Also indexed as: CoQ10, Ubiquinone
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is also called ubiquinone, a name that signifies its ubiquitous
(widespread) distribution in the human body. CoQ10 is used by the body to transform food into
adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the energy on which the body runs.
Where is it found?
CoQ10 is found primarily in fish and meat, but the amounts in food are far less than
what can be obtained from supplements.
Coenzyme Q10 has been used
in connection with the following conditions (refer to the individual
health concern for complete information):
Who is likely to be deficient?
Deficiency is poorly understood, but it may be caused by synthesis problems in the body
rather than an insufficiency in the diet. Low blood levels have been reported in people with
heart failure, cardiomyopathy, gingivitis (inflammation of the gums), morbid obesity,
hypertension, muscular dystrophy,
diabetes, AIDS, and in some people on kidney dialysis. People with phenylketonuria (PKU) may be deficient in CoQ10
because of dietary restrictions.1 CoQ10 levels are also generally lower in older
people. The test used to assess CoQ10 status is not routinely available from medical
Which form of coenzyme Q10 is best?
Some,2 but not all,3 research suggests that a fat-soluble form of CoQ10 is absorbed better than
CoQ10 in granular (powder) form.4
How much is usually taken?
Adult levels of supplementation are usually 30–90 mg per day, although people with
specific health conditions may supplement with higher levels (with the involvement of a
physician). Most of the research on heart conditions has used 90–150 mg of CoQ10 per
day. People with cancer who consider taking
much higher amounts should discuss this issue with a doctor before supplementing. There are
several anecdotal reports of large amounts of CoQ10 resulting in improvements in certain types
of cancer. However, controlled trials are needed to confirm these preliminary observations.
Most doctors recommend that CoQ10 be taken with meals to improve absorption.
Are there any side effects or interactions?
Congestive heart failure patients who are
taking CoQ10 should not discontinue taking CoQ10 supplements unless under the supervision of a
An isolated test tube study reported that the
anticancer effect of a certain cholesterol-lowering drug was blocked by addition of
CoQ10.5 So far, experts in the field have put little stock in this report because
its results have not yet been confirmed in animal, human, or even other test tube studies. The
drug used in the test tube is not used to treat cancer, and preliminary information regarding
the use of high amounts of CoQ10 in humans suggests the possibility of anticancer
activity.6 7 8
Are there any drug
Certain medicines may interact with coenzyme Q10. Refer to drug interactions for a list of those medicines.
1. Artuch R, Vilaseca MA, Moreno J, et al. Decreased serum ubiquinone-10
concentrations in phenylketonuria. Am J Clin Nutr 1999;70:892–5.
2. Weiss M, Mortensen SA, Rassig MR, et al. Bioavailability of four oral
coenzyme Q10 formulations in healthy volunteers. Molec Aspects Med
3. Kaikkonen J, Nyyssonen K, Porkkala-Sarataho E, et al. Effect of oral
coenzyme Q10 on the oxidation resistance of human VLDL + LDL fraction: absorption and
antioxidative properties of oil and granule-based preparations. Free Radic Biol Med
4. Chopra RK, Goldman R, Sinatra ST, Bhagavan HN. Relative
bioavailability of coenzyme Q10 formulations in human subjects. Int J Vitam Nutr Res
5. Larsson O. Effects of isoprenoids on growth of normal human mammary
epithelial cells and breast cancer cells in vitro. Anticancer Res
6. Lockwood K, Moesgaard S, Folkers K. Partial and complete regression of
breast cancer in patients in relation to dosage of coenzyme Q10. Biochem Biophys Res
7. Lockwood K, Moesgaard S, Yamamoto T, Folkers K. Progress on therapy of
breast cancer with vitamin Q10 and the regression of metastases. Biochem Biophys Res
8. Judy WV. Nutritional intervention in cancer prevention and treatment.
American College for Advancement in Medicine Spring Conference, Ft. Lauderdale, FL. May 3,