Coenzyme Q10 is a unique trace element present in every cell of the human body. The Q10 coenzyme is tasteless and odorless, but its role is extremely important. This element with strong antioxidant characteristics protects cells from the damaging effects of oxidative processes, viruses, and bacteria. At a young age, the human body produces a sufficient amount of coenzyme Q10. However, over time, the synthesis processes slow down, which contributes to health problems and activation of the ageing process. Special cosmetics and dietary supplements help to fill the lack of a microelement and improve health and appearance.

What is Coenzyme Q10?

Coenzyme Q10 is a compound that is generated in the human body and stored in cellular mitochondria. It is mitochondria that are responsible for the production of energy by the body, and also protect cells from the effects of free radicals. Coenzyme Q10 (ubiquinone) is a fat-soluble substance. It is 95% associated with the production of cellular energy (ATP), which is necessary for the functioning of the heart, liver, kidneys, lungs, spleen, adrenal glands, and pancreas. ATP is the main “fuel” for cells, and coenzyme Q10 is its supplier (1).

The coenzyme is synthesized in the body on its own, but it also comes with food from 5 to 10 mg of ubiquinone daily. With age, the rate of coenzyme synthesis decreases (diseases, unbalanced diet, increased stress). Physiologically correct Q10 levels are critical to maintaining a high quality of life and feeling healthy.

Can coenzyme Q10 deficiency manifest itself at a young age? Yes, it can be related to:

The trace element CoQ10 is found in every cell of the body. Its highest concentration is observed in the liver, heart, kidneys, and lungs. The lack of a trace element lowers the natural protective functions of internal organs, which contributes to the development of chronic diseases (2).

Coenzyme Q10 is also used in the creation of cosmetic formulas. The element maintains skin elasticity, fulfils cells with energy, provides an optimal level of moisture, has anti-inflammatory and soothing effects, and stimulates collagen production.

CoQ10 mechanism of action

As we already mentioned CoQ10 also referred to as ubiquinone, is a fat-soluble, vitamin-like molecule found naturally in every cellular membrane in our bodies (1). It is a normal part of our diet but is also endogenously synthesized. It is essential for the proper transfer of electrons within the mitochondrial oxidative respiratory chain and adenosine triphosphate (ATP) production (3) CoQ10 can increase the production of key antioxidants such as superoxide dismutase, an enzyme capable of reducing vascular oxidative stress in hypertensive patients (4). CoQ10 reduces levels of lipid peroxidation via the reduction of pro-oxidative compounds (5). CoQ10 can enhance blood flow and protect blood vessels via the preservation of nitric oxide.

Coenzyme Q10 deficiency symptoms

With a lack of Q10 develop different syndromes and diseases:

Physically, with a deficiency of coenzyme, a pathological lack of energy is felt. One of the manifestations is the lack of strength to do anything at all. Strength may not be enough for the simplest things, not to mention how to work effectively, actively engage in sports, and resist stress (2).

Coenzyme Q10: health benefits

Today CoQ10 is widely investigated. Scientists confirmed that:

Without cellular energy (ATP), the body does not work as it should. The quality of sleep worsens, chronic lack of sleep appears, it is more difficult to achieve results in sports, extra pounds “stuck” and you can’t lose them (6). CoQ10 is jokingly referred to as the “cell spark plug”. Drawing an analogy with a car: if food acts as a “fuel” for the human body, then Q10 is a kind of spark plug that activates the production of cellular energy.

Free radicals produced in the body during energy production can cause irreparable damage to cells. Q10 is a fat-soluble antioxidant naturally produced to protect cells. The coenzyme performs two functions at the same time – it promotes energy production and neutralizes free radicals generated during this process. Some data suggest that supplementation with moderate-to-high dose CoQ10 in patients with mitochondrial disorders may influence bicycle exercise aerobic capacity (7).

The heart does not stop its work 24 hours a day – from the moment of birth until death. Such a rhythm requires regular and uninterrupted energy supplies – otherwise, the work of the heart will be disrupted, which will lead to various cardiovascular diseases. By creating energy in myocardial cells, Q10 supports the proper functioning of one of the main organs of the human body. It has a beneficial effect on the functioning of the heart muscle and can also contribute to the normalization of fat metabolism parameters. A recently published systematic review showed that supplementation with CoQ10, in addition to standard therapy in patients with moderate-to-severe heart failure, is associated with symptom reduction and reduction of major adverse cardiovascular events (8; 9). It may also improve functional capacity, endothelial function, and left ventricle contractility in congestive heart failure patients (8; 10).

