Research surrounding the benefits of CoQ10

“Functioning on low levels of Coenzyme Q10 would be similar to running a car on low-octane fuel. The energy available to drive the car would be inadequate, and would result in misfiring pistons and sluggish, undependable performance”, a quotation taken from Stephen Sinatra’s book ‘The Sinatra Solution’ on the importance of Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) for the optimal functioning of the human body.

Indeed, there are believed to be in excess of 30,000 citations on the internet alone attesting the benefits of CoQ10 in supporting a wide variety of diseases. In this week’s blog, we look at these benefits, the role that CoQ10 plays at cellular level and some of the research and factors that can often lead to an increased need.

What is CoQ10?

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a fat soluble compound synthesised in all the tissues in the body; and this endogenous synthesis is the main source in humans. Its synthesis involves a complex process requiring the amino acid tyrosine and a number of vitamin and trace mineral cofactors. Inadequate tyrosine or cofactors impairs endogenous formation. In addition, levels naturally decline with age and statin medications deplete levels.

The functions of CoQ10 in the body

All chemical reactions within the body require substances known as enzymes. These enzymes act as catalysts for the biochemical reactions. Enzymes are protein molecules that usually require a mineral cofactor (e.g. magnesium or zinc) and a non-protein organic chemical, called a coenzyme. Examples of coenzymes are B vitamins (eg B6, B12, folate) and CoQ10.

Energy production:

CoQ10 functions as a coenzyme in the energy producing mitochondrial pathways, specifically in the electron transport chain where it is involved in electron transfer. Every cell in the human body must produce its own energy in order to carry out its specific functions. Cells produce most of their energy in the mitochondria by metabolising carbohydrates and fats in a process referred to as ‘aerobic respiration’ and over 90% of the oxygen we breathe in is used for this process. CoQ10 has a specific role in the mitochondria acting as a mobile messenger between the various enzymes involved in the ‘electron transport chain’. Each pair of electrons that is processed by the chain must first interact with CoQ10 and there is no substitute for CoQ10 in this chemical reaction. Therefore optimal electron transport to generate energy (i.e. ATP molecules) depends on there being optimal levels of CoQ10 in the mitochondrial membrane.

Thus CoQ10 is an integral part of energy metabolism inside our cells. It has been shown to increase the level of energy in muscles and is especially important for cardiac function.

Antioxidant protection:

CoQ10 has antioxidant activity inhibiting lipid peroxidation by free radicals in both cell membranes and low density lipoproteins (LDL) as well as protecting DNA and proteins from oxidative damage. It also regenerates other antioxidants such as vitamin E.

Free radicals are unstable, highly reactive molecules with an odd, unpaired electron, for example, reactive oxygen species (ROS). Most ROS are generated as by-products during mitochondrial electron transport. Environmental factors such as pollution, radiation, cigarette smoke and herbicides can also generate free radicals. Free radicals react very quickly with other compounds trying to capture the needed electron to gain stability.

Generally, free radicals attack the nearest stable molecule “stealing” its electron. When the “attacked” molecule loses its electron, it becomes a free radical itself, beginning a cascade chain reaction which can result in the disruption of the cell. The body uses ‘antioxidants’ to stop this cascade and quench free radicals. Free radicals also perform important functions, for example related to immunity, but if there is an excess then they can damage the mitochondrial membrane, mitochondrial DNA, and the outer membranes of cells.

The antioxidant nature of CoQ10 derives from its energy carrier function. As an energy carrier, the CoQ10 molecule continuously goes through an oxidation–reduction cycle. Becoming reduced as it accepts electrons and becoming oxidised as it gives them up. In its reduced form, it can give up one or both electrons quite easily and, thus, act as an antioxidant.

It also has a role in gene expression and has been shown to decrease hepatic expression of inflammatory cytokines. A 2017 meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials (RCTs) concluded that supplementation with CoQ10 significantly reduces CRP, IL-6 and TNF-α.

Free radicals and inflammation contribute to the aging process, as well as a number of health problems, including cardiovascular disease and cancer.

Heart health

Much of the research on CoQ10 and its supplementation relates to cardiovascular health and its role in energy production and antioxidant protection.

