Mya Care Blogger 20 Jul 2023

Have you ever heard of the coenzyme Q10? Compared to other popular nutrients, it is probably not the first you will hear about. As with most coenzymes, it is similar to vitamins in structure and function.

Coenzyme Q10 is produced and present in different body parts, making it a non-essential nutrient. It can become essential with aging and other factors affecting the body's rate of synthesizing it. The coenzyme is also present in certain food substances and drugs.  In whatever form your body gets, this nutrient should not be found wanting in your body.

This article will highlight the importance of Q10, where it can be found in nature, its benefits, and how much you should consume to live a healthy life.

What is Coenzyme Q10?

Every human cell contains the naturally occurring substance coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10). As a coenzyme, its primary function is to help with the activity of body enzymes as well as speed up many vital biological processes.

CoQ10 is one of the catalysts that primarily help convert food consumed into energy required for bodily functions within the cells.  It can be found in major body organs such as the liver, kidney, pancreas, and even the heart, as it helps with optimal functioning. Despite not being very popular, it is gradually getting attention from science and medicine, especially when treating and managing various disease conditions.

The body can produce coenzyme Q10, but as people get older, their ability to do so decreases. Hence the need to look to food sources to help keep up with the body's demands. Other factors such as diet, medications, and diseases can also affect the production of this coenzyme.

Benefits of Coenzyme Q10

There are numerous health benefits of CoQ10 to the organs and functioning of the body. Here are a few of them:

Heart Health

This nutrient has a role to play in improving overall cardiovascular health. The heart requires a lot of energy to keep functioning. This is where CoQ10 comes in, as its primary function is to help increase the body's energy production rate.

Taking it in as a supplement has shown to help improve heart function in studies, besides regulating blood pressure and managing some heart conditions such as heart attacks. At the same time, low coenzyme Q10 levels in the body could lead to heart failure as well as the buildup of fluids..

Lungs Protection

Lung disorders that may arise from oxidative lung damage are asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). A good level of coenzyme Q10 in your body helps protect your lungs and reverse any damage, which improves breathing and respiratory performance.

Improved Neurological Health

Coenzyme Q10 helps when there is damage to any nerve in the body and reduces nerve pain. It has also been researched to help prevent neurodegenerative disorders as it helps protect the brain. These disorders include Fibromyalgia, Parkinson’s disease, and MultipleSclerosis, although low CoQ10 level in the body is not known to cause any of these.

Management of Migraines

Studies have shown that regular intake of CoQ10 supplements helps reduce the frequency and intensity of migraines. Usually, this type of headache occurs due to abnormal mitochondrial functioning, which affects the amount of energy the brain cells utilize. Hence the coenzyme Q10 helps improve the utilization of energy in the brain. This means if this coenzyme is available in the right amount in your body, you are at less risk of developing migraines.

Functions as an Antioxidant

As with most coenzymes in the body, the coenzyme Q10 also helps protect the body cells from free radicals and oxidative stress. These highly reactive molecules, known as free radicals, have the potential to seriously harm cells if they are exposed, which could lead to the development of a number of chronic disorders like cancer.

CoQ10 functions as a powerful antioxidant by neutralizing the effects of these free radicals, which in turn help promote overall well-being in the body. It also helps reverse the effects of aging on the body, which is one of the benefits of CoQ10 for women as it improves the skin.

Regulating Levels in the Body

A high cholesterol level in the body predisposes an individual to some conditions, which is where this coenzyme functions to help bring the level back to normal. Typically, statin medications are administered to help reduce cholesterol level, but it has some side effects which could deplete the CoQ10 level in the body as well as result in statin-induced myopathy.

This side effect is characterized by muscle pain, weakness, and fatigue. Taking in CoQ10 helps to reverse the side effects of this drug by improving muscle function as well as reducing the severity. Also, the coenzyme Q10 helps regulate blood sugar levels in diabetic patients.

Increasing Ability to Perform Exercises

Due to the role of this coenzyme in energy production within the body, it also helps increase overall muscle energy levels. A good supply of CoQ10 helps reduce fatigue, keeps you active, and improves performance in physical exercises with time. Individuals with compromised energy metabolism and angina can benefit from its supplementation.

Improving Fertility

With advancing age in females comes decreased quality and number of eggs produced, but one of CoQ10's benefits for women is protecting the egg from depreciating. In males, it also helps regulate sperm count, improving sperm quality and treating other conditions associated with infertility.

Natural Sources of Coenzyme Q10

Coenzyme Q10 can be found naturally in various food sources. The amount contained in different sources could vary. Irrespective of the fact that the body synthesizes this coenzyme, it is also essential to incorporate some of its sources in food into your diet to help regulate its level in the body. In addition to diet, supplementation could also be required to meet the body's demands.

