Innovations in healthcare and skincare have made both the skincare industry and the dietary supplements industry positively rife with products, from powders to creams and toners, all designed to offer substantial differences in an individual's health goals. Many of these items focus on the oxidative damage and free radical damage that occurs during aging, with exposure to internal or environmental toxins, and during illness. Collagen and CoQ10 have been linked to improvements in skin cells, bone and skin health, and even general health (including metabolic health), but can CoQ10 truly increase collagen as many supplement and skincare companies claim? To answer that question, we must first develop an adequate understanding of the precise mechanisms of action and profiles of both CoQ10 and collagen.
What Is CoQ10?
CoQ10 (also known as Coenzyme Q10 or ubiquinone) is an enzyme that can be found in the body, including in healthy skin cells and deep within all cells in the body. Coenzyme Q10 serves multiple purposes within the body; while focus has been placed on its ability to reduce signs of skin aging such as facial wrinkles, CoQ10 is actually a powerful enzyme in the body, with ties to metabolic health and function, skin and muscle health and function, and even the synthesis of other substances and compounds.
CoQ10 can be found in its heaviest concentrations within the mitochondria of the cell, or the "powerhouse" of the cell. So named for its ability to synthesize ATP, or the energy the body uses as its primary fuel source, mitochondria are filled with CoQ10, leading to the link between CoQ10 and energy in the body and improved cellular function and health, from skin cells to muscle cells.
What Is Its Function?
The function of CoQ10 is primarily as an antioxidant, not unlike the properties of green tea extracts and adaptogenic herbs. It helps convert food to energy in the cells and protects the body against free radicals linked to damaged DNA and cellular death. Free radicals have been linked to countless ailments, ranging from the loss of skin elasticity and premature skin aging to the presence of cancer within the body.
Although all of the functions of CoQ10 are not fully understood, ongoing studies have determined that because the antioxidant effects of CoQ10 boost cellular energy, CoQ10 has been identified as an important support component in managing fatigue, reducing the signs of skin aging, sustaining metabolic health and healthy weight, and protecting healthy skin against the dangers of excess sun exposure through the application of topical products and the type of product that lines health store shelves.
What Is Collagen?
Collagen is a protein found within and generated by the body that supports the health and support of connective tissue, skin, bones, muscles, and more. Collagen can be found in most major systems of the body, and has been linked to improvements in general health, including the support of healthy skin and hair, healthy bones and joints, and even the suppleness and elasticity of skin. Collagen can be found in food, dietary supplements, and can even be found in the ingredient list of cosmetic products.
Does CoQ10 Increase Collagen?
Several clinical studies have determined that CoQ10 does boost collagen production during the evaluating weeks of intervention. These clinical trials have determined that CoQ10 does have the potential to spur collagen production within the skin. Including this active ingredient in skincare products can lead to the development of new and perhaps even more substantial anti-aging effects visible in the skin. The skincare-focus clinical studies have focused primarily on topical applications of CoQ10, though there is certainly the option to consume CoQ10 in the form of a powder, capsule, or tablet.
Another study found that liquid supplements that combined collagen and a water-soluble Coenzyme Q10 improved the dermis density, reduced wrinkles such as mouth lines, and improved skin smoothness in comparison to placebo intervention. CoQ10 has long been an essential component in topical skincare regimens in Japan to improve dermis density and appearance, but the introduction of clinical studies evaluating the dietary intake of water-soluble Coenzyme Q10 and collagen and its effect of epidermal cells is relatively new, and determining that ingestion of these components can result in improved skin smoothness can substantially impact skincare regimens and routines.
An additional study looked into the efficacy of coenzyme Q10 to mitigate osteoporosis following spinal cord injury, and determined that CoQ10 has potential as a means to attenuate complications from spinal cord injuries--and osteoporosis, in particular. This suggests that as valuable as CoQ10 might be in skincare, alongside commonly recommended ingredients like hyaluronic acid, it does far more than improve skin smoothness, and can be a valuable item to add to your daily intake of oral supplements.
More studies demonstrate the value of CoQ10 within far more than skin parameters, and have suggested that high levels of plasma-based CoQ10 are able to prevent muscle damage, support and improve kidney function, and improve the performance of athletes in comparison to placebo groups affected by factors in the external environment and internal goings-on. Consequently, CoQ10 has long been a supplement used by athletes of all types, ranging from the amateur bodybuilder to the professional soccer player. Improved skin smoothness, while not an initial target for many, can also come about as a result of supplementation.
What Are the Benefits of Taking CoQ10 and Collagen?
