Last update: May 14, 2024

CoQ10: The Complete Guide

Explore the health benefits of CoQ10 in our complete guide, covering heart health, skin aging, and expert-backed insights for holistic well-being. Your go-to resource for improving your health naturally!

Stephanie Wright

By Stephanie Wright, RN, BSN

Edited by Dr. Dimitar Marinov, MD, MBA, PhD

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Key takeaways

  • Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a crucial antioxidant essential for cellular energy production, which supports various bodily functions.
  • Research highlights CoQ10's versatility in areas like fertility enhancement, migraine relief, exercise performance, and blood sugar regulation.
  • Natural production of CoQ10 decreases with age, leading to potential deficiencies that can impact health significantly.
  • Improving CoQ10 levels can be achieved through dietary adjustments and supplementation.

    What is CoQ10?

    Coenzyme Q10 (commonly referred to as CoQ10) is a vital antioxidant essential for cellular energy production in the body. Commonly associated with supporting heart health and overall well-being, CoQ10 plays a crucial role as a natural coenzyme [1].

    Your body needs CoQ10 as it is essential for vital functions in your body, playing a key role in cellular energy production, and acts as a potent antioxidant, supporting overall well-being. Adequate CoQ10 levels are essential for optimal health and vitality [2].

    Can your body produce CoQ10?

    Yes, your body naturally produces CoQ10, but production in the body begins declining after the age of 20-25 [15]. Intense exercise, stress, statin medication, chronic illness, and poor diet also contribute to low levels of CoQ10. Adding CoQ10-rich foods or supplements can help maintain optimal levels [1].

    A natural anti-aging skin saving enzyme

    CoQ10 helps neutralize free radicals, which can cause extensive damage to cells. This helps cells and improves skin health by protecting it from oxidative damage due to UV rays and aging, thus potentially reducing wrinkles and improving skin texture.

    Different types of CoQ10

    Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) exists in two primary chemical forms—Ubiquinone and Ubiquinol, each offering distinct characteristics and benefits in terms of bioavailability [14].

    1. Ubiquinone (Oxidized form)
      Ubiquinone is the oxidized version of CoQ10 and was the only form available in supplements before 2006 [16]. It supports mitochondrial health and cellular energy production. In the body, Ubiquinone converts into Ubiquinol after absorption. Although it is less bioavailable, requiring conversion into Ubiquinol to achieve its antioxidant effect, it is the form most studied and is well-documented in supporting cellular function.
    2. Ubiquinol (Reduced form)
      Ubiquinol is the reduced, electron-rich form of CoQ10, acting as a potent fat-soluble antioxidant and protecting cells from oxidative stress. It is considered more bioavailable than Ubiquinone and is recommended for older adults or individuals with health conditions that impair the conversion of Ubiquinone to Ubiquinol. Ubiquinol supports direct utilization in the body’s energy production pathways without the need for conversion, making it a preferred choice in terms of efficacy and absorption.

    How does CoQ10 work in your body?

    What are some benefits of CoQ10?

    CoQ10 is essential for maintaining good health. Here are a few benefits of maintaining sufficient CoQ10 in your diet.

    1. Supports heart health

      CoQ10 may enhance heart function by participating in improved energy production within heart cells. Preliminary research suggests potential benefits related to managing heart health, exercise capacity, and outcomes for people with heart failure [3].

    2. Promotes fertility

      CoQ10 may protect eggs from oxidative damage, and supplementation may be associated with potential benefits in egg quality and quantity. Some studies indicate potential support for sperm quality, activity, and concentration through increased antioxidant protection [4].

    3. Protects the skin

      Research on the topical application of CoQ10 has demonstrated its effectiveness as a protective barrier against oxidative damage from UV rays. Both preliminary human and animal studies indicate promising outcomes in reducing wrinkles and enhancing antioxidant defense, contributing to overall skin health [5, 19].

    4. Helps relieve migraines

      CoQ10 supplementation is being researched for its potential to alleviate abnormal mitochondrial function associated with migraines. Early findings suggest possible benefits in reducing the frequency, duration, and severity of migraine headaches in certain populations [6].

    5. Enhances exercise performance

      CoQ10 is being studied for its role in supporting exercise performance by potentially improving mitochondrial function, reducing oxidative stress, and minimizing fatigue. Research indicates potential effectiveness in inhibiting oxidative stress and muscle and liver damage markers during intense physical activity [7].

