CoQ10 may help support the skin, brain, and lungs, as well as protect against chronic diseases like cancer or diabetes. More research is needed to understand its benefits, however.
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a compound that helps generate energy in your cells. With age, your body produces less of it, but you can also get it from supplements or food.
Low levels of CoQ10 may be associated with diseases like cancer, diabetes, as well as neurodegenerative disorders. That said, the cause-effect relationship is unclear.
Here’s what you need to know about its 9 potential benefits and safety information.
CoQ10 is naturally found in the body, with the highest levels in the heart, liver, kidney, and pancreas. It helps generate energy in cells by making the antioxidant adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is involved in cell energy transfer, and serves as an antioxidant to protect cells against oxidative stress.
Ubiquinol is the reduced form of CoQ10, while ubiquinone is the oxidized form. The body is able to convert back and forth between these two forms. Both variations exist in the body, but ubiquinol is the form that is found the most in blood circulation.
What does CoQ10 do for the body?
Oxidative stress can interfere with regular cell functioning and may contribute to many health conditions. Therefore, it is not surprising that some chronic diseases have also been associated with low levels of CoQ10.
CoQ10 production decreases as you age. Thus, older people can be deficient in this compound.
Some other possible causes of low CoQ10 levels include:
- genetic defects in CoQ10 synthesis or utilization
- increased demands by tissues as a consequence of disease
- mitochondrial diseases
- oxidative stress due to aging
- side effects of statin treatments
CoQ10 is a substance found throughout the body that acts as an antioxidant and is involved in energy production. Low levels of CoQ10 may be associated with older age, certain medications, genetic defects, nutritional deficiencies, and specific health conditions.
CoQ10 could also assist with restoring optimal levels of energy production, reducing oxidative damage, and improving heart function, all of which can aid the treatment of heart failure.
CoQ10 may help decrease oxidative stress and enhance heart function, which could be beneficial for improving treatment outcomes in people with heart failure.
Female fertility decreases with age due to a decline in the number and quality of available eggs.
CoQ10 is directly involved in this process. As you age, CoQ10 production slows, making the body less effective at protecting the eggs from oxidative damage.
Supplementing with CoQ10 seems to help and
Similarly, male sperm is susceptible to oxidative damage, which may result in reduced sperm count, poor sperm quality, and infertility.
CoQ10 may help prevent oxidative damage, which could help promote both female and male fertility.
Harmful elements like cellular damage or a hormonal imbalance can lead to reduced skin moisture and protection from environmental aggressors, as well as the thinning of the layers of the skin.
When applied topically, CoQ10 may protect against damage to the skin, which may help support healthy skin aging.
Abnormal mitochondrial function can result in low energy in the brain cells and may contribute to migraine.
Since CoQ10 lives mainly in the mitochondria of the cells, it
Research shows that CoQ10 supplementation may be effective at reducing the frequency, duration, and severity of migraine headaches.
Abnormal mitochondrial function can reduce muscle energy, making it hard for muscles to contract efficiently and sustain exercise.
Moreover, supplementing with CoQ10
CoQ10 may help improve exercise performance by supporting mitochondrial function, decreasing oxidative stress, and reducing fatigue.
Oxidative stress can induce cell damage. This can result in metabolic diseases like diabetes, as well as insulin resistance.
Not only that, but it also may have reduced markers of oxidative stress and harmful compounds, such as advanced glycation end products, compared to a placebo.
CoQ10 could help promote blood sugar control and prevent insulin resistance. It may also decrease oxidative stress and certain risk factors for heart disease in people with diabetes.
That said, the
CoQ10 could reduce oxidative stress, which may be involved in cancer development. Though more research is needed, some studies also show that low levels of CoQ10 could be linked to an increased risk of certain types of cancer.
Mitochondrial function tends to decrease with age, which can lead to the death of brain cells and contribute to conditions like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
Unfortunately, the brain is very
This oxidative stress enhances the production of
CoQ10 may reduce these harmful compounds, possibly slowing the progression of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, according to some animal studies in
However, more research on humans is needed.
CoQ10 can protect against oxidative damage in the brain, which could potentially protect against cognitive decline. However, more studies in humans are needed.
Increased oxidative damage in the lungs and poor antioxidant protection, including low levels of CoQ10, can result in lung diseases, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma.
CoQ10 could reduce oxidative damage in the lungs, which may benefit respiratory conditions like asthma or COPD.
CoQ10 comes in two different forms — ubiquinol and ubiquinone.
CoQ10 supplements are available in various doses, ranging from
Because CoQ10 is a fat-soluble compound, its absorption is slow and limited. However, taking CoQ10 supplements with food can help your body absorb it better than taking it without food. Also, soft-gel capsules have been confirmed to absorb more efficiently than other forms of CoQ10.
Additionally, some products offer a solubilized form of CoQ10, or a combination of CoQ10 and oils, to improve its absorption.
CoQ10 is well-tolerated and is not associated with any serious side effects. Doses can range from 100–3,000 mg per day, though it’s best to use only as directed.
While you can easily consume CoQ10 as a supplement, it can also be found in some foods.
The following foods
- Organ meats: heart, liver, and kidney
- Some muscle meats: pork, beef, and chicken
- Fatty fish: trout, herring, mackerel, and sardines
- Legumes: soybeans, lentils, and peanuts
- Nuts and seeds: sesame seeds and pistachios
- Oils: soybean and canola oil
In addition to the foods listed above, some types of fruits, vegetables, dairy products, and cereals also contain CoQ10, though in much lower amounts.
CoQ10 is found in many food sources, including meat, fish, poultry, legumes, nuts, seeds, and oils.
Supplementing with CoQ10 appears to be well tolerated by humans, even when used in
You may experience some insomnia or indigestion, and you should not take it if you are also taking blood thinning medications like Warfarin (Jantoven) and certain cancer medications.
Who shouldn’t take CoQ10?
CoQ10 may reduce the effectiveness of warfarin (Jantoven), as well as interact with some blood pressure and cancer medications.
It’s a good idea to speak to your doctor before trying CoQ10 and make sure they are informed about any medications or other supplements you are taking.
CoQ10 is a fat-soluble, vitamin-like compound that seems to have some health benefits.
In particular, research suggests that it may help improve heart health and blood sugar regulation, protect against certain types of cancer, and reduce the frequency of migraine.
It may also reduce oxidative damage that leads to muscle fatigue, skin damage, and brain and lung diseases. However, more research is necessary to determine whether CoQ10 can help in these areas.
CoQ10 can be found as a supplement that seems well tolerated, but you should ask your doctor before trying it. You can also increase your intake through various food sources, including organ and muscle meats, oils, nuts, seeds, and legumes.