Coenzyme Q10

Purported Benefits, Side Effects & More

Coenzyme Q10

Purported Benefits, Side Effects & More
Coenzyme Q10

Common Names

  • Ubiquinone
  • Ubidecarenone
  • Ubiquinol
  • CoQ
  • CoQ10

For Patients & Caregivers

Tell your healthcare providers about any dietary supplements you’re taking, such as herbs, vitamins, minerals, and natural or home remedies. This will help them manage your care and keep you safe.

What is it?

CoQ10 is a chemical made by the cells in your body. It is used for growth and maintenance. You can take CoQ10 as a dietary supplement. Supplements come as pills or liquid.

What are the potential uses and benefits?

CoQ10 is used to:

  • Prevent heart disease
  • Reduce cholesterol
  • Reduce muscle pain caused by cholesterol medications known as statins
  • Prevent migraines
  • Help reduce symptoms of Parkinson’s disease
  • Treat infertility

CoQ10 also has other uses that haven’t been studied by doctors to see if they work.

CoQ10 is generally safe. But supplements can interact with some medications and affect how they work. For more information, read the “What else do I need to know?” section below.

What are the side effects?

CoQ10 can cause mild side effects such as:

  • Sleeplessness
  • Nausea (feeling like you’re going to throw up)
  • Diarrhea (loose or watery stool)
  • Loss of appetite
What else do I need to know?
  • Talk to your doctor if you’re on chemotherapy or radiation therapy. CoQ10 may affect how these treatments work and can make them less effective.
  • Talk to your doctor if you’re taking blood thinners such as warfarin (Coumadin®). CoQ10 may increase your risk of bleeding if you take it with blood thinners.
  • Talk to your doctor if you’re on theophylline (Theolair®) for asthma or other lung problems, such as emphysema (when air sacs in your lungs are damaged) or chronic bronchitis. CoQ10 may affect how this medication works.

For Healthcare Professionals

Brand Name
Scientific Name
2,3 dimethoxy-5 methyl-6-decaprenyl benzoquinone
Clinical Summary

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), also known as ubiquinone, is involved in cellular respiration and energy production. It is found in all human cells, with higher concentrations found in the liver, kidney, heart, and pancreas. It is also consumed as a dietary supplement for its antioxidant effects and is often promoted as a preventive agent for cardiovascular diseases, Parkinson’s disease, infertility, and cancer. Studies using murine models suggest antioxidant and neuroprotective effects (17) (18), and the potential to alleviate radiation-induced nephropathy (34).

Data from some human studies suggest CoQ10 may benefit patients with coronary artery disease (2) and congestive heart failure (21), and reduce risk of cardiovascular mortality (46). Other studies using a combination of selenium and CoQ10 also suggest improved cardiac function and reduced mortality risk (43) (47) (58). However, a systematic review concluded that current evidence does not support routine CoQ10 supplementation in patients with coronary heart disease (42). According to the American Heart Association, large-scale randomized trials are needed to definitively determine the value of supplementation in managing heart failure (61).

Observations that patients on statins have decreased CoQ10 concentrations in muscle cells (25) resulted in efforts to evaluate CoQ10 for statin-induced myalgias, but data are inconclusive (26) (27) (28) (45) (52). Short-term CoQ10 supplementation in diabetic hemodialysis patients improved markers of insulin metabolism, but not fasting glucose, HbA1c, or lipid profiles (48). Supplementation may also reduce pain in those with diabetic neuropathy (62). A meta-analysis concluded that evidence of benefit in diabetic kidney disease is limited and additional study is needed (49). Also, supplementation did not improve work efficiency in patients with chronic kidney disease (63).

CoQ10 may be helpful in some cases for migraine prevention (22). A small study found reduced migraine frequency following supplementation (23), and other data suggest it may reduce number of migraine days and duration, but not number of attacks or severity (50). A randomized trial of add-on supplementation in pediatric migraine failed to find benefit (24).

Although neuroprotective effects have been reported in small trials (5) (6) (33), larger well-designed trials have not shown benefit with CoQ10 supplementation in Parkinson’s (7) (59) or Huntington’s disease (51). In other studies, adjuvant CoQ10 improved depressive symptoms in patients with bipolar disorder (44), but an antioxidant mixture including CoQ10, vitamins C and E, and alpha-lipoic acid was ineffective against Alzheimer’s disease (20).

