One really popular dietary supplement that has become a staple in medicine over the past few decades is the powerful antioxidant CoQ10. CoQ10 occurs naturally in your body and is an important component for creating usable energy. Taking the right dose of CoQ10 can boost your energy and levels of coq10, improve physical performance, help neutralize free radicals, and help with your overall quality of life.
What is CoQ10
Coenzyme Q is a molecule naturally synthesized by many different organisms. While it can have several side-chain lengths in different organisms, the side chain is ten carbon molecules long in humans. This is why coenzyme Q is usually referred to as CoQ10.
CoQ10 is an important enzyme that can be found inside the inner mitochondrial membrane. This enzyme plays a vital role in the movement of electrons through the first few complexes of the electron transport chain (ETC) - the end of cellular respiration.
If you suspect you may have a coq10 deficiency, please visit a healthcare professional to assess.
ETC Complex I & II take energized electrons from NADH and FADH2 respectively using iron and pass them along to CoQ10.
CoQ10 then moves along inside the inner mitochondrial membrane to transfer the energized electrons to ETC Complex III, which packages them up in cytochrome C.
Cytochrome C brings the energized electrons to ETC Complex IV through the intermembrane space, attracting nearby protons. These protons then flow across the membrane, establishing a concentration gradient that ATP synthase uses to make ATP - the body’s energy currency.
Dosage and Health Benefits of CoQ10
Although the recommended daily dose of CoQ10 is between 90 and 200 mg a day, some people will need a higher dose based on their current health condition.
CoQ10 is recommended at times for those using cholesterol-lowering statins which lower your natural levels of CoQ10. This drop can lead to muscle aches and muscle pains. Studies have also shown it to be helpful as a preventive treatment for migraine headaches among other things.
Statins have been shown to deplete CoQ10 stores extrapolating cardiovascular problems in one area while alleviating another. Boosting CoQ10 that statins deplete is important, and science recommends a 100 mg dose per day.
Fatigue and Mental Health
As it turns out, CoQ10 is a powerful antioxidant; in the electron transport chain, it is specifically used to r0educe iron molecules time and time again to transport those electrons to ETC Complex III. But CoQ10 can use its antioxidant powers in more than just the ETC.
One study compared a placebo group to a group taking 100 mg of CoQ10 three times daily. They found a 33% reduction of attack frequency in those taking the CoQ10 supplement. The literature recommends 150-300 mg per day to reduce the effects of migraines.
Increases Male Fertility
In a study published in the Journal of Urology, men with unexplained infertility were given 200 mg of CoQ10 for 26 weeks versus placebo. The CoQ10 group experienced improvements in sperm motility, sperm count, and the size and shape of the sperm.
While this study did not look at the pregnancy rates of the experimental group, the factors that were shown to increase due to CoQ10 supplementation - sperm motility, sperm count, and the size and shape of the sperm - have been associated with pregnancy in other studies.
However, meta-analyses of the literature have yet to show a direct correlation between CoQ10 and pregnancy rates. The research in this area is still very much ongoing.
Increases Female Fertility
CoQ10 also has a reasonable impact on female fertility as well. CoQ10 has been shown to protect against oxidative stress-induced aging of the ovaries, restore the function of the mitochondria in the ovaries, and increase the ovarian response and embryo quality of women with a decreased ovarian reserve.
Like many other medications and supplements, CoQ10 does have possible side effects, albeit just a few. Some of these include:
Supplementing with Coenzyme Q
The research shows that there are tremendous health benefits to be gained from maintaining optimal CoQ10 levels and the extra boost might be beneficial as well for its strong antioxidant properties.
Here is some common question we get about CoQ10 supplementation:
Which Form of CoQ10 is the Best to Take?
CoQ10 comes in the form of Ubiquinone and Ubiquinol.
One study done with twelve participants compared the effects of 200 mg a day of ubiquinone and of ubiquinol for 4 weeks. The researchers found that supplementation with ubiquinone increased the plasma total of CoQ10 by 278%, while supplementation with ubiquinol increased the plasma total of CoQ10 by 478%. Later studies confirm the preference of ubiquinol by defining the digestive mechanism at play.
How Can I Increase the Absorption?
Another way that you can increase your CoQ10 absorption to get a supplement that contains Bioperine, which one study showed a significant boost in the absorption by about 30%.
When Should I Take my CoQ10?
For the answer to this question check out this article we did on the timing of CoQ10 supplementation.
Before you begin taking CoQ10 for any of your health needs, talk to your doctor first. It’s always important to coordinate closely with your physician and to rule out any underlying conditions.
CoQ10 is not a standalone cure for any health concern, but rather it’s a beneficial component of your care that can have synergistic effects. Talk to your doctor and see tremendous health benefits for heart health, energy production, fatigue and depression, infertility, and migraines.
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- Coenzyme Q10 Therapy | Molecular Syndromology
- Coenzyme Q10: clinical benefits with biochemical correlates suggesting a scientific breakthrough in the management of chronic heart failure | International Journal of Tissue Reactions
- The Role of Coenzyme Q10 in Statin-Associated Myopathy: A Systematic Review | Journal of the American College of Cardiology
- Coenzyme Q10 | American Family Physician
- Efficacy of coenzyme Q10 in migraine prophylaxis: A randomized controlled trial | Neurology
- Efficacy of Coenzyme Q10 on Semen Parameters, Sperm Function and Reproductive Hormones in Infertile Men | The Journal of Urology
- Sperm Motility Is a Major Determinant of Pregnancy Outcome Following Intrauterine Insemination | Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics
- Relation between sperm count and semen volume, and pregnancies obtained during a twenty-year follow-up period | International Journal of Andrology
- Influence of individual sperm morphology on fertilization, embryo morphology, and pregnancy outcome of intracytoplasmic sperm injection | Reproductive Endocrinology
- Coenzyme Q10 and male infertility: a meta-analysis | Gonadal Physiology and Disease
- Coenzyme Q10 restores oocyte mitochondrial function and fertility during reproductive aging | Aging Cell
- Pretreatment with coenzyme Q10 improves ovarian response and embryo quality in low-prognosis young women with decreased ovarian reserve: a randomized controlled trial | Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology
Meet our Experts
This article has been reviewed by members of our Scientific Advisory Board.
Dr. Jay Cowin, Nutrition Expert
Founder of Functional U, a Nutrition, Performance & Optimal Health practice.