Coenzyme Q-10

Other name(s):

Co Q-10, Q-10, ubiquinone, ubiquinol

General description

Coenzyme Q-10 is a fat-soluble type of substance called a quinone. It’s similar to vitamins E and K. Research has been ongoing since it was first found 40 years ago. It may have benefits for the heart.

Coenzyme Q-10 is made by cells throughout the body. It acts as a catalyst in the respiratory chain. This chain makes energy from carbohydrates. It’s abundant in cell membranes, especially in the mitochondria.

Coenzyme Q-10 is a powerful antioxidant by itself. It’s also powerful when used with vitamin E.

Levels of coenzyme Q-10 decrease with age. They’re also low in people with heart disease. The amount of coenzyme Q-10 in the body peaks around age 20. It then decreases. Intense exercise also makes coenzyme Q-10 turn over faster. This lowers its levels. 

Organ meats are good sources of coenzyme Q-10. These include the heart, lung, kidney, spleen, liver, pancreas, and adrenals.

Medically valid uses

Coenzyme Q-10 has been studied for its role in heart failure. It’s also been studied to see how it impacts heart disease.

Unsubstantiated claims

There may be benefits that have not yet been proven through research.

Coenzyme Q-10 is claimed to help prevent LDL oxidation. This reduces the risk of atherosclerosis. And the risk of re-perfusion injury after open-heart surgery. It also lowers the risk of liver injury from cholesterol-lowering medicines. These include statins. Coenzyme Q-10 has also been used to boost exercise tolerance and athletic performance. It may also help blood sugar control in people with diabetes. It may also boost the immune system to fight disease when used alone or with vitamin B-6. It may also help increase fat metabolism.

Some claims say that coenzyme Q-10 may also treat periodontal diseases and gingivitis. It may also aid in breast cancer, chronic stable angina, mitral valve prolapse, and heart rate issues. It may also help with high blood pressure (hypertension), Parkinson disease, and muscular dystrophy.

Dosing format

Supplements range from 10 mg to 300 mg. There is no set dose. However, doses of 30 mg to 100 mg per day have been suggested. Higher doses may be used in some cases.

You should take this supplement with a meal that contains fat. This helps your body absorb it better. Coenzyme Q-10 isn’t absorbed well from the gastrointestinal tract.

Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should talk with their healthcare providers before taking any supplements.

Side effects, toxicity, and interactions

Doses of up to 600 mg per day for every kg of body weight do not show toxicity. In some cases, minor side effects can happen. These can include:

  • Burning feeling in your mouth

  • Loss of appetite

  • Nausea

  • Diarrhea

  • Trouble falling or staying asleep (insomnia)

  • Rashes

  • Dizziness

  • Irritability

  • Severe tiredness (fatigue)

  • Heartburn

  • Headache

  • Light sensitivity

  • Stomach pain

If you’re taking certain cholesterol medicines, such as statins, you should take coenzyme Q-10. These medicines block your body from making coenzyme Q-10.

Coenzyme Q-10 might interact with the diabetes medicine insulin, as well as warfarin, a blood thinner. Coenzyme Q-10 supplementation may not be suitable during some types of cancer treatment.

Online Medical Reviewer: Bianca Garilli MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Chris Southard RN
Online Medical Reviewer: Jessica Gotwals RN BSN MPH
Date Last Reviewed: 8/1/2023