Statin drugs, of note, block the production of an intermediate in the mevalonate pathway, a biochemical pathway that leads to the production of CoQ10 (11). Therefore, many physicians hypothesize that statin drugs may deplete the body of CoQ10. As muscle pain and cramping are common adverse effects of statins, they believe this depletion is the culprit (12).

Sufficient content of coenzyme in the body slows down the ageing process of brain cells and ensures its good functionality. By maintaining the right level of energy, Q10 helps to stay active and maintain cognitive functions (thinking, remembering information, intellectual flexibility). When supplemented alongside standard psychiatric medical therapy, CoQ10 appears to lessen symptoms of depression in patients with bipolar disorder (13).

CoQ10 can improve endothelial function in patients with ischemic left ventricular systolic dysfunction heart failure (14; 15). Likewise, when compared with placebo, CoQ10 appears to improve endothelial function in the peripheral circulation of patients with type-2 diabetes mellitus with hyperlipidemia (16).

The coenzyme has a beneficial effect on the indicators of immune defence. It fulfils the cells with the energy necessary to maintain the health of the immune system, helps to cope with the external infections’ attacks, and improves the processes of oxygen uptake by the cells. Interestingly, CoQ10 levels may be decreased in those with acute influenza infection (17).

The skin is an organ that is most exposed to the negative effects of external factors and ageing processes. Regular use of supplements and cosmetic products containing coenzyme Q10 increases the protective barrier of the dermis, including providing antioxidant protection that prevents cell destruction (18).

A cohort study of 1550 children and adolescents with headaches found that this population has low CoQ10 levels. Supplementation appeared to decrease headache frequency (19).

Male infertility has been associated with oxidative stress, and CoQ10 levels in the seminal fluid are considered an important biomarker of healthy sperm. Administration of CoQ10 improves semen parameters in the treatment of idiopathic male infertility (21). Concerning female infertility, the decrease in mitochondrial activity associated with CoQ10 deficiency probably affects the granulosa cells’ capacity to generate ATP (22). 

What is the difference between ubiquinone and ubiquinol

It’s important to remember that Q10 has two biochemical forms (23):

Ubiquinone is the oxidized form of Q10. It is optimal for 20-30-year-olds since at this age the body can easily convert it into ubiquinol, which is necessary for the production of cellular energy. With a deficiency of zinc and selenium in the diet, the transformation processes slow down. Chronicle and virus diseases also decrease it.

Ubiquinol is reduced, non-oxidized Q10. The most bioavailable (does not require additional biochemical conversion) form of coenzyme at the age of 35-40 years and older, as well as in the presence of chronic diseases. Also, it’s a benefit for young people with weak immunity, chronicle or acute diseases, and virus infections.

How to take Q10 correctly

Q10 is best absorbed with fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K) or in foods high in fat. The coenzyme is also absorbed with alpha-lipoic acid, taurine, or carnitine if the doctor has prescribed them additionally (6).

Q10 is often included in the composition of complex products to strengthen and support:

Coenzyme Q10 has been studied quite well. Studies have shown that the physiologically acceptable dosage for adults can be from 30 mg/day, optimally effective dosages – from 60 mg/day. The general recommendation for CoQ10 consumption is to take it with food and drinking water.


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  6. Saini, Rajiv. “Coenzyme Q10: The essential nutrient.” Journal of pharmacy & bioallied sciences vol. 3,3 (2011): 466-7. doi:10.4103/0975-7406.84471;
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  9. Bhatt KN, Butler J. Myocardial Energetics and Heart Failure: a Review of Recent Therapeutic Trials. Curr Heart Fail Rep. 2018 Jun;15(3):191-197;
  10. Belardinelli R, Muçaj A, Lacalaprice F, Solenghi M, Seddaiu G, Principi F, Tiano L, Littarru GP. Coenzyme Q10 and exercise training in chronic heart failure. Eur Heart J. 2006 Nov;27(22):2675-81;
  11. Zaleski AL, Taylor BA, Thompson PD. Coenzyme Q10 as Treatment for Statin-Associated Muscle Symptoms-A Good Idea, but…. Adv Nutr. 2018 Jul 01;9(4):519S-523S;
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