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CoQ10 vs. Fish Oil: Health Benefits and Uses Compared

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 02/06/2024

CoQ10 vs. fish oil—what are their health benefits and uses, and which is better? 

While CoQ10 is a naturally occurring antioxidant that protects cells from oxidative damage, fish oil is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids with potent anti-inflammatory properties.

Discover how CoQ10 and fish oil help maintain cellular function and promote cardiovascular health, and learn if combining these two dietary supplements is safe.   

Two types of supplements on a spoon

What is CoQ10

Coenzyme Q10, also known as CoQ10, is a vitamin-like compound found in almost every cell in the human body that plays a critical role in energy production. 

Although the body can produce CoQ10, levels steadily decline with age, and certain prescription medications, such as statin drugs, can deplete CoQ10 and cause deficiency.

Lack of adequate CoQ10 concentrations can impair various critical cellular and bodily functions and is associated with muscle aches, poor immune defenses, and an increased risk of heart disease. 

Benefits of CoQ10

CoQ10 is a powerful antioxidant that helps neutralize free radicals, which are unstable metabolic by-products that can cause damage to cellular components, including DNA, proteins, and mitochondria.

CoQ10 is crucial for maintaining cellular health and energy production and has been linked to various health advantages, such as supporting brain and heart health and lowering the risk of heart attacks. 

Although all cells require CoQ10, tissues with increased energy needs, such as the heart, brain, and muscles, have some of the highest concentrations of this crucial antioxidant.

“Because of its potent antioxidant properties, CoQ10 helps reduce oxidative stress and protects cells from inflammation and damage,” says Dr. Berg. “This explains why CoQ10 is one of the most essential nutrients to promote heart, muscle, and brain function.”  

A study published in Frontiers in Physiology found that CoQ10 is critical in maintaining energy-making processes in vital organs and promotes overall health by preventing or delaying age-related loss of cellular metabolic functions.

In addition, maintaining optimal CoQ10 levels may lower the risk of DNA damage and cancer, has been found beneficial for managing migraines, and can boost exercise performance.  

Pills forming Q10

Downsides

While CoQ10 is generally well tolerated and considered safe for most people, sensitive individuals can experience gastrointestinal issues when taking dietary supplements containing CoQ10. 

CoQ10 can interact with blood-thinning drugs and certain medications used to lower blood pressure, and it’s crucial to discuss the use of CoQ10 supplements with a healthcare professional to minimize the risk of adverse effects. 

Dosage

Evidence published in Molecular Nutrition and Food Research suggests that a daily CoQ10 intake of between 300 and 400 milligrams has anti-inflammatory effects, promotes heart function, and supports brain health. 

Most CoQ10 supplements are available in the form of ubiquinone or ubiquinol. While ubiquinone has a longer shelf-life, ubiquinol is significantly more bioavailable and up to eight times better absorbed than ubiquinone. 

Watch the video below to discover the importance of CoQ10 for health and well-being. 

What is CoQ10? Dr. Berg Shares Coenzyme CoQ10 Benefits

What is CoQ10? Dr. Berg Shares Coenzyme CoQ10 Benefits

What is fish oil

Fish oil is derived from the flesh of fatty fish species such as sardines, mackerels, salmon, and herring. 

Fish oils are exceptional sources of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), two essential omega-3 fatty acids with potent anti-inflammatory properties. 

Research consistently confirms the impressive health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids, and fish oil has become one of the most popular dietary supplements.    

Benefits of fish oil

Fish oil has been found beneficial for reducing inflammation, supporting heart health, and lowering blood pressure, and adequate omega-3 fat intake is associated with a lower risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and cognitive decline. 

EPA and DHA play a crucial role in maintaining the membrane fluidity of blood cells, promoting healthy blood flow, and preventing blood clot formation, which is linked to a significantly lower risk of stroke or heart attack.  

Omega-3 fatty acids have profound benefits for brain health, and evidence published in Nature suggests that EPA promotes the production of serotonin, a crucial neurotransmitter that regulates moods, sleep, and cognition.  

The body can convert EPA and DHA into anti-inflammatory compounds, which explains why fish oil intake can help reduce chronic inflammation.

A study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found that omega-3 fatty acids should be considered a therapeutic tool for various inflammatory health issues.

EPA and DHA have been found beneficial for several serious health conditions, including: 

Capsules in fish shape

Downsides of fish oil

While taking fish oil is generally considered safe, it’s important to be aware of potential downsides. 

Some individuals, especially those suffering from acid reflux, can experience a fishy aftertaste or bad breath when taking fish oil supplements. Combining fish oils with food can help minimize these issues.