Some data suggest CoQ10 supplementation may increase sperm motility in men (8), modulate expression of insulin, lipid, and inflammatory markers in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (35), and reduce fatigue (9) (64). It may also help reduce reduce some measures of oxidative stress (53) (60), and inflammatory markers in general population (65) and in patients with chronic diseases (54). In patients with sepsis, supplementation in the early phase improved clinical parameters and mitochondrial dysfunction (55).

CoQ10 has also been investigated in cancer patients. Preliminary studies on whether it can help control cancer-related fatigue are mixed (29) (38). In patients on tamoxifen therapy, CoQ10 appeared to lower inflammatory cytokine levels (56). CoQ10 levels have been positively associated with antioxidant capacity and negatively correlated with inflammation markers post-surgery in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (37). However, antioxidant supplementation including CoQ10 before and during treatment was associated with an increased hazard of recurrence in breast cancer patients (57). More research is needed (39).

CoQ10 may interfere with the actions of warfarin (11) (12). Because of its antioxidant properties, it may also reduce effectiveness of chemotherapy and radiation therapy (13).

Purported Uses and Benefits
  • Heart disease
  • High cholesterol
  • Statin-induced myalgia
  • Migraines
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Infertility
Mechanism of Action

CoQ10 is known to have antioxidant and membrane-stabilizing properties and is the only endogenously produced lipid with a redox function in mammals. All cells are capable of synthesizing CoQ10 and no redistribution between organs occurs through the blood. It is necessary for adenosine triphosphate (ATP) production, and its role as a mobile electron carrier in the mitochondrial electron-transfer processes of respiration and coupled phosphorylation is well established. It also has a direct regulatory role on succinyl and NADH dehydrogenases (1). CoQ10 scavenges free radicals produced by lipid peroxidation and prevents mitochondrial deformity during ischemic episodes, and may help maintain integrity of myocardial calcium ion channels during ischemic insults (2). CoQ10 may also stabilize cellular membranes and prevent depletion of metabolites required for ATP resynthesis (10), and suppress age-related inflammatory reactions and osteoclast differentiation by inhibiting oxidative stress (30). One of the mechanisms underlying the neuroprotective effects of CoQ10 involves inhibition of microglia in pentylenetetrazol-induced kindling epilepsy in mice (40).

Other preclinical studies suggest CoQ10 can prevent reduced glucose transporter-4 protein levels in adipocytes caused by simvastatin, which may contribute to the risk of new-onset diabetes in patients on statins (31). It also reduced high glucose-induced apoptosis and dysfunction of endothelial progenitor cells by upregulating endothelial nitric oxide synthase and heme oxygenase via the AMP-activated protein kinase pathway (41). In a murine model, it protected against doxorubicin-induced testicular toxicity by ameliorating oxidative stress, reducing apoptosis, and upregulating testicular P-glycoprotein (32).

  • In a murine model of non-small cell lung cancer, ubiquinone intake appeared to reduce the effects of radiation therapy (13).
Adverse Reactions

Infrequent: Nausea, diarrhea, and appetite suppression (11)

Herb-Drug Interactions

HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors: Endogenous levels of CoQ10 may be reduced by lovastatin, atorvastatin and simvastatin. The HMG-CoA reductase enzyme is responsible for catalyzing the conversion of acetyl CoA to cholesterol and synthesis of CoQ10 (14).
Warfarin: CoQ10 is structurally similar to vitamin K and may antagonize the effects of warfarin (11). However, CoQ10 has been reported to increase bleeding risk when used with warfarin (12).
Theophylline: CoQ10 delays theophylline clearance, which can cause persistent vomiting, cardiac arrhythmia, and intractable seizures (19).

