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Coenzyme Q10

Common Name(s)

coenzyme Q10, ubiquinone-10, CoQ10, ubidecarenone

Scientific Name(s)

coenzyme Q10, ubidecarenone

General Information

Coenzyme Q10 is an antioxidantantioxidanta chemical substance that prevents cellular damage from free radicals, meaning that it protects the cells in our bodies from damaging effects of oxygen. It is found throughout the body, particularly in the heart, liver, kidney, and muscle. Our bodies make this antioxidant, and small quantities can also come from our diet (e.g., meats, seafood).

How is this product usually used?

Coenzyme Q10 as a supplement is usually taken by mouth and is available in different forms including tablets, capsules, powders, and liquids.

Most coenzyme Q10 products that are commercially available come from yeast.

Your health care provider may have recommended using this product in other ways. Contact a health care provider if you have questions.

What is this product used for?

Coenzyme Q10 is used to:

Coenzyme Q10 supplements may help people with a long-standing history of heart failure to reduce symptoms like shortness of breath and swelling of the feet, and it may reduce the likelihood they will need to be admitted to the hospital. This antioxidant should never be used alone for heart failure, but it may be helpful when taken with other heart failure medications. When used soon after a heart attack, coenzyme Q10 may decrease the risk of a further heart attack.

Supplementation may also be beneficial in people with high blood pressure.

Coenzyme Q10 can lower the frequency of migraine attacks and the average number of days with headache-related nausea. You may need to take coenzyme Q10 supplementation for 3 months before you start noticing any improvement. If you don't notice an improvement or your migraine symptoms worsen, consult your doctor.

Coenzyme Q10 has also been studied for other conditions, including:

  • diabetes
  • gum disease
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Huntington's disease
  • preventing side effects caused by certain medications
  • HIV/AIDS
  • certain cancers
  • Alzheimer's disease

Research has produced mixed results in people with diabetes – it is unknown if coenzyme Q10 will help to control blood sugar for everyone.

Coenzyme Q10 has not been shown to be effective if applied topicallytopicallyto be applied on the skin on your gums to treat gum disease. There may be some benefit to taking oral forms of coenzyme Q10.

High doses of coenzyme Q10 may slow the progression of early Parkinson's disease. People with more advanced Parkinson's, however, may not benefit from this antioxidant. It doesn't appear to be effective in people with Huntington's disease.

People with HIV/AIDS who take coenzyme Q10 may improve their immune system function.

Early research has shown that coenzyme Q10 may slow the progression of Alzheimer's disease, but further research is required. 

Cholesterol-lowering medications called HMG CoA reductase inhibitors ("statins") may reduce the amount of coenzyme Q10 in the blood. However, there is not enough evidence at this time to recommend coenzyme Q10 routinely to people who are on statins (either as a supplement or to prevent muscle-related injuries that may be due to lower coenzyme Q10 levels). There is also not enough research to support coenzyme Q10 supplementation to people receiving certain cancer medications (e.g., doxorubicin) to reduce possible harmful effects on the heart.

Your health care provider may have recommended this product for other conditions. Contact a health care provider if you have questions.

What else should I be aware of?

Coenzyme Q10 is safe for most adults. Side effects that have been reported include mild stomach upset, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, lower blood pressure, and diarrhea. These side effects may be reduced by spreading out your doses of coenzyme Q10 throughout the day.

Because coenzyme Q10 is an antioxidantantioxidanta chemical substance that prevents cellular damage from free radicals, there is concern that it may decrease the effectiveness of certain cancer medications (chemotherapy) when used together with them, so consult your health care professional first. It may also interact with warfarin and blood pressure medications. Consult your doctor if you are taking any of these medications.

You should avoid coenzyme Q10 if you are pregnant or breast-feeding, or have liver disease.

Before taking any new medications, including natural health products, speak to your physician, pharmacist, or other health care provider. Tell your health care provider about any natural health products you may be taking.

Source(s)

  1. Coenzyme Q-10 (monograph). Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. (Accessed online Accessed 3 July 2012)
  2. Coenzyme Q10. In : The Medical Letter 2006;48(1229):19-21.
  3. Health Canada. Licensed Natural Health Products database. Coenzyme Q10. www.hc-sc.gc.ca/dhp-mps/alt_formats/hpfb-dgpsa/pdf/prodnatur/mono_coenz-q10-eng.pdf, accessed 3 July 2012.
  4. Coenzyme Q10 monograph. Natural Standard database. Accessed 3 July 2012.

All material © 1996- MediResource Inc. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.