Mitochondrial dysfunction has long been linked to cardiovascular health and CoQ10 is found at high levels in cardiac cells. Patients with heart failure have lower plasma levels of CoQ10 and levels of CoQ10 are an independent predictor of mortality. Supplementation has been shown to improve measures related to heart failure including stroke volume, cardiac output and others. In addition, CoQ10 has been shown to slow the progression of atherosclerosis and prevent the oxidation of LDL (low density lipoprotein). Results on its effects on blood pressure have been mixed and a 2016 Cochrane review concluded that more trials are needed.

Jankowski (2016) concludes “clinical trials indicate that CoQ10 can significantly reduce morbidity and mortality of heart failure patients in addition to guideline recommended pharmacotherapy”.

Other areas of health being investigated

Studies on CoQ10 and physical exercise have confirmed its effect in improving subjective fatigue sensation and physical performance and reducing exercise related damage.

CoQ10 has also been shown to improve measures related to male infertility including sperm count; decrease preeclampsia incidence in pregnancy and reduce symptoms of headache in adults.

Sources of CoQ10

CoQ10 is found in small quantities in foods such as red meats, especially organ meat, and fish; it is also found in most fruit and vegetables, albeit at lower levels. Although it is widely available in food the amounts are too small to produce any significant clinical benefit and we rely mainly on synthesis within the body to maintain adequate levels.

Indeed, our bodies are designed to make all of the CoQ10 that they need, but may not manage to meet requirements due to lack of substrates or lifestyle factors increasing needs.

What can lead to lack of CoQ10?

Reduced biosynthesis and increased use by the body can lead to deficiency. The body’s manufacture of CoQ10 is very complex and its synthesis requires support from other nutrients such as folate, vitamins C, B12, B6, pantothenic acid and selenium. A clinical study of hospitalised patients showed that blood levels of CoQ10 plummeted by around 50 percent when no nutritional support was administered. Therefore a lack of any of these components will likely impair a cell’s ability to make CoQ10. Mutations in genes that code for proteins that synthesise CoQ10 can also reduce synthesis.

Lifestyle and environmental factors an increase requirements. For example, high-intensity exercise – studies have suggested that low levels of CoQ10 have been observed in athletes (most probably the consequence of an excess of free radicals in the body).

Cholesterol lowering drugs (statins) have also been identified as perhaps playing a role in CoQ10 deficiency. These drugs work by inhibiting the function of the enzyme responsible for the synthesis of cholesterol; HMG-CoA reductase. Unfortunately, this enzyme is also responsible for the body’s production of CoQ10.

CoQ10 deficiency results in reduced energy production and excessive reactive oxygen species formation. The Mayo Clinic website lists symptoms of deficiency as including heart failure, high blood pressure and chest pain. Fatigue, muscle weakness and many other disease states have also been associated with a need for CoQ10. As we age we may gradually become more susceptible to low levels of CoQ10. This is simply because our body’s demand for cellular energy remains high however our ability to produce this coenzyme becomes reduced.


Relevant Cytoplan products

Our supplements with CoQ10 contain ubiquinol, the reduced form of CoQ10 which has increased bioavailability.

Coq10 Multi
Our most comprehensive Wholefood Multivitamin and mineral formula available incorporating antioxidant CoQ10, Beta Glucan for immune support, and good all round vitamin & mineral levels including optimal levels of vitamin D3 & vitamin B12.

Cyto-Renew is a product that helps to support healthy cell metabolic activity, containing Acetyl-L-Carnitine, Alpha Lipoic Acid, Ginkgo Biloba, CoQ10, N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine and Rosemary extract 5:1.

Antioxidant CoQ10
A Food State vitamin and mineral antioxidant formula containing co-enzyme CoQ10 and excellent nutrient levels of vitamin C, vitamin E and selenium.

Red Rice Yeast Plus
Red Rice Yeast contains a number of beneficial constituents including naturally occurring, metabolites (including monacolin K), flavonoids, unsaturated fatty acids and sterols. These gluten-free capsules also include CoQ10 and hawthorn berry extract.


Related Cytoplan blogs

Co-enzyme Q10 – heart, health and statins 

Glutathione – the master antioxidant 

Mitochondrial function and male fertility 

Vitamin B12 deficiency – an issue of widespread concern

Nutrient support for cardiovascular health


If you have any questions regarding the health topics that have been raised please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me (Clare) via e-mail (

Cytoplan Editorial Team: Clare Daley and Joseph Forsyth.