Dosage (OneMSK Only)
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  19. Baskaran R, Shanmugam S, Nagayya-Sriraman S, et al. The effect of coenzyme Q10 on the pharmacokinetic parameters of theophylline. Arch Pharm Res. 2008 Jul;31(7):938-44.
  20. Galasko DR, Peskind E, Clark CM, et al; for the Alzheimer’s Disease Cooperative Study. Antioxidants for Alzheimer Disease: A Randomized Clinical Trial With Cerebrospinal Fluid Biomarker Measures. Arch Neurol. 2012 Jul;69(7):836-41.
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  26. Bookstaver DA, Burkhalter NA, Hatzigeorgiou C. Effect of coenzyme Q10 supplementation on statin-induced myalgias. Am J Cardiol. 2012 Aug 15;110(4):526-9.
  27. Bogsrud MP, Langslet G, Ose L, et al. No effect of combined coenzyme Q10 and selenium supplementation on atorvastatin-induced myopathy. Scand Cardiovasc J. 2013 Apr;47(2):80-7.
  28. Fedacko J, Pella D, Fedackova P, et al. Coenzyme Q(10) and selenium in statin-associated myopathy treatment. Can J Physiol Pharmacol. 2013 Feb;91(2):165-70.
  29. Lesser GJ, Case D, Stark N, et al. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of oral coenzyme Q10 to relieve self-reported treatment-related fatigue in newly diagnosed patients with breast cancer. J Support Oncol. 2013 Mar;11(1):31-42.
  30. Yoneda T, Tomofuji T, Ekuni D, et al. Anti-aging effects of co-enzyme Q10 on periodontal tissues. J Dent Res. 2013 Aug;92(8):735-9.
  31. Ganesan S, Ito MK. Coenzyme Q10 ameliorates the reduction in GLUT4 transporter expression induced by simvastatin in 3T3-L1 adipocytes. Metab Syndr Relat Disord. 2013 Aug;11(4):251-5.
  32. El-Sheikh AA, Morsy MA, Mahmoud MM, Rifaai RA. Protective mechanisms of coenzyme-Q10 may involve up-regulation of testicular P-glycoprotein in doxorubicin-induced toxicity. Environ Toxicol Pharmacol. 2014 Feb 19;37(2):772-781.
  33. Seet RC1, Lim EC, Tan JJ, et al. Does high-dose coenzyme Q10 improve oxidative damage and clinical outcomes in Parkinson’s disease? Antioxid Redox Signal. 2014 Jul 10;21(2):211-7.
  34. Ki Y, Kim W, Kim YH, et al. Effect of Coenzyme Q10 on Radiation Nephropathy in Rats. J Korean Med Sci. 2017 May;32(5):757-763.
  35. Rahmani E, Jamilian M, Samimi M, et al. The effects of coenzyme Q10 supplementation on gene expression related to insulin, lipid and inflammation in patients with polycystic ovary syndrome. Gynecol Endocrinol. 2017 Sep 26:1-6.
  36. Rembold CM. Coenzyme Q10 Supplementation in Orthostatic Hypotension and Multiple-System Atrophy: A Report on 7 Cases. Am J Med. 2017 Dec 11. pii: S0002-9343(17)31097-5.
  37. Liu HT, Cheng SB, Huang YC, Huang YT, Lin PT. Coenzyme Q10 and Oxidative Stress: Inflammation Status in Hepatocellular Carcinoma Patients after Surgery. Nutrients. 2017 Jan 4;9(1). pii: E29.
  38. Iwase S, Kawaguchi T, Yotsumoto D, et al. Efficacy and safety of an amino acid jelly containing coenzyme Q10 and L-carnitine in controlling fatigue in breast cancer patients receiving chemotherapy: a multi-institutional, randomized, exploratory trial (JORTC-CAM01). Support Care Cancer. 2016 Feb;24(2):637-646.
  39. Tafazoli A. Coenzyme Q10 in breast cancer care. Future Oncol. 2017 May;13(11):1035-1041.
  40. Bhardwaj M, Kumar A. Neuroprotective mechanism of Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) against PTZ induced kindling and associated cognitive dysfunction: Possible role of microglia inhibition. Pharmacol Rep. 2016 Dec;68(6):1301-1311.
  41. Tsai HY, Lin CP, Huang PH, et al. Coenzyme Q10 Attenuates High Glucose-Induced Endothelial Progenitor Cell Dysfunction through AMP-Activated Protein Kinase Pathways. J Diabetes Res. 2016;2016:6384759.
  42. Ayers J, Cook J, Koenig RA, Sisson EM, Dixon DL. Recent Developments in the Role of Coenzyme Q10 for Coronary Heart Disease: a Systematic Review. Curr Atheroscler Rep. 2018 May 16;20(6):29.
