The Comprehensive Guide to Coenzyme Q10 for Overall Health
The Comprehensive Guide to Coenzyme Q10 for Overall Health
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) might be one of the most critical compounds lacking in your diet and body. CoQ10 is a fat-soluble molecule and antioxidant found in plants, animals, bacteria, and people. It acts as an electron carrier in the mitochondria and plays a critical role in producing adenosine?5'?triphosphate (ATP), a molecule used to carry energy in cells. [1][2]

CoQ10 is naturally produced in all tissues of the human body but can also be consumed via food or supplement sources. The human heart, liver, kidneys, and pancreas have the highest concentrations of coenzyme Q10. [3]

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CoQ10 blood levels decline as you age, if you smoke, and if you take specific pharmaceuticals like statins. [2][3] Low coenzyme Q10 blood levels are correlated with a number of cardiovascular diseases and mitochondrial disorders. Adequate CoQ10 blood levels can enhance blood flow, protect blood vessels, reduce plaque buildup in the arteries, and decrease the likelihood of developing specific diseases and disorders. [4]

This article discusses recommended dosage, use, types, benefits, and frequently asked questions around coenzyme Q10.

Coenzyme Q10 Recommended Dosages & Use

Coenzyme Q10While this compound is found in small amounts in food, supplementation is the most efficient and cost-effective way to consume this CoQ10. It has been used a dietary supplement for over 25 years. [5] The recommended daily dosage range is 90 to 200mg taken with a meal to improve CoQ10's absorption. [4]

As a reference point the highest the food with the highest concentration of CoQ10 is fried beef, which contains only 2.6mg per 3 ounces. [6] The U.S. National Library of Medicine recommends the follow dosages based on the purpose for supplementation: [2]
  • 150mg once daily to raise CoQ10 blood levels for those with a deficiency
  • 150-160mg or 2mg/kg once daily for those with mitochondrial disorders
  • 120-200mg split over two daily doses for those with high blood pressure
  • 120mg split over two daily doses for those looking to reduce the likelihood of first-time or repeat cardiac events
There is no need to cycle off this compound as it's naturally found and produced in the body. While you may not notice acute effects from coenzyme Q10, chronic consumption of this compound offers a number of health benefits which will be discussed later in the article.

Coenzyme Q10 Forms - Ubiquinone vs. Ubiquinol

There are two forms of CoQ10 – ubiquinone and ubiquinol. The former is oxidized whereas the latter is an electron-rich reduced form of CoQ10. [4] Both forms can coexist in a food but do not appear to exhibit a linear or inverse relationship with each other.

From food sources ubiquinol level tends to be highest in animal organ meats (e.g. liver), yellowtail, and pork shoulder whereas ubiquinone is highest in beef shoulder, pork shoulder, and pork thigh. [7] Both forms can effectively raise CoQ10 blood levels but one 4-week study suggests that ubiquinol is more readily absorbed by the body than ubiquinone. [8]

The recommended dosage does not change based on which form of CoQ10 you decide to consume and/or supplement.

Coenzyme Q10

A Deeper Look at Coenzyme Q10 Benefits

CoQ10 is a compound with potent antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, cardioprotective, neuroprotective, and anti-apoptotic (cell death) properties beneficial in both clinical settings and everyday life. In a clinical setting it's used to improve heart function in patients with a history of heart failure, treat heart and blood vessel conditions like chest pain, high blood pressure, and cancer-drug induced heart problems. [2][3]

One study suggests a correlation between coenzyme Q10 and heart failure; low CoQ10 blood levels increase the severity of heart failure. [1] For those with previous cardiac events increasing CoQ10 blood levels to >3.5mcg/ml increases the impact and rate of clinical improvement and recovery. [9]

Coenzyme Q10 is an excellent non-statin compound for lowering blood pressure. A meta-analysis of 8 studies found that in all 8 studies systolic and diastolic blood pressure was lowered by an average of 16 and 10 mm Hg, respectively. [10] Double digit decreases in blood pressure could be the different between life and death.

A study of 109 patients with hypertension diagnosed 1 to 9 years prior to the study were given an average daily dose of 225mg of CoQ10 per day with the goal of raising CoQ10 blood levels above 2.0mcg/ml. At the end of the study the average CoQ10 blood level was 3.02mcg/ml, the average New York Heart Association (NYHA) functional class decreased from 2.4 to 1.36 (where 3 indicates marked limitation of physical activity and 1 indicates no limitation), and 51% of patients eliminated 1 to 3 of their antihypertensive drugs within just 4 months of supplementing CoQ10. [11][12]

CoQ10 is a must-have in your supplement regimen if you're looking to protect and maintain your heart and general cardiovascular health.

A meta-analysis of 11 studies found that in 6 studies CoQ10 supplementation moderately improved exercise capacity in both healthy and non-healthy individuals. [10] Patients with respiratory conditions like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) have below-normal CoQ10 blood levels; raising these levels improves exercise performance and suppresses lactate acid production during bouts of anaerobic activity (e.g. sprinting and weightlifting). [13] These findings support coenzyme Q10 beneficial effects during both at-rest and intra-workout states.

