Originally Posted April 2017 / Updated August 2023

Discover the fantastic benefits of Coenzyme Q10 for your overall health, particularly in improving heart health, energy, and antioxidant levels. 

What Is CoQ10?

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is an essential component of the mitochondria, the cellular compartments that produce the power that cells need to divide, move, contract, and perform all their other functions. 

CoQ10 is critical in producing adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the chemical currency of cellular energy that drives all body processes. Moreover, CoQ10 is an essential antioxidant that protects cells against damage.

Who Should Supplement with CoQ10?

Although our bodies can produce CoQ10, we don’t always make enough, so supplementation of CoQ10 is so important. Because the brain and heart are among the most active tissues in the body, CoQ10 deficiency affects these tissues the most and can lead to severe problems with the function of these critical organs.

Several factors can lead to inadequate CoQ10 levels—poor diet, a genetic or acquired defect, aging, or increased tissue needs. For example, most heart and vascular conditions, including high cholesterol and elevated blood pressure, are associated with low CoQ10 levels. In addition, both cholesterol-lowering and blood pressure-lowering drugs are known to lower tissue CoQ10 levels. Low CoQ10 levels are also found in people with inflammation, obesity, and diabetes. And typically, CoQ10 levels decline with age. As a result, many people over 50 may not have enough CoQ10 in their body tissues.

In these situations and more, CoQ10 supplementation makes a lot of sense. In fact, given the central role of CoQ10 in mitochondrial function and cell protection, it is an essential supplement for most people to consider.

9 Health Benefits of CoQ10

CoQ10 has emerged over the last 40 years as a best-selling dietary supplement based on a large body of scientific research highlighting significant health benefits. 

Most of these health benefits of CoQ10 revolve around its ability to improve energy production and act as an antioxidant. Here is just a partial list of body functions or situations where CoQ10 has been shown to exert beneficial effects:

  1. Antioxidant system
  2. Blood sugar control
  3. Brain health
  4. Eye (retinal and macular health)
  5. Fatigue
  6. Fertility (for both men and women)
  7. Heart and vascular health
  8. Immune system support
  9. Periodontal and gum health

Why Is CoQ10 Important for Heart Health?

The most popular use of CoQ10 is in supporting heart health. 

Human clinical trials have extensively documented the benefits of CoQ10 in this application. It is easy to understand why, as whenever cells of the heart are stressed or challenged, it creates an increased demand for CoQ10. Supplementation with CoQ10 in these situations meets this demand and allows the individual cells of the heart muscle to generate more energy and utilize oxygen more efficiently. And as a result, the function of the heart is improved. 

Here are the critical benefits noted in these clinical studies with CoQ10 in improving the function of the heart:

  • Increased use of oxygen by the heart muscle.
  • Increased production of cellular energy production by the heart muscle.
  • Increased exercise capacity in people with impaired heart function.
  • Improved blood pressure control.

CoQ10 is also essential in people taking a “statin” drug to lower cholesterol. The manufacture of cholesterol and CoQ10 flows down the same biochemical pathway. Statins block this pathway upstream of both CoQ10 and cholesterol. This blockage leads to lower levels of both cholesterol and CoQ10. With statin use, CoQ10 levels can drop by as much as 50%. 

Researchers have concluded that lower CoQ10 levels caused by statin drugs might be responsible for some of the side effects reported for statins, such as fatigue and muscle pain. Supplementation with CoQ10 in statin users can improve the tolerability of these drugs. 

Commercial Forms of CoQ10 and Dosage Considerations

Most commercially CoQ10 is primarily produced via a yeast fermentation process. CoQ10 is available in two interchangeable chemical forms in the body – ubiquinone and ubiquinol. These two forms are also available as dietary supplements, but once absorbed, the two forms are interchangeable. About 95% of the CoQ10 in the body is in the ubiquinol form. This form is the most active. However, taking ubiquinone usually results in easy conversion to ubiquinol in the body. So, either form ultimately raises ubiquinol levels in the blood.

Ubiquinone is a crystalline powder insoluble in water and difficult to absorb when given on an empty stomach. However, when taken with food (especially with oils), ubiquinone is absorbed at least two times better than when taken on an empty stomach. 

The ubiquinol form does have better solubility and, as a result, improved bioavailability over ubiquinone. 

The general dosage for ubiquinol is 100 mg daily, while the dosage for ubiquinone is 200 to 300 mg daily. My recommendation is to use the higher dosage levels. Fortunately, there is a lot of existing information from all the published clinical studies that allow appropriate dosage recommendations for either form. Be sure to take CoQ10 with food for maximum absorption.

Side Effects and Drug Interactions

CoQ10 is very safe; dosages up to 1,200 mg/day in adults have not produced side effects. 

In addition to statins, other drugs may lower CoQ10 levels by blocking its manufacture. These include cholesterol-lowering other medicines, beta-blockers, phenothiazines, and tricyclic antidepressants.


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