  43. Alehagen U, Aaseth J, Alexander J, Johansson P. Still reduced cardiovascular mortality 12 years after supplementation with selenium and coenzyme Q10 for four years: A validation of previous 10-year follow-up results of a prospective randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial in elderly. PLoS One. 2018 Apr 11;13(4):e0193120.
  44. Mehrpooya M, Yasrebifar F, Haghighi M, Mohammadi Y, Jahangard L. Evaluating the Effect of Coenzyme Q10 Augmentation on Treatment of Bipolar Depression: A Double-Blind Controlled Clinical Trial. J Clin Psychopharmacol. 2018 Oct;38(5):460-466.
  45. Qu H, Guo M, Chai H, et al. Effects of Coenzyme Q10 on Statin-Induced Myopathy: An Updated Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials. J Am Heart Assoc. 2018 Oct 2;7(19):e009835.
  46. Mortensen SA, Rosenfeldt F, Kumar A, et al. The effect of coenzyme Q10 on morbidity and mortality in chronic heart failure: results from Q-SYMBIO: a randomized double-blind trial. JACC Heart Fail. Dec 2014;2(6):641-649.
  47. Alehagen U, Johansson P, Bjornstedt M, et al. Cardiovascular mortality and N-terminal-proBNP reduced after combined selenium and coenzyme Q10 supplementation: a 5-year prospective randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial among elderly Swedish citizens. Int J Cardiol. Sep 1 2013;167(5):1860-1866.
  48. Fallah M, Askari G, Soleimani A, et al. Clinical trial of the effects of coenzyme Q10 supplementation on glycemic control and markers of lipid profiles in diabetic hemodialysis patients. Int Urol Nephrol. Nov 2018;50(11):2073-2079.
  49. Zhang X, Shi Z, Liu Q, et al. Effects of coenzyme Q10 intervention on diabetic kidney disease: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Medicine (Baltimore). Jun 2019;98(24):e15850.
  50. Zeng Z, Li Y, Lu S, et al. Efficacy of CoQ10 as supplementation for migraine: A meta-analysis. Acta Neurol Scand. Mar 2019;139(3):284-293.
  51. McGarry A, McDermott M, Kieburtz K, et al. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of coenzyme Q10 in Huntington disease. Neurology. Jan 10 2017;88(2):152-159.
  52. Derosa G, D’Angelo A, Maffioli P. Coenzyme q10 liquid supplementation in dyslipidemic subjects with statin-related clinical symptoms: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study. Drug Des Devel Ther. 2019 Oct 21;13:3647-3655.
  53. Sangsefidi ZS, Yaghoubi F, Hajiahmadi S, Hosseinzadeh M. The effect of coenzyme Q10 supplementation on oxidative stress: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled clinical trials. Food Sci Nutr. 2020 Mar 19;8(4):1766-1776.
  54. Farsi F, Heshmati J, Keshtkar A, et al. Can coenzyme Q10 supplementation effectively reduce human tumor necrosis factor-α and interleukin-6 levels in chronic inflammatory diseases? A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Pharmacol Res. 2019 Oct;148:104290.
  55. Soltani R, Alikiaie B, Shafiee F, et al. Coenzyme Q10 improves the survival and reduces inflammatory markers in septic patients. Bratisl Lek Listy. 2020;121(2):154-158.
  56. Zahrooni N, Hosseini SA, Ahmadzadeh A, Ahmadi Angali K, Assarehzadegan MA. The Effect of Coenzyme Q10 Supplementation on Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor and Serum Levels of Interleukin 6 and 8 in Women with Breast Cancer: A Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Randomized Clinical Trial. Ther Clin Risk Manag. 2019 Dec 4;15:1403-1410.
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  62. Amini P, Sajedi F, Mirjalili M, Mohammadi Y, Mehrpooya M. Coenzyme Q10 as a potential add-on treatment for patients suffering from painful diabetic neuropathy: results of a placebo-controlled randomized trial.  Eur J Clin Pharmacol. 2022 Dec;78(12):1899-1910.
  63. Ahmadi A, Begue G, Valencia AP, et al. Randomized crossover clinical trial of coenzyme Q10 and nicotinamide riboside in chronic kidney disease.  JCI Insight. 2023 Jun 8;8(11):e167274.
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