Life can be super tiring, right? While caffeine and energy drinks can give you a quick boost, they don’t last long. Fortunately, the best CoQ10 supplement may help energize your whole body, starting from your very cells!
CoQ10 Ubiquinone has hundreds of scientific studies backing up its health benefits. In this post, we’ll explore the world of CoQ10 supplements. We’ll discuss its benefits, when and how much to take each day, and more.
Table of Contents
First, what exactly is CoQ10?
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a vitamin-like molecule found in virtually all cells in the human body. It’s especially abundant in organs that require lots of energy, like our brain, heart, lungs, kidneys, and liver.
Other names for CoQ10 are Ubiquinone and Ubiquinol (we’ll discuss the differences below). Both names pertain to this compound’s ubiquitous presence in the body.
To help visualize just how omnipresent CoQ10 is and how vital it is to our cells, here are some facts:
So, CoQ10 is primarily found in the mitochondria, the powerhouses of the cell. Each cell is estimated to have about a few thousand mitochondria.1 And guess how many cells are found in the body? Current estimates say there are more than 30+ trillion cells.2
However, CoQ10 molecules are so tiny that when measured by weight, the whole body content only comes up to a mere 500-1500 mg.3
CoQ10’s presence in the mitochondria means it plays a vital role in cellular energy production. It helps produce adenosine triphosphate or ATP, which provides energy to our cells. ATP is needed for essential bodily functions, such as muscle contraction, nerve impulses, chemical reactions, DNA and RNA synthesis, and more.4
CoQ10 is also one of the most significant lipid antioxidants in the body. It helps protect our cells against free radical damage, thus preventing damage to DNA, lipids, and proteins.
What are the signs of low CoQ10 levels?
CoQ10 is critical for cell energy production, especially in muscles and organs that need the most energy. Low levels can cause symptoms like mental and physical fatigue, muscle weakness, and high blood pressure.
While rare, severe deficiencies may lead to organ damage, brain damage, and kidney and eye disease. Patients with disorders like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Huntington’s have also exhibited very low levels of CoQ10, though it’s not the sole cause of these diseases.5
Who’s at risk of CoQ10 deficiency?
It’s rare for the general population to be deficient in CoQ10. But some groups of people are particularly vulnerable.
There are 2 categories of CoQ10 deficiencies:6
Primary CoQ10 deficiencies result from defects or mutations in the genes involved in the complex CoQ10 biosynthetic pathway. At least 10 genes are required for CoQ10 synthesis. A mutation in any of these genes can lead to deficiency.
Secondary CoQ10 deficiencies are commonly found in older individuals. Likewise, people with diabetes, cancer, heart disease, chronic kidney disease, and metabolic syndrome are also at risk. Moreover, people taking statins to lower cholesterol have also been found to have alarmingly low levels of CoQ10.
How to replenish CoQ10 levels? What are the best sources of CoQ10?
While the human body makes CoQ10, production naturally decreases as we age. Consistently low CoQ10 levels will create knock-on effects on the mitochondria, cells, tissues, and organs.
Fortunately, we can top up our CoQ10 stores from various food sources. These include:7
- Organ meats – chicken liver, beef liver, pork liver, kidney, heart
- Fatty fish – salmon, tuna, sardines, trout, herring
- Fruits and vegetables
- Whole grains and nuts
- Soybean, canola, olive oil
HOWEVER, while plenty of CoQ10 food sources exist, they only contain small amounts. For example, a kilogram of beef heart only has 113 mg of CoQ10. Likewise, a kilogram of tuna only has 5 mg of CoQ10.8
CoQ10 food sources pale in comparison to CoQ10 supplements. For instance, our Intelligent Labs CoQ10 Ubiquinone contains 200 mg per softgel (that’s equivalent to almost 2 kilograms of beef heart!).
Of course, eating whole foods is still the best way to get a wide variety of nutrients. But supplementation is the way to go if you’re specifically looking to boost your CoQ10 levels.
What are the benefits of taking CoQ10 supplements?
CoQ10 supplements not only help improve CoQ10 levels in the body faster than food sources can, but they also contribute to many health benefits! As we’ve learned so far, CoQ10 is absolutely vital in cellular health (and ergo, all our organs). Low levels can be detrimental to our overall health.
The good news is that by taking CoQ10 supplements, you may enjoy the following benefits as well:
1. CoQ10 supplements may reduce fatigue and improve energy levels
Since CoQ10 plays a key role in powering up our cells, it’s not surprising that supplementing with this nutrient can also help reduce fatigue and boost energy.
