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Co-enzyme Q10

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Important co-enzyme Q10 facts

Co-enzyme Q10 is a vitamin-like substance which is a vitamin co-factor and which enzymes depend on to enable their correct functioning.

Co-enzyme Q10 is required to release energy inside the cells. These mini power plants provide the energy that runs the body.

Co-enzyme Q10 works in the mitochondria of cells. In a very complex process, co-enzyme Q10 shuttles tiny, electrically charged particles back and forth in the mitochondria among three essential enzymes that are needed to generate energy. Without co-enzyme Q10, the whole process would grind to a halt.

Co-enzyme Q10 is an important antioxidant on the cellular level.

  • Most of the co-enzyme Q10 in the body is contained within the heart
  • Co-enzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is one of the five most widely prescribed supplements in Japan, where it is used as a treatment for heart failure. It is also widely prescribed in Italy, Sweden, Denmark and Canada for the same condition
  • About half the CoQ10 in the body comes from foods eaten; almost all the rest is made in the liver. Many foods have at least some CoQ10 in them, so the average person eats about 3-5mg a day
  • CoQ10 is synthesised from tyrosine (together with several other vitamins and trace minerals)
  • Supplements of CoQ10 should be taken with food to enhance absorption
  • Supplements should be taken in the morning and evening
  • Supplementation may take up to eight weeks (or longer) to take effect
  • CoQ10 supplements are expensive
  • Look for CoQ10 supplements in an oil-base, which will help CoQ10 to be better absorbed as it is a fat-soluble nutrient
  • Common food sources of co-enzyme Q10 are: beef, mackerel, peanuts, sardines, soy, spinach, vegetable oil

Co-enzyme Q10 and health

  • Cardiac help – CoQ10 can be extremely helpful for some types of heart disease. In a number of studies, CoQ10 has been show to be especially useful for people with heart failure. Since the heart muscle has the most mitochondria of any muscle in the body, boosting the CoQ10 levels in people with heart problems has been shown to help their hearts pump harder and better and circulate their blood better. Studies show that heart failure patients who take CoQ10 feel better overall and have to spend less time in the hospital (in recovery)
  • Lowering blood pressure - CoQ10 could help lower blood pressure, especially if it is already high because of a heart problem. CoQ10 helps the heart work better, and when the heart pumps more efficiently, blood pressure goes down. CoQ10 could help lower blood pressure that is high for no particular reason (essential hypertension). Research shows that about half of people with essential hypertension are low on CoQ10. Never stop taking blood pressure medication. Talk to a medical professional about Co Enzyme Q10 supplements
  • Cholesterol - CoQ10 may help keep cholesterol from oxidizing, which in turn keeps cholesterol from blocking arteries
  • Improving Immunity – CoQ10 levels drop when there is serious illness. Taking supplements may help the immune system to produce more infection-fighting antibodies
  • Clearing up gum disease (gingivitis) – many people with gun disease have low CoQ10 levels. Good dental care, along with taking extra CoQ10 could help clear up the problem faster
  • Improved athletic performance – athletic performance can be improved by using CoQ10 because it helps with energy production in the cells. There is some evidence that CoQ10 is a safe, natural way of improving athletic endurance, and the better shape a person is in initially, the better it works, although it still does also help the couch potatoes too
  • Improved energy – taking CoQ10 can help improve overall energy levels. This is good for people who work long hours, the elderly, people recovering from cancer treatments and people with chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Reducing heart attacks - CoQ10 reduces the “stickiness” of platelets (the tiny cells that form blood clots). If platelets are less likely to clump together to form blood clots, a heart attack is less likely. This is a promising new area of research, but it is too soon to recommend CoQ10 as a blood thinner or as a way to prevent heart attacks
  • Diabetes – current research indicates thatCoQ10 could benefit diabetes by helping prevent many complications such as heart disease and may also help keep blood glucose levels down. More research needs to be done in this area before it can be a recommended treatment
  • Treating cancer – some experimental work suggests that CoQ10 in high doses could slow or even stop tumour growth. A lot more research needs to be done before this becomes a useful treatment

People who wish to take an acidophilus supplement should talk to a medical professional BEFORE taking it.

People at risk of co-enzyme Q10 deficiency

  • People taking cholesterol-lowering drugs - these drugs may block production of CoQ10 so supplementation may be require
  • People unable to metabolise and use CQ10 - some people may genetic inability to metabolise and use CoQ10, resulting in deficiency

People at risk of co-enzyme Q10 deficiency

No co-enzyme Q10 deficiency symptoms have been reported in the general population, so it is generally assumed that normal absorption and a varied diet provides sufficient co-enzyme Q10 for healthy individuals.

Co-enzyme Q10 recommened intake

Dosage of co-enzyme Q10 depends on the condition that is being treated. A medical doctor and/or alternative health care provider can advise on individual cases - this information is provided as a guide only:

Lifestage Age Amount (per day)
INFANTS 0-12mths Not recommended
CHILDREN 1-8yrs Not recommended
CHILDREN 9-18yrs
Seek advice before taking it
ADULTS 19-50yrs
General Dosage
50mg twice a day
Heart & Circulatory Disorders
max of 100mg twice a day
SENIORS 51+yrs General Dosage
50mg twice a day
Heart & Circulatory Disorders
max of 100mg twice a day
PREGNANT   Not recommended
LACTATING   Not recommended


Types of co-enzyme Q10 supplements

Co-enzyme Q10 supplementation is available in the following ways:

  • Capsules - are usually freeze-dried, but sometimes aren't
  • Powder - this is freeze-dried and refrigerated

Co-enzyme Q10 supplementation checklist

  • Check expiration date
  • Capsules are a good option for people who want no-fuss, no-mess co-enzyme Q10 supplement, have been prescribed a specific dosage and can take higher dosages without any side effects
  • Powders work best for people who want to control exactly how much co-enzyme Q10they ingest, especially if a lower dosage is preferred, especially initially, to test the supplement for any adverse effects

Co-enzyme Q10 works best with

Overdosage, toxicity and cautions for co-enzyme Q10

Some people have experienced gastrointestinal symptoms when they took a CoQ10 supplement:

  • nausea
  • diarrhoea
  • heartburn
  • abdominal discomfort.

Adverse gastrointestinal effects may be minimized if daily doses higher than 100 mg are divided into two or three daily doses.

Since there are no studies into coenzyme Q10 and pregnant and lactating women, these supplements should be avoided by them.


People taking blood-thinning drug such as Warfarin (Coumadin), should talk to a medical professional BEFORE trying CoQ10.


  • Groff J L, Gropper SS, Hunt SM, Advanced Nutrition and Human Metabolism. West Publishing, USA, 1995
  • Hodgson JM, Watts GF. Playford DA, Burke V, Kroft KD. Coenzyme Q10 improves blood pressure and glycaemic control: a controlled trial in subjects with type 2 diabetes. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2002. 56 (11); 1137-1142
  • Langsjoen, P H. Introduction to Co-Enzyme Q10.
    Accessed 6 January 2007
  • Overvad K, Diamant B, Holm L, Holmer G, Mortensen SA, Stender S. Coenzyme Q10 in health and disease. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 1999. 53 (10); 764-770
  • Sobreira C, et al. Mitochondrial encephalomyopathy with coenzyme Q10 deficiency. Neurology Journal 1997, Vol 48, Issue 5 1238-1243
  • Tanaka J, Tominaga R, Yoshitoshi M, et al. Coenzyme Q10: The prophylactic effect on low cardiac output following cardiac valve replacement. Ann Thorac Surg 1982

Last reviewed 21 April 2019