Taking both CoQ10 and collagen concurrently has been suggested to provide several different health benefits for conditions from acute skin diseases to issues of joint and bone health. The most likely health benefits include the following:
- Improved skin health and reduced wrinkles and fine lines. Because CoQ10 can lead to a spike in the production of collagen in the body, periorbital wrinkles, fine lines, and overall skin health can benefit from both the improved elasticity and suppleness provided by collagen and the improvement to skin cells provided by CoQ10.
- Increased skin elasticity and firmness. Just as collagen and CoQ10 can help improve the appearance of periorbital wrinkles, the combination can improve both slight deterioration of the elasticity of skin (its ability to "snap back"), and the firmness of skin (the taut appearance and texture of skin). Increased elasticity and firmness can improve both the feel and appearance of skin.
- Increased joint health. Collagen is primarily connected to improvements in joint health, but CoQ10 can also be implicated in greater joint health because it improves muscle strength and recovery, bone density, and boosts collagen production.
- Improvements to metabolism. Several studies have found that the intake of study products (namely, CoQ10) resulted in significant improvements to blood glucose levels across participants. The type of product was less important than the administration of high levels of CoQ10, as the nutritional supplements utilized in the studies focused less on whether the supplements were delivered via water soluble or oil-based means.
- Reduction in inflammation levels in the body. Inflammation can come from many different directions, ranging from alterations to homeostasis as easily remedied as water loss to more substantial issues, such as cancer and metabolic diseases and disorders. CoQ10 and collagen have both been tied to reduction in inflammation, through different means. Collagen can reduce inflammation by strengthening tissues, while CoQ10 can reduce inflammation by strengthening at the cellular level.
- Cardiovascular disease risk amelioration. While CoQ10 is often seen as a useful tool to reduce the appearance of wrinkles, it can do far more than reduce frown lines or soothe horizontal forehead lines. CoQ10 and collagen can both inhibit the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases.
- Improvements to cognitive function. The assessment of wrinkles is involved in CoQ10 and hydrolyzed collagen supplementation, but improvements in cognition and other age-related challenges are also potential benefits of supplementation. The beneficial effects of these supplements are based partly on the antioxidative effects of CoQ10 and the matrix-supporting effects of collagen. Both can work in tandem over weeks of intake to improve brain function through increasing or improving cellular energy and supporting the health and durability of tissues (including brain tissue).
Potential Side Effects of Taking CoQ10 and Collagen Supplements Together
Although both collagen and CoQ10 have both been identified as largely safe for consumption over many weeks of supplementation, both can carry the possibility of mild side effects from daily supplementation. The most common of these potent antioxidant side effects include the following:
- Headaches and dizziness
- Feelings of fullness
None of these side effects are considered life-threatening, major issues or dangerous, and may take weeks of intervention before presenting with any anatomical landmarks. If any of them do present, dosages may be lowered without removing the beneficial effects, or supplementation can be taken in 12-week intervention rounds, followed by periods of abstaining. The illness and inflammatory inhibitory effects of these components are often enough to recommend the antioxidant properties of CoQ10 and collagen even in the presence of mild side effects.
Recommended Dosage for Taking CoQ10 and Collagen Supplements Together
As is often the case with clinical trials evaluating the antioxidant properties and beneficial effects of nutritional supplements, exact dosing can be difficult to determine, as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is not often involved in dosing recommendations. Nevertheless, compiled studies suggest that CoQ10 can safely and effectively be taken at doses of between 60 and 500 milligrams. Clinical trials evaluating collagen typically suggest taking between 2.5 and 15 grams each day to reap the beneficial effects of collagen. Combining both of these supplements together can offer the greatest improvements to daily lifestyle needs and habits, even in the face of problematic environmental factors, and supplements utilizing both collagen and CoQ10, such as Fine USA's Hyaluron-Collagen complex, can deliver effective doses of both active components in a single product.
Dietary habits alone can help improve human health. From including organ meats in your diet, to making sure your diet includes a wide variety of foods, including different sources of protein, fatty acids, and carbohydrates, there are countless ways to use your diet to improve health.
When diet is not quite enough, however, there have been trial designs utilized to provide the best possible interventions for human health, and among those interventions are CoQ10 and collagen.
From providing improvements to mouth lines and periorbital lines to increasing the ability of muscles to break down and repair, the activity of Coenzyme Q10 and collagen both can offer vast improvements to human health, as demonstrated in clinical trials. With only weeks of intervention, and natural ingredients found in the body, skin conditions, fatigue, and general health conditions may see improvement following the dietary supplementation of this potent antioxidant and protein source.