ10 may decrease inflammatory damage to the brain and lower blood pressure (see reference 2).

Nuts contain healthy, polyunsaturated fats. (Photo: Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Steffen Zahn)

Theories/Speculation

Some patients with low levels of CoQ10 might need a supplement. However, it's not clear whether the supplements actually help to change any existing medical conditions. As a preventative measure, the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends consuming monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats as part of a heart-healthy diet. Omega-3 fatty acids help to lower LDL (low-density lipoprotein), which is the harmful component of your cholesterol.

Meats and some fish contain CoQ10. (Photo: Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of woodley wonderworks)

Warning

The NIH suggests that while both CoQ10 and omega-3 supplements have shown potential for heart and brain benefits, patients should be cautioned about relying on them to treat or cure any illness (see reference 2). On the other hand, both the NIH and AHA recommend eating a diet rich with foods that contain omega-3 and CoQ10 to maintain good heart and brain health.

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