What is COQ10?

What is COQ10

Coenzyme Q10 is an antioxidant with a myriad of health-promoting benefits. It is foundational for heart health, cellular metabolism, energy production, recycling Vitamin A, C & E, scavenging free-radicals, and plays a pivotal role in healthy fertility.

Without COQ10, our vital organs could not keep up with the energy demands required for performance (think the heart). Low COQ10 levels have been associated with heart disease, metabolic disease including Type II Diabetes (T2DM), neurological disease like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, and kidney failure.  

In today’s blog we will explore the benefits of COQ10, what it is, and how it can be integrated into your day to day for wellbeing.  


What is COQ10

COQ10 is short-form for Coenzyme Q10. It is an essential nutrient for optimal health, and plays a major role in electron transport and mitochondrial chain. It is found in every cell, with the liver being the primary area for biosynthesis (8).  

Areas of the body with COQ10 concentrations:

  • Brain
  • Heart
  • Liver
  • Kidneys
  • Pancreas
  • Spleen

COQ10 concentrations inherently begin to decline with age, so awareness of its significance is a valuable insight for better health.


COQ10 and the Heart

The highest concentration of COQ10 is found in heart tissue. There is some speculation that COQ10 is actually found at highest concentrations in the ovaries - however more data is needed to confirm this assumption. There is growing evidence that deficiency in COQ10 concentrations is linked to a variety of cardiometabolic disorders (2), including:

  • Heart Failure
  • Hypertension
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Ischemic Heart Disease
  • Heart Attack (Myocardial Infarction)

It is reported that 3 out of 4 patients with heart disease have deficiency in COQ10 levels. (2)

COQ10 and Statins

COQ10 and Cholesterol are synthesized through the same biochemical (mevalonate) pathway. Studies have shown reduced COQ10 concentrations after its use with statins (HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors). In some case studies, concentrations may be as high as a reduction of 54%. However, this is dose-related, and some researchers hypothesized that reduction of COQ10 values may contribute to the adverse effects of stain medication use. COQ10 in conjunction with statin use can be a possible mediator for treatment if closely monitored. (4)


COQ10 and Metabolic Disease

COQ10 assists in metabolism by converting energy from carbohydrates and fats into ATP. It is reported that on average, patients with Type II Diabetes (T2DM) had lower levels in COQ10 than people without T2DM. The exact mechanism and relationship is not entirely understood. However, there is accumulating evidence that mitochondrial dysfunction contributes to the pathogenesis of the disease. (9)


COQ10 and Infertility, and Sperm Motility

COQ10 is essential for ovarian and testicular health. Reduced COQ10 levels via serum has been associated with hypogonadism, and ovarian aging (10). Many animal studies have shown that COQ10 supplementation protects ovarian reserve by restoring mitochondrial function. COQ10 has also been shown to improve sperm motility (10).


COQ10 and Neurological Disease

Deficiency in COQ10 has been associated with Neurological disease, including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Cerebral Ataxia, Epileptic Seizures. More research is needed to distinguish how COQ10 plays in neurological health and disease. Some theories suggest it is essential for brain bioenergetics, and plays a protective role by recycling antioxidants, scavenging-free radicals, or both.


Who is Deficient in COQ10

Aging Populations

The ability for the body to synthesize its own COQ10 decreases with age, with optimal human biosynthesis in mid-twenties. (6)

Statin Medication Users

Statin medications are used to treat coronary heart disease. One of the potential drawbacks of statin use includes statin‐induced myopathy, one of the main reasons for statin discontinuation. Some research suggests supplementation with COQ10 can ameliorate the negative outcomes associated with statin-induced myopathy. [3]

Genetic Predisposition: Primary & Secondary Deficiency

Primary COQ10 deficiency involves mutations in specific COQ genes that encode proteins of the CoQ biosynthesis pathway (primary deficiency), or can be associated with secondary deficiency caused by defects in the mitochondrial functions indirectly involved with the biosynthesis of COQ10[2]

Sedentary Lifestyle

Predictors of sarcopenia (muscle loss) has been associated with low CoQ10H2/CoQ10 ratio.


Sources of COQ10


COQ10 is a fat soluble, and consumption with fatty foods (olive oil, nuts and legumes, avocado) can help boost absorption. COQ10 can in small amounts can be found in:

  • Oily Fish: Mackerel, Salmon, Tuna, Sardines, Trout
  • Organ Meats: Beef Heart, Beef Liver, Chicken Heart, Chicken Liver
  • Vegetable: Broccoli, Spinach, Cabbage
  • Nuts & Seeds: Pistachio, Peanuts

However, COQ10 has approximately a 10% dietary absorption rate via the GI tract due to its low water solubility + high molecular weight. (4)



COQ10 can be found in a variety of formats (COQ10, Ubiquinone (Oxidized), Ubiquinol (Reduced) dosages

  • 30mg
  • 60mg
  • 90mg
  • 100mg
  • 200mg

Always consult your health care practitioner before supplementing with COQ10.


COQ10 Absorption

Researchers investigated the effects of COQ10 absorbency at different supplemental doses. Doses of 200mg resulted in higher concentrations (serum) than 100mg – but doses taken twice daily at 100mg yielded the greatest concentration levels overall. This data revealed that COQ10 absorbency may have a finite capacity at approximately 100mg. (3)

  • Peak Plasma: 6-8 Hours (4)
  • Half life: 34 hours (4)

Several clinical studies investigating diverse diseases used a variety of COQ10 doses, with adverse effects generally more common at doses above 1200mg per day, with doses 22 to 400 mg per day being considered safe. (4)


COQ10 Chemistry

Coenzyme Q10 can exist in two forms Ubiquinol (oxidized), and Ubiquinone (reduced)

COQ10 is an essential nutrient synthesized within the mitochondrial membrane. It is lipophilic (fat-loving) and structurally belongs to quinone groups. The “10” indicates the amount of isoprenyl units which determines its low polarity – essentially allowing fast diffusion into the mitochondrial membranes.


Side Effects

Gastrointestinal effects such as abdominal discomfort, vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, headaches and allergic rashes have been reported in clinical trials. Therefor always consult your health care practitioner before supplementing with COQ10. (4)

COQ10 and Medications

COQ10 carries antiplatelet and hypotensive properties. Other blood-thinners medications include Warfarin, and Vitamin K, so you should always be monitored while supplementing. (4) 


COQ10 supplementation have been generally considered safe. However, it should be cautioned for pregnant and breasting women, or to small children as the side effects during these periods have not been fully clarified. (4)


How can you test deficiency in COQ10

Biochemical analysis of COQ10 is not standard routine. Most common analytical techniques include high-pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC) with either ultraviolet (HPLC-UV) or electrochemical detection (HPLC-ED)(8).








(1) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6131403/

(3) https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/JAHA.118.009835

(4) https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S235238591830032X

(6) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7278738/

(7) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7278738/

(8) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7555759/

(9) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4939545/

(10) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5870379/

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published