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The role of Coenzyme Q10 in the organism

COENZYME Q10, also referred to as ubiquinone, is a quinone derivative, just like vitamin K. Its structure is similar to vitamins A and E. It occurs naturally in every cell membrane. In a balanced diet, we supply it exogenously, but it is also synthesized endogenously. It has oxidoreductive properties and properties of a “catcher” of free oxygen radicals. It is an essential element of the respiratory chain, taking an active part in the transfer of electrons and protons. Coenzyme Q10 does not dissolve in water, but it is perfectly soluble in fats. Therefore, it should be administered immediately after a meal and not on an empty stomach, as it is better absorbed. In dietary supplements, it is in the form of capsules as a mixture of the active ingredient ubiquinone and soy lecithin.

vitamins: coenzyme Q10

Already several decades ago it was noticed that in some physiological processes (e.g. in the aging process), especially in the development of pathological changes such as cardiomyopathies, polymyopathies, arterial hypertension, as well as in poisoning after long-term administration of certain drugs, e.g. anti-cancer or hypocholesterolemic drugs, as well as in malnutrition (starvation, alcohol), the content of coenzyme Q10 in blood and tissues is reduced. The consequence of coenzyme Q10 deficiency is a bioenergetic defect, followed by disturbances in the functions of organs and systems, especially in the blood circulation system, metabolism, repair and regeneration processes, the immune system and others. In the light of recent studies, a decreased level of coenzyme Q10 has been observed in the heart muscle in cardiomyopathies and in coronary artery disease or in gingivitis and periodontopathies and others.

Natural sources of coenzyme Q10

The greatest amounts of this compound are found in beef and pork, and the most valuable source of CoQ10 is liver and heart. CoQ10 can also be found in chicken and fatty fish such as tuna, herring and trout. Some oils are also good sources of this substance, especially rapeseed, soybean, corn and olive oil. Broad beans, beans, lentils, peas, chickpeas, lentils and soybeans are other natural sources of valuable Q10.

Medicinal use

Taking into account the wide role of coenzyme Q10 in the body, many studies have been carried out on the possibility of using this compound in various disease states. It seems that the most important indications for use are cardiovascular diseases and parodontopathies. Beneficial effects can also be expected in some metabolic diseases, such as diabetes and obesity.

Indications for supplementation with coenzyme Q10 (potential):

  1. To improve endothelial function in patients with ischemic left ventricular systolic dysfunction with heart failure and in the peripheral circulation of patients with type 2 diabetes and hyperlipidaemia

    CoQ10 supplementation, in addition to standard therapy in patients with moderate to severe heart failure, is associated with a reduction in symptoms and a reduction in serious adverse cardiovascular events. It may also improve functional capacity, endothelial function, and left ventricular contractility in patients with congestive heart failure. There is also evidence that, when combined with selenium, CoQ10 supplementation in healthy elderly patients and elderly patients with diabetes, hypertension and ischemic heart disease may reduce the risk of cardiovascular mortality.

    To reduce pain, fatigue and morning fatigue in patients with fibromyalgia, which is chronic generalized pain in muscles and joints.

    CoQ10 showed the potential to reduce pain, fatigue and morning fatigue compared to placebo in patients with fibromyalgia.

    Relief of mild to moderate muscle pain associated with statin treatment.

    Notably, statins block the production of an intermediate in the mevalonate pathway, the biochemical pathway leading to CoQ10 production. Therefore, many doctors hypothesize that statins can reduce the amount of CoQ10 in the body. Since muscle pain and cramps are a common side effect of statins, they believe depletion is the culprit. Supplementation with 50 mg twice daily has shown the ability to reduce mild to moderate muscle aches associated with statins, resulting in an increased ability to perform daily activities.

    To reduce the frequency of migraines in adults suffering from migraines

    CoQ10 has also shown promise in migraine prevention. Supplementation appears to reduce the frequency of headaches. One study found that taking just 100 mg a day reduced the severity of headaches and the number of headaches per month in people with migraines.

    Alleviating symptoms of depression in patients with bipolar disorder along with conventional drug therapy

    Coenzyme Q10 seems to be supplemented with standard psychiatric therapy to alleviate symptoms of depression in patients with bipolar disorder

    To improve fasting blood glucose, insulin levels, and total testosterone in patients with polycystic ovary syndrome
    Improving subjective fatigue and exercise performance during routine cycling exercise in healthy patients

Side effects

CoQ10 supplements are generally well tolerated with only minor and rare side effects that may include stomach upset, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Doses of 100 mg or more per day have been associated with mild insomnia in some people. Other rare side effects included dizziness, photophobia, irritability, headache, heartburn and fatigue. Dietary supplements like CoQ10 are not strictly regulated by the FDA, and manufacturers are under no obligation to prove their safety and purity either before or after being placed on the market.


Studies on the use of CoQ10 in patients with kidney and liver disease are limited and should therefore be avoided in these patients. Patients using chemotherapeutic drugs should also avoid CoQ10 use, as there is little data on how CoQ10 interacts with these drugs. As CoQ10 has been shown to lower fasting blood glucose in some patients, it should be used with caution in those with diabetes and / or in patients prone to hypoglycemic episodes. The use of CoQ10 in nursing mothers, children and infants should be avoided as research in these populations is lacking.


CoQ10 is not approved by the FDA to treat any medical conditions, although it is widely available over the counter as a dietary supplement and is recommended by both primary care physicians and specialists. Diseases such as neurodegenerative diseases, fibromyalgia, diabetes, cancer, mitochondrial disease, muscle disease, and heart failure are associated with decreased levels of CoQ10 in the blood.


B. Sood, M. Keenaghan, Coenzyme Q10,
A. Danysz, Coenzyme Q10 and its role in medicine,
A. Czernic, M. Bartosz, J. Błaszczyk, A. Andysz, J. Błaszczyk ‑ Suszyńska, coenzyme Q10 supplementation for enzymatic antioxidant defense of red blood cells in healthy people.

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