    6. Supports blood sugar control

      CoQ10 has shown promise in research on improving insulin sensitivity, regulating blood sugar levels, and reducing oxidative stress. Studies suggest potential benefits in decreasing harmful compounds and certain risk factors associated with diabetes and metabolic conditions [8].

    What are some signs of CoQ10 deficiency?

    CoQ10 deficiency can occur due to a failure of biosynthesis caused by a gene mutation (primary deficiency which presents soon after birth), inhibition of biosynthesis by HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors (statins), and, for unknown reasons, in aging and cancer [17]. Studies suggest that the depletion of CoQ10 may lead to [1]:

    • Fatigue and Weakness: Reduced energy production may lead to persistent fatigue and weakness.
    • Muscle Pain and Cramps: CoQ10 deficiency might contribute to muscle-related issues, including pain and cramps.
    • Cognitive Impairment: Some studies suggest a potential link between low CoQ10 levels and cognitive decline.
    • High Blood Pressure: CoQ10 deficiency may be associated with elevated blood pressure levels.
    • Gum Disease: Poor gum health might be a sign of insufficient CoQ10.

    Never self-diagnose

    If you feel you may have a deficiency or are concerned or curious about taking this supplement, talk to a doctor or healthcare professional. They can accurately diagnose and recommend the appropriate treatment plan for your specific needs.

    Sources of CoQ10

    CoQ10 can be obtained from various sources, primarily from foods but also from supplements when dietary intake is insufficient.

    CoQ10-rich foods

    Below is a categorization of various foods based on their CoQ10 content, helping you to identify sources that can boost your dietary intake.

    Is food intake always the best?

    Obtaining CoQ10 from food is generally recommended. However, in cases of significant deficiency, dietary restrictions, certain health conditions, and due to reduced production from agin, supplements may be necessary.

    Delivery methods

    CoQ10 supplements come in various delivery methods, each offering its own set of benefits and consumption methods. Here's a brief overview of the different delivery methods:

    Choose a method that fits your routine

    Do not overlook the delivery method. CoQ10 supplements come in tablets, capsules, soft gel, chewable, powders, and liquid forms—choose the one that best fits your daily routine to stay consistent.

    What to look for in CoQ10 supplements

    When selecting a supplement, several key factors must be considered to ensure you choose a high-quality product that effectively supports your health goals and overall well-being.

    • Dosage and potency

      The dosage of CoQ10 in supplements varies, so it's important to choose one that aligns with your specific needs. This includes considering your age, gender, and health status, like pregnancy or existing deficiencies. The CoQ10 formulation can impact its potency and bioavailability, which affects how effectively your body can absorb and use it.

    • Quantity and delivery method

      The delivery method is crucial. CoQ10 supplements come in various forms, including tablets, capsules, powders, chewables, and liquid forms. Your choice may depend on factors like ease of swallowing, convenience for traveling, or personal preference regarding taste and texture. Also, evaluate the quantity of CoQ10 to determine how long it will last based on your daily requirements.

    • Quality and manufacturing

      Quality is paramount when selecting CoQ10 supplements. Look for products manufactured under strict quality control guidelines and those that have undergone third-party testing for purity and label accuracy. Certifications from recognized bodies can be a reliable indicator of a high-quality product. Additionally, consider the manufacturer's reputation and transparency in their production processes.


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    How and when should you take CoQ10 for maximum absorption?

    To get the most out of your CoQ10 supplement, it's crucial to consider the timing and method of consumption. The following dos and don'ts offer guidance on optimizing absorption, efficiently supporting your health and wellness, and minimizing potential discomfort.


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      Take CoQ10 with a meal containing dietary fat.

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      Chew soft-gel capsules for enhanced absorption.

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      Consume CoQ10 with water for better absorption.

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      Consider taking CoQ10 with other fat-soluble vitamins.


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      Avoid taking CoQ10 on an empty stomach.

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      Do not mix CoQ10 with medications.

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      Avoid chewing or breaking the capsules.

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      Avoid taking CoQ10 close to bedtime.

    Who should take CoQ10?

    Taking CoQ10 supplements has its potential benefits, but it may not be for everyone.

