Coenzyme Q10, often referred to as CoQ10 (sometimes written as CoQ10; other names include ubiquinone and ubiquinol) is a vitamin-like substance. CoQ10 helps cells make energy and acts as an antioxidant. Meats and seafood contain small amounts of CoQ10. Supplements are marketed as tablets and capsules.
Summary of the research findings
There have been few studies on CoQ10 and type 2 diabetes so far. The evidence is not sufficient to evaluate CoQ10's effectiveness as a CAM therapy in diabetes. CoQ10 has not been shown to affect blood glucose control. In theory, it might have use against heart disease in people with diabetes, but well-designed studies looking at heart disease outcomes are needed to answer this question.
Side effects and other risks
CoQ10 appears to be safe for most of the adult population. However, it may interact with and affect the action of some medicines, including warfarin (a blood thinner) and medicines used for high blood pressure or cancer chemotherapy. Other possible side effects of CoQ10 include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, and heartburn.
- There is limited scientific evidence on the effectiveness of dietary supplements as complementary and alternative medicine (CAM)A group of diverse medical and health care systems, practices, and products that are not presently considered to be part of conventional medicine. Complementary medicine is used together with conventional medicine, and alternative medicine is used in place of conventional medicine. for type 2 diabetes. The evidence that is available is not sufficiently strong to prove that any of the six supplements discussed in this report have benefits for type 2 diabetes or its complications. A possible exception may be the use of omega-3 fatty acidsEssential nutrients that the body cannot make on its own but can obtain from foods such as fish and flaxseed, or from dietary supplements. to lower triglyceridea levels.
- It is very important not to replace conventional medical therapy for diabetes with an unproven CAM therapy.
- To ensure a safe and coordinated course of care, people should inform their health care providers about any CAM therapy that they are currently using or considering.
- The dietary supplements reviewed in this section appear to be generally safe at low-to-moderate doses. However, each can interact with various prescription medications, affecting the action of the medications. People with type 2 diabetes need to know about these risks and discuss them with their health care provider. Prescribed medicines may need to be adjusted if a person is also using a CAM therapy.
National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Research Report: Treating Type 2 Diabetes with Dietary Supplements (PDF). (Accessed 5/7/08.)
Reviewed by Susan Weiner, R.D., M.S., C.D.E., C.D.N. 10/08
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Readers ask me all the time [lie] about the diabetes supplies we use for Charlie. I can’t tell you how many times  I’ve been stopped on the street [more lies] by a loyal blog reader wanting to know what blood glucose meter we use or what brand of finger pricker we employ. To calm the masses [not], I’ve decided the time is right to share our secret sauce; to reveal the tools of our trade. Today we take a look at … The Finger Pricker ...