A systematic review of 13 studies showed that CoQ10 significantly reduced fatigue in both healthy and sick participants. The researchers also found that taking higher CoQ10 doses for a longer period led to greater fatigue reduction.9
2. CoQ10 may support cardiovascular health
CoQ10 also plays an important role in heart health. It’s estimated that 3 out of 4 patients with heart disease have low CoQ10 levels.12
CoQ10 may also help reduce the risk of hypertension, which can contribute to heart disease. It also improves blood flow in the cells lining the arteries, veins, and capillaries.15
3. CoQ10 supplements may promote healthy cholesterol levels
Cholesterol may have gained a bad reputation, but it’s not all bad. In fact, HDL cholesterol is known as the “good” cholesterol and it’s ideal to have high HDL levels. On the other hand, LDL cholesterol is the “bad” kind and you want low levels of this cholesterol.
Taking the best CoQ10 supplement may help manage healthy cholesterol levels. A recent literature review of 50 studies showed that CoQ10 has a significant effect on lipid profiles:16
- Increases HDL (good) cholesterol
- Reduces LDL (bad) cholesterol
- Reduces triglycerides
- Reduces total cholesterol
What does this mean for you? Well, supplementing with CoQ10 may help lower your risk of adverse cardiovascular events!
4. CoQ10 may help boost immune health
Low CoQ10 levels are linked to an increased risk of infection and making people more susceptible to various ailments. In one study, kids sick with the flu were found to have low levels of CoQ10 compared to their healthy peers.17
In elderly populations, pneumonia can be fatal. However, a daily dose of 200 mg CoQ10 for just 14 days helped speed up the recovery of elderly patients.18
In the recent coronavirus pandemic, a study compared over 13,000 Covid-19 patients to over 23,000 controls. The controls were people of similar age with similar health risks for Covid. The researchers found that those supplemented with CoQ10 had a significantly lower risk of being hospitalized for Covid.19
5. CoQ10 may help with fertility
CoQ10’s benefits may also extend to male and female fertility. For men, CoQ10 supplementation may help improve sperm quality and sperm count. For women, CoQ10 may help improve egg quality and increase pregnancy rates, though more clinical studies are needed to confirm these.20 21
6. CoQ10 may support healthy cognitive function
While there are no conclusive human clinical trials yet, animal studies have yielded promising results regarding CoQ10’s effects on cognitive function.
In a preclinical study, CoQ10 helped improve memory and learning in middle-aged diabetic rats. Likewise, the healthy group of rats also showed improved cognitive performance after supplementation.22
Ubiquinone vs. Ubiquinol: What’s the best CoQ10 supplement form?
Fundamentally, both forms are the same. They’re both powerful antioxidants and essential in cellular energy production. The only difference is that Ubiquinone is the oxidized (inactive) form, and Ubiquinol is the reduced (active) form.
So, does that mean Ubiquinol is superior because it’s the active form?
Well, no. Far from it, actually. Here’s why:
- Ubiquinol is patented and more expensive to produce than Ubiquinone
Ubiquinol is a patented form of CoQ10, meaning only one company can make and sell it (not cheaply). Brands that use the Ubiquinol form buy from this company and are far more likely to sell their products at a higher price than Ubiquinone supplements.
- Ubiquinol is the reduced form and is less stable than Ubiquinone
Ubiquinol is also less stable than Ubiquinone. Since it’s the reduced form, it’s more susceptible to oxidation, especially when exposed to air and sunlight. When it oxidizes, it turns into Ubiquinone!
- The lion’s share of CoQ10 studies are on Ubiquinone, not Ubiquinol
The higher cost is also a key reason why many researchers use Ubiquinone in their studies. In fact, scientists have been studying Ubiquinone for well over 30 years, long before Ubiquinol even came into the picture in 2006! Even today, only a handful of CoQ10 studies use Ubiquinol.23
With that said, the body continuously converts CoQ10 into either form, depending on what’s needed. Studies show that even when taking Ubiquinone supplements, it still shows up as Ubiquinol in the blood. This means the body’s doing all that converting for free (yes, no need to pay the extra cost for Ubiquinol). 24
What’s the best delivery format for CoQ10 supplements?
CoQ10 supplements are sold in different formats. Examples include softgels, gummies, capsules, tablets, syrups, and powder.
According to a 2019 study, softgel supplements containing either Ubiquinone or Ubiquinol were the most bioavailable forms. 25
So, whether you take Ubiquinone or Ubiquinol, make sure you choose a softgel formulation to ensure the nutrient is absorbed and used by the body!
Are there any side effects to supplementing with CoQ10 Ubiquinone?
Multiple long-term studies confirm that CoQ10 is generally a very safe supplement. It’s well tolerated, even up to 1200mg/day. While side effects are minor and rare, they may include stomach issues, dizziness, irritability, headache, and insomnia.26
Is it safe to take CoQ10 during pregnancy?
Yes, CoQ10 is safe to take even when pregnant. One clinical study reported that CoQ10 reduces the risk of pre-eclampsia in high-risk women. The subjects were given 200mg of CoQ10 daily from week 20 of pregnancy until they gave birth. 27
What’s the recommended dose – how much CoQ10 should you take daily?