Here are some of the food sources of Coenzyme Q10 found in nature:

1. Fatty or Oily Fish

These include herring, salmon, mackerel, trout, and sardines. All these fish species are excellent sources of coenzyme Q10 as they contain relatively high amounts. You can choose to consume them fresh to get optimal nutritional value.

2. Organ Meats

The liver, kidney, and heart of animals belong to this category of food sources and have been found to be rich in this coenzyme. However, you should note that they have high cholesterol content hence the need to consume them in moderation if included in your diet.

3. Muscle Meats

These include beef, lamb, chicken, and pork. They are also forms of meat that serve as rich sources of the coenzyme Q10.

4. Whole Grains

Wheat germ and whole wheat products also contain high amounts of this coenzyme. So, you should go for whole-grain bread, pasta, and cereals instead of refined grains.

5. Vegetables

Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower contain CoQ10 in small amounts. While their levels might not be as high as in other sources, they offer numerous health benefits, making them a great addition to your everyday diet.

6. Cooking Oils

Canola oil, soybean oil, and olive oil are rich sources of the coenzyme Q10. You can use them to cook, dress your salads, and even bake. They should also be taken in adequate portions.

7. Legumes

Lentils, soybeans, and peanuts are also included as sources of this coenzyme. Generally, legumes are a great addition to your diet due to other essential nutrients they provide, such as fiber and protein.

8. Nuts and Seeds

Sesame seeds, peanuts, and pistachios also contain and provide some of this coenzyme. They also offer other health benefits, making them a great addition to your diet.

It is important to note that the CoQ10 content in these natural food sources may vary based on the quality of the food, how it is processed or cooked, and the individual's dietary habits. This is why avoiding prolonged exposure of food containing the coenzyme to high temperatures is recommended to prevent nutrient depletion.

Furthermore, to increase your CoQ10 intake, it is essential to note that more is needed than consuming these food sources alone. You might have to add supplements to your diet to ensure an optimal daily intake, especially if you have specific health concerns. Consulting a registered dietitian also helps determine the best dietary approach based on your body’s needs.

CoQ10 Supplementation

Coenzyme Q10 comes in two different forms: ubiquinone and ubiquinol. Ubiquinone is the form found in food that changes into ubiquinol when it gets to the gastrointestinal tract to be absorbed into the body. 90% of the coenzyme found in the blood is ubiquinol. Due to this conversion process, this coenzyme’s bioavailability is greatly affected. Hence, the body might not get the sufficient amount it requires to function.

This is where taking ubiquinol supplements comes in to help fill the gap in supply to ensure this nutrient is absorbed and available for optimal use in the body. Most supplements come in tablets, soft gel capsules, hard shell capsules, and oral sprays. They mostly contain ubiquinol.

Also, it is essential to note that this supplement could interact with other medications, such as blood thinners and cancer drugs. It is vital to inform your healthcare provider about the medications you currently use to prevent adverse effects. There are also side effects of CoQ10, which include nausea, insomnia, skin irritation, fatigue, and digestion-related troubles. When choosing  CoQ10 supplements, select a reputable brand known for high-quality products.

Older adults with a heart condition and some neurological disorders mostly have a coenzyme Q10 supplement in their medications. One of the benefits of CoQ10 supplements being studied is their neuroprotective effect by slowing the progression of some neurodegenerative disorders like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases.

However, more research is needed to establish the precise mechanisms and optimal dosages for effective neuroprotection. It is also recommended for individuals living with HIV/AIDS to help increase immunity post-heart surgery and aggressive therapies such as chemotherapy.

The appropriate dosage of CoQ10 varies depending on factors such as age, health condition, and individual needs. Some individuals might even need to increase the fat content in their diet to absorb the supplement properly. On average, the required dosage is between 30 and 200 mg daily, which could also be as high as 1,200 mg, so you should consult your healthcare professional for the optimal dosage and form of CoQ10 supplementation.


The coenzyme Q10 is a fat-soluble nutrient similar in structure to vitamins with immense health benefits to the body.  Some coenzyme Q10 benefits include regulating blood sugar and cholesterol levels, improving heart function, protecting the body against free radicals, managing certain neurological disorders, and increasing energy levels, to mention a few. CoQ10 is naturally present in various foods, including oily fish, organ meats, lean meat, whole grains, nuts, legumes, and seeds.

However, Q10 supplementation is needed when there is a deficit. A CoQ10 supplement should only be administered by a medical professional, and the prescribed dose should be strictly adhered to, primarily when used to manage the disease. 

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