From the neuroprotective standpoint CoQ10 can increase brain mitochondrial concentrations which may protect or slow the development of disorders like Parkinson's. [14][15] More specifically CoQ10 can significantly reduce the symptoms of mitochondrial disorders as quickly as six months after starting a supplementation regimen. [2]  This compound is also used to treat both chemically-induced and metabolic-stress-induced liver damage. [1]

An example of chemically-induced liver damage is (un)intentional excessive acetaminophen consumption. CoQ10 may also decrease muscle weakness experienced by those taking cholesterol-lowering statins as well as improve semen quality and sperm count in infertile men.3 Overall CoQ10 appears to be one of the most beneficial compounds for those looking to maximize longevity, protect the heart, and prevent neurodegeneration.

Coenzyme Q10 FAQs

Where can I find CoQ10 today?
You can find CoQ10 as a stand-alone ingredient or as part of a blend in multivitamins and general health supplements. Products that contain CoQ10 include:
Does CoQ10 have any side effects?
Data from preclinical and clinical studies show that CoQ10 is extremely safe and has no serious side effects. [3] The safety level without observed adverse effects is 12mg/kg/day in humans. [5]

Some individuals supplementing with CoQ10 may experience lowered blood pressure, allergic rashes, or stomach upset.2 As with all supplements you should start with the minimum recommended dosage and adjust up or down based on your body's response. Some users decrease or eliminate side effects by spreading their daily dosage across two or three doses throughout the day.
Is CoQ10 safe to stack with other supplements?
CoQ10 is safe to stack with most supplements. Exercise caution when stacking this compound with other supplements that decrease blood pressure (e.g. casein peptides, cat's claw, fish oil, L-arginine, & L-Theanine). [2]

If you feel faint or lightheaded then discontinue CoQ10 supplementation immediately. CoQ10 make also may warfarin, a blood thinner/anticoagulant less effective. [3] It's important to consult your physician before using CoQ10 if you have low blood pressure or are using blood thinners. CoQ10 supplementation may increase blood levels of beta-carotene, vitamin A, C, & E. [2]

If you're struggling to consume enough of these nutrients then CoQ10 may be what you need to absorb as much as possible. Stack CoQ10 with Acacia gum to improve CoQ10 absorption. [2] Acacia gum is an excellent addition for those looking to increase their CoQ10 blood levels as quickly as possible.
1) Madmani ME, Yusuf Solaiman A, Tamr Agha K, Madmani Y, Shahrour Y, Essali A, Kadro W. Coenzyme Q10 for heart failure. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2014, Issue 6. Art. No.: CD008684. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD008684.pub2. 2) "Coenzyme Q-10." MedlinePlus. National Library of Medicine - National Institutes of Health, 14 Feb. 2015. 3) "Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10): In Depth." National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. National Institutes of Health, Mar. 2015. 4) Frank, Kurtis, et al. "Coenzyme Q10." N.p., 2016. 5) Hidaka, T., et al. "Safety Assessment of Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)." Biofactors. National Center for Biotechnology Information, 2008. 6) Higdon, Jane, et al. "Coenzyme Q10." Linus Pauling Institute Micronutrient Information Center. Oregon State University, Mar. 2012. 7) Kubo, Hiroshi, et al. "Food Content of Ubiquinol-10 and Ubiquinone-10 in the Japanese Diet." Journal of Food Composition and Analysis, May 2008. 8) Hosoe, Kazunori, et al. "Study on Safety and Bioavailability of Ubiquinol (Kaneka QH™) After Single and 4-week Multiple Oral Administration to Healthy Volunteers." ScienceDirect. Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology, Feb. 2007. 9) Langsjoen, P. H., and A. M. Langsjoen. "Overview of the Use of CoQ10 in Cardiovascular Disease." Biofactors. National Center for Biotechnology Information, 1999. 10) Rosenfeldt, E., et al. "Systematic Review of Effect of Coenzyme Q10 in Physical Exercise, Hypertension and Heart Failure." Biofactors. National Center for Biotechnology Information, 2003. 11) Langsjoen, P., et al. "Treatment of Essential Hypertension with Coenzyme Q10." National Center for Biotechnology Information. Mol Aspects Med., 1994. 12) "Classes of Heart Failure." American Heart Association. N.p., 6 Apr. 2015. Web. 12 Jan. 2016. 13) Fujimoto, K., et al. "Effects of Coenzyme Q10 Administration on Pulmonary Function and Exercise Performance in Patients with Chronic Lung Diseases." National Center for Biotechnology Information. Clin Investig, 1993. 14) Ashkani Esfahani, Soheil et al. "The Effect of Co-Enzyme Q10 on Acute Liver Damage in Rats, a Biochemical and Pathological Study." Hepatitis Monthly 13.8 (2013): e13685. PMC. Web. 15) Bonakdar, R. A., and E. Guarneri. "Coenzyme Q10." National Center for Biotechnology Information. Am Fam Physician, Sept. 2005.