The Health Benefits of CoQ10

This antioxidant may prevent certain diseases and signs of aging

Senior man clutching at his chest in pain while suffering a heart attack.
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Coenzyme Q10 is a compound found naturally in your body. Known to have antioxidant effects, it is essential for the proper functioning of your cells; one of its main jobs is to aid in the production of energy. Research suggests coenzyme Q10 may help treat or prevent disease ranging from diabetes to migraines to Alzheimer's disease, as well as reverse signs of aging.

Levels of coenzyme Q10 decrease with time, so many turn to its dietary supplement form in hopes of reaping these benefits.

Also Known As

  • CoQ10
  • Ubiquinol

Health Benefits 

Here's a look at some of the science behind the health effects of coenzyme Q10:

Heart Health

Coenzyme Q10 may benefit patients with certain cardiac diseases including atherosclerosis, heart failure, and coronary artery disease, according to a report in Pharmacology & Therapeutics.

The authors note that coenzyme Q10 may treat cardiac ailments in a few different ways. For example, research suggests that coenzyme Q10 may reduce oxidative stress, as well as promote widening of the blood vessels—a key factor in blood pressure control.

In addition, coenzyme Q10 may be beneficial to cardiac cells, which have high energy requirements and are extremely sensitive to coenzyme Q10 deficiency.

Blood Pressure

In a 2016 review published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, scientists pooled data from two previously published clinical trials (with a total of 50 participants) comparing the effects of coenzyme Q10 to those of a placebo in the treatment of high blood pressure.

In their review, the report's authors found some evidence that coenzyme Q10 may not provide blood-pressure-lowering effects, contrary to previous studies’ findings. However, the reviewed studies were too small and unreliable to draw any firm conclusions as to CoQ10's effectiveness in the long-term management of high blood pressure.

Neurodegenerative Disease

Coenzyme Q10 shows promise in the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders, such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease, according to a research review published in Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment.

While few clinical trials have tested the effects of coenzyme Q10 supplementation in people with Parkinson's or Alzheimer's, some preliminary research indicates that the supplement may be helpful to such patients. For example, animal-based research has shown that coenzyme Q10 may inhibit the overproduction of beta-amyloid, a protein fragment that forms the brain plaques associated with Alzheimer's disease.

Diabetes

Coenzyme Q10 may improve diabetic neuropathy and insulin sensitivity in people with diabetes. In a 2018 study, 50 people with diabetic neuropathy were given either 100 milligrams (mg) of CoQ10 a day or a placebo for 12 weeks. Patients taking CoQ10 had significant reductions in blood sugar, markers of oxidative stress, and insulin resistance compared to the control group.

Migraines

Guidelines from the American Academy of Neurology and the American Headache Society say that CoQ10 is possibly effective in preventing migraines, but this conclusion is based on limited evidence.

In one small study published in Neurology, 42 patients with migraines with and without aura received either 100 mg of CoQ10 or a placebo pill three times daily for three months. A little under half of participants who took CoQ10 reported a 50 percent or more decrease in the number of migraine attacks at the end of the study period compared with just 14.4 percent of people with took the placebo.

Statin Side Effects

Some research suggests coenzyme Q10 may help reduce muscle pain and weakness as a side effect of statin use. However, the evidence is inconclusive.

In one small study, 50 patients taking statin medications were given 100 mg of CoQ10 or a placebo for 30 days. Three-quarters of the CoQ10 group reported a reduction in statin-related muscle pain, while the placebo group saw no improvement.

Possible Side Effects

No serious side effects of CoQ10 have been reported. Mild side effects such as insomnia or upset stomach may occur.

Interactions

CoQ10 may interact with blood-thinning medication and blood pressure medication, and may not be compatible with certain cancer medications. Check with your doctor before taking CoQ10.

Dosage and Preparation 

CoQ10 supplements are sold in capsule, soft gel, and liquid forms. There is no recommended daily amount for CoQ10. The typical dose ranges from 90 mg to 200 mg daily, but depends on the condition it is being used to treat.

The following doses have been studied:

  • Diabetes: 200 mg per day
  • Heart disease: 50 mg to 200 mg a day
  • Migraine: 150-300 mg a day
  • Statin muscle pain: 100 mg a day

What to Look For 

When selecting a brand of supplements, look for products that have been certified by ConsumerLab, U.S. Pharmacopeia, or NSF International.

It's important to note that some CoQ10 supplements are formulated to enhance absorption, which will give the effect of a larger dose.

Other Questions 

Can CoQ10 supplements fight aging?

Many anti-aging creams and serums tout the ingredient CoQ10 to help improve fine lines and wrinkles. There is evidence to suggest topical CoQ10 may help fight the visible signs of aging due to a reduction of free radicals and an increase in antioxidant capacity.

Will taking coenzyme Q10 supplements increase fertility?

Some evidence suggests CoQ10 may increase sperm motility and improve the quality of eggs. However, there is insufficient research to support its use as a fertility aid.

Does CoQ10 improve athletic performance?

A handful of small studies have shown CoQ10 may have some benefit for improving athletic performance, increasing power and stamina, and reducing recovery time. However, the research is limited.

A Word From Verywell 

More research is needed before coenzyme Q10 supplements can be recommended for the treatment or prevention of any health condition, including cardiovascular problems. If you're thinking of using coenzyme Q10 to treat a health problem, talk to your doctor before starting your supplement regimen.

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