Fish oil supplements aren’t recommended for people taking blood-thinning medication and those with blood clotting disorders. 

DHA and EPA are natural blood thinners and can augment the effects of anticoagulant drugs such as warfarin, thereby increasing the risk of excessive bleeding.  

Dosage

Taking between 1 and 2 grams of fish oil daily has been found to promote cognitive functions, lower the risk of chronic inflammation, and support cardiovascular health.

Significantly higher doses of up to four grams have been found to be safe and may be necessary to lower the risk of heart disease in individuals with existing cardiovascular risk factors such as high triglycerides, elevated blood pressure, and atrial fibrillation.   

Woman comparing two supplements

CoQ10 vs. fish oil: which is better?

CoQ10 helps maintain cellular energy production and offers antioxidant properties that protect cells from the harmful effects of free radicals and oxidative stress.  

In contrast, fish oil contains potent anti-inflammatory fatty acids that promote heart health and support cognitive functions. 

Both supplements offer distinct advantages, especially if combined with a healthy diet, and individuals at risk of heart disease or those with chronic inflammatory health conditions may benefit most from taking fish oil. 

However, CoQ10 supplements can be an excellent choice to promote energy production, boost the body’s antioxidant capacities, and support overall cellular health.  

Research published in the American Journal of Cardiology recommends CoQ10 supplementation for individuals taking statin drugs and older adults due to their increased risk of CoQ10 deficiency. 

Supplements in question mark shape

Can you take CoQ10 and fish oil together?

Taking CoQ10 and fish oil together is not only safe but can maximize their health benefits. 

Both CoQ10 and fish oils impact different physiological functions, and combining their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects promotes cellular health and immune defenses, supports cardiovascular function, and helps lower the risk of cancer, heart disease, and neurodegenerative disorders.    

However, it’s important to discuss using fish oil and CoQ10 with a healthcare provider if you have preexisting health conditions or are taking prescription medication to minimize the risk of side effects.

Woman taking supplements

Key takeaways

CoQ10 vs. fish oil—what are their health benefits, and which is better? 

CoQ10 is a powerful antioxidant that promotes cellular health and energy production, and fish oil has potent anti-inflammatory properties that support heart health and cognitive functions. 

Combining CoQ10 and fish oil can maximize their health benefits and may reduce the risk of serious health issues, including heart disease, age-related cognitive decline, mood disorders, and certain types of cancer.  


FAQ

1. Which one is better: CoQ10 or fish oil?

Whether CoQ10 or fish oil is better depends on your health needs and wellness goals. 

While CoQ10 can promote cellular energy production and help protect against oxidative stress, fish oils can reduce inflammation, promote healthy blood pressure, and lower the risk of heart disease. 

2. Can I take fish oil and CoQ10 together?

Not only is it safe to take fish oil and CoQ10 together, but combining these two supplements can have profound health benefits.

CoQ10 maintains energy production and protects cells from oxidative damage, and fish oil supplementation can promote vascular health, help regulate blood pressure, and lower the risk of depression and neurodegenerative disorders.     

3. Is fish oil good for your heart?

Yes, fish oil has heart-health-promoting properties due to its high content of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease by promoting balanced blood lipid levels, reducing inflammation, and improving vascular health.

4. What is fish oil good for?

Fish oil has impressive benefits for heart health, can help manage depression and other mood disorders, promotes brain health, and lowers the risk of inflammatory health conditions such as Crohn’s disease, psoriasis, and multiple sclerosis. 

5. What is CoQ10 good for?

CoQ10 is a powerful antioxidant that helps prevent free radical damage, which plays a crucial role in maintaining normal cellular function and energy production.  

In addition, CoQ10 protects DNA from oxidative stress, which may lower the risk of certain cancers and promotes cellular longevity.

 

6. Who should not take CoQ10?

Individuals with blood clotting disorders and those taking blood-thinning medications should avoid CoQ10 due to its blood-thinning properties that can increase the risk of excessive bleeding. 

7. How much fish oil should you take each day?

General intake recommendations suggest between 1 and 2 grams of fish oil daily. 

However, individuals with elevated triglycerides, high blood pressure, or other cardiovascular risk factors may benefit from higher fish oil doses of up to four grams, which have been found safe and not linked to adverse health effects.  


Sources

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5807419/ 

  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/37118903/ 

  3. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41398-019-0515-5 

  4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12480795/ 

  5. https://www.ajconline.org/article/S0002-9149(07)00255-X/ 

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