While there are no official recommendations for CoQ10, the American Family Physician recommends the following dosages:
- Mitochondrial issues: 150 mg per day or 2 mg per kg per day with titration up to 3,000 mg per day in some patients
- Parkinson’s disease: 300 to 1,200 mg per day in four divided doses
- Cardiovascular issues: typically 50 to 200 mg daily (though Liu’s review showed 400-500mg/day had the greatest effect on total cholesterol levels).
- Diabetes: 100 to 200 mg per day
For our CoQ10 Ubiquinone, we recommend taking one softgel daily. Each softgel contains 200 mg of CoQ10. This dosage is enough for most people’s needs. Please speak with your doctor if you need to take a higher dose.
When’s the best time to take CoQ10? Morning or evening?
Due to CoQ10’s energy-boosting benefits, it’s best to take it in the morning to power you throughout the day. Of course, night owls may be better off taking it at night.
Either way, taking CoQ10 with fatty or oily food is a must because it’s a fat-soluble nutrient.
We’ve also added MCT oil to our CoQ10 softgels to help with absorption, but every little bit helps, so do take them with food containing fat.
CoQ10 is an important nutrient created naturally in the body. It’s vital to energy production and cellular function. However, many factors cause CoQ10 levels to decline, including aging, disease, and some medications (statins).
Fortunately, our CoQ10 Ubiquinone 200mg softgels may help replenish CoQ10 levels so you can enjoy all the health benefits this ubiquitous molecule offers!
- Pizzorno, Joseph. “Mitochondria-Fundamental to Life and Health.” Integrative Medicine (Encinitas, Calif.), vol. 13, no. 2, 2014, pp. 8–15, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4684129/. ↩︎
- Zimmer, Carl. “How Many Cells Are in Your Body?” Science, 23 Oct. 2013, www.nationalgeographic.com/science/article/how-many-cells-are-in-your-body. ↩︎
- Saini, Rajiv. “Coenzyme Q10: The Essential Nutrient.” Journal of Pharmacy and Bioallied Sciences, vol. 3, no. 3, 2011, p. 466, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3178961/ ↩︎
- Dunn, Jacob, and Michael H. Grider. “Physiology, Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP).” PubMed, StatPearls Publishing, 17 Feb. 2022, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK553175/. ↩︎
- Manzar, Haider, et al. “Cellular Consequences of Coenzyme Q10 Deficiency in Neurodegeneration of the Retina and Brain.” International Journal of Molecular Sciences, vol. 21, no. 23, 6 Dec. 2020, p. 9299, https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21239299 ↩︎
- Hargreaves, Iain, et al. “Disorders of Human Coenzyme Q10 Metabolism: An Overview.” International Journal of Molecular Sciences, vol. 21, no. 18, 13 Sept. 2020, p. 6695, https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21186695. ↩︎
- “Coenzyme Q10.” Linus Pauling Institute, 28 Apr. 2014, lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/dietary-factors/coenzyme-Q10#food-sources. ↩︎
- Smoller, Dr Neal. CoQ10 vs Ubiquinol: The Ultimate Guide – Dr. Neal Smoller, Holistic Pharmacist. drnealsmoller.com/blog/coq10-vs-ubiquinol-the-ultimate-guide/. ↩︎
- Tsai, I-Chen, et al. “Effectiveness of Coenzyme Q10 Supplementation for Reducing Fatigue: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials.” Frontiers in Pharmacology, vol. 13, 24 Aug. 2022, p. 883251, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9449413/ ↩︎
- Cooke, Matthew, et al. “Effects of Acute and 14-Day Coenzyme Q10 Supplementation on Exercise Performance in Both Trained and Untrained Individuals.” Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, vol. 5, no. 1, 2008, p. 8, https://doi.org/10.1186/1550-2783-5-8. ↩︎
- Drobnic, Franchek, et al. “Coenzyme Q10 Supplementation and Its Impact on Exercise and Sport Performance in Humans: A Recovery or a Performance-Enhancing Molecule?” Nutrients, vol. 14, no. 9, 26 Apr. 2022, p. 1811, https://doi.org/10.3390/nu14091811. ↩︎
- Kumar, Adarsh, et al. “Role of Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) in Cardiac Disease, Hypertension and Meniere-like Syndrome.” Pharmacology & Therapeutics, vol. 124, no. 3, Dec. 2009, pp. 259–268, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pharmthera.2009.07.003. ↩︎
- Zozina, Vladlena I., et al. “Coenzyme Q10 in Cardiovascular and Metabolic Diseases: Current State of the Problem.” Current Cardiology Reviews, vol. 14, no. 3, 1 Aug. 2018, pp. 164–174, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6131403/ ↩︎
- Rabanal-Ruiz, Yoana, et al. “The Use of Coenzyme Q10 in Cardiovascular Diseases.” Antioxidants, vol. 10, no. 5, 1 May 2021, p. 755, www.mdpi.com/2076-3921/10/5/755/htm ↩︎
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