References available upon request.

Last updated on 2nd March 2017 by cytoffice


27 thoughts on “Research surrounding the benefits of CoQ10

    1. Hi Isabel,

      Thank you for your question on our blog.

      Regarding whether you should sometimes have a break from a supplement – it depends on what it is. Some supplements might be more appropriate for short or medium term use, others are suitable for long-term maintenance and this also depends on the person. For example people may take higher levels of a particular nutrient, eg vitamin D, on a short term basis to elevate levels. Our multi formulae are all designed to be taken long term. Was there a particular supplement you had in mind?

      All the best,

  1. I have been taking COq10 since 2004 when I had a heart attack. I am certain that it has been of enormous benefit to me. I never lack energy and look rather younger than my years. A recent functional MRI to check on ectopic heatbeats revealed my heart to be in amazingly good order given my previous medical history. It should certainly be taken by anyone on Statins, as I am. Amazingly some doctors and consultants are unaware of the benefits of COq10 which have been proved in good research papers.

  2. Sir, I’m a cardioc patient 3 stents are put in my heart on 07.05.2018, I am also suffering from high BP and Sugar also thyroid problems but at all are controlled by using proper medication, sir can I use the product and how long it will be take for avoid further heart attack please advise me, I’m still waiting for your reply.

    1. Hi Anil,

      Please can you email me directly with some more information: I really need to understand all the medications you are taking and which of our products you want to take alongside.


  3. Hi Clare
    Thank you for the great information. I had a pacemaker put in a year ago. Bradycardia low pulse, total heart block otherwise healthy.
    Not on any medication. Just bought some CO Q10 extra strenght 200 mg soft gel caps, recommended 1 tablet twice a day. Wondering about taking more or less, because of pacemaker.

    1. Hi Jean,

      Please ask your consultant before supplementing with anything that can impact on your heart or blood viscosity. COQ10 can thin the blood in high dose so it is really important to check compatibility with any medication you are taking with your pharmacist or consultant.


  4. I suffer from heart attack before four months,I admitted at private hospital,they found three blogs and suggest bypass surgery,but I have no money and insurance,so I take medicine only,CO Q 10 is one of the medicine,so I analysis the usage of coq10

    1. My family suffer from familial cholesterol problems – very high LDL. 3 of us has had bypass operations in our 30’s (30 years ago. The high doses of statins (between 40 and 80mg) we had to use, gave us, and now our children, the worst body aches….a few years ago my GP recommended CoQ10. How wonderful to go through the day without pain in our bodies all day long! Even my son (34) says he can now function without pain holding him back. Thank you so much for this information.

  5. Which name does it carry while asking a farmacy for purchasing it??? what name should i ask the person on the counter of farmacy??

    1. Hi Adeel – Studies suggest that supplementing with CoQ10 can reduce the risk of developing pre-eclampsia in women at risk for the condition. Please do note that we wouldn’t recommend supplementing before 20 weeks gestation.

  6. Which tablet can be taken for increasing sperm motality and grade 3 and 4 sperms count ? Let me know if you need reports I can provide it.

    1. Hi Ankita – we are soon to release a multivitamin and mineral formulation especially designed to help with fertility in men. It will be available in September and be called Men’s Fertility Support. Many nutrients are needed at optimal levels including selenium and zinc.

    1. Hi Aurelia, to be able to safely advise the correct dosage to take alongside your medication we would need a little more information. Please get in touch with our team of nutritional therapists at who will be able to advise.

  7. I have tablets 50mg taken once a day
    Presumably the lowest
    How significant is this
    Please advise on strength of dosage

    1. Hi John – 50mg is a good dose of CoQ10, however in certain health considerations the requirements may be higher. Please do get in touch with our team on nutritional therapists at and they will be able to discuss your individual needs and suggest the most appropriate dosage.

  8. I have an enlarged prostrate and Urimax. Is it advisable for me to take CoenzymeQ10? I am 72 years old and feeling very weak.

    1. I would recommend you completed one of our health questionnaires so our nutrition team can get a really thorough view of your health profile and make some tailored recommendations here.

    1. Hello – While there is some theoretical evidence that CoQ10 might have additive effects with anti-hypertensive drugs, studies have had conflicting results. As such, I would recommend you got in touch with our team of nutritional therapists to ensure that any of our CoQ10 products would be right for you.

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