    Recommended dosage

    CoQ10 plays an important role in many physiological processes, and getting the right dosage is essential for maintaining optimal health at different life stages. Here are the recommended dosages for CoQ10 across various age groups.

    Side effects of excessive CoQ10 consumption

    While CoQ10 supplements are generally safe when taken within recommended limits, excessive intake can have adverse effects [18]:

    • Digestive Discomfort: Excessive CoQ10 consumption may lead to digestive issues such as nausea, abdominal pain, and diarrhea.
    • Insomnia: Some people may experience difficulty sleeping when taking high doses of CoQ10.
    • Interactions with Medications: CoQ10 can interact with certain medications, particularly blood-thinning medications, potentially affecting their effectiveness.
    • Allergic Reactions: While rare, allergic reactions to CoQ10 supplements may occur, leading to symptoms like rash or itching.

    Always consult your doctor

    If you're experiencing side effects, consult your healthcare provider. They may recommend a different CoQ10 formulation or adjust your dosage. Balancing your CoQ10 needs with any discomfort is crucial and should not be overlooked.

    Health made easy: your go-to resource for essential vitamins and supplements

    Frequently asked questions about CoQ10 (FAQ)

    Our library of expert-authored articles covers just about every question you might have about vitamins, minerals, and supplements — along with some you might not have known you had.

    Final thoughts

    CoQ10 is useful for supporting heart health, skin health, fertility, and reducing damage from oxidative stress. Whether you're considering taking supplements or adding CoQ10-rich foods to your diet, understanding the details can help you make healthier choices.

    Sources and references

    1. Coenzyme Q10 - StatPearls - NCBI Bookshelf
    2. Bioavailability of Coenzyme Q10: An Overview of the Absorption Process and Subsequent Metabolism - PMC
    3. Clinical Evidence for Q10 Coenzyme Supplementation in Heart Failure: From Energetics to Functional Improvement
    4. Coenzyme Q10 and Male Infertility: A Systematic Review - PMC
    5. Effects of a Combination of Water-Soluble Coenzyme Q10 and Collagen on Skin Parameters and Condition: Results of a Randomised, Placebo-Controlled, Double-Blind Study
    6. Coenzyme Q10: Clinical Applications beyond Cardiovascular Diseases - PMC
    7. Coenzyme Q10 Supplementation and Its Impact on Exercise and Sport Performance in Humans: A Recovery or a Performance-Enhancing Molecule?
    8. Effects of coenzyme Q10 supplementation on glycemic control: A GRADE-assessed systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials
    9. Full article: Coenzyme Q10 Contents in Foods and Fortification Strategies
    10. CoQ10 and Aging - PMC
    11. CoQ10 and Aging
    12. Coenzyme Q10 supplementation – In ageing and disease - ScienceDirect
    13. Antioxidant Supplement Improves the Pregnancy Rate in Patients Undergoing in Vitro Fertilization for Unexplained Infertility
    14. Understanding the Two Forms of CoQ10 - Holistic Primary Care
    15. Disorders of Human Coenzyme Q10 Metabolism: An Overview - PMC
    16. Coenzyme Q10: A Miracle Nutrient Advances in Understanding - PMC
    17. Primary Coenzyme Q10 Deficiency: An Update - PMC
    18. Coenzyme Q10 - Mayo Clinic
    19. Coenzyme Q10 Sunscreen Prevents Progression of Ultraviolet-Induced Skin Damage in Mice - PMC


    Stephanie Wright avatar

    Stephanie brings over 13 years of diverse nursing experience to the table, having honed her expertise in critical care, mental health, and utilization management. Her journey as a registered nurse across these various healthcare sectors underscores her adaptability and deep commitment to patient care.

    Fact checker

    Dr. Dimitar Marinov avatar

    Dr. Marinov has years of experience in scientific research and preventive and clinical medicine. His publications in peer-reviewed journals are on nutritional status, physical activity, and musculoskeletal disorders among adolescents.

    At VitaRx, we're not just passionate about our work — we take immense pride in it. Our dedicated team of writers diligently follows strict editorial standards, ensuring that every piece of content we publish is accurate, current, and highly valuable. We don't just strive for quality; we aim for excellence.

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    Get your personalized vitamin recommendations in less than 3 minutes.

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    Get your personalized vitamin recommendations in less than 3 minutes.

    Take the Health Quiz