Coenzyme Q10 and Mitochondrial Function

Coenzyme Q10 and Mitochondrial Function

By Amy Schade, PA-C



Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a fat-soluble antioxidant made endogenously that is essential for normal mitochondrial function. The mitochondria transfers electrons to produce energy in the form of ATP which powers cell function. CoQ10 is essential for this process and as we age, the level of CoQ10 produced naturally in our bodies decreases. Because of this, supplementing with CoQ10 may offer long-term preventative health benefits. 


CoQ10 has been shown to reduce levels of inflammatory markers including C-reactive protein (CRP), IL-6, and TNF-a. Elevated CRP levels are an independent risk factor for both diabetes and cardiovascular disease. IL-6 and TNF-a are associated with type 2 diabetes, kidney disease, and cardiovascular disease. As people age often their level of inflammatory markers increases as their endogenous production of CoQ10 decreases. Supplementing with CoQ10 can be a powerful tool for reducing inflammation; thereby reducing chronic diseases that often come with age.


A Swedish study published in 2015 showed a 50% reduction in cardiovascular mortality among a group of older adults who were given a supplement of CoQ10 and selenium for four years and then followed for a total of ten years. Selenium and CoQ10 are thought to interact to increase the conversion of CoQ10 to the active form of CoQ10 called ubiquinol. This impressive result calls for more research since it appears this supplement could have a significant preventative health role in cardiovascular disease.


CoQ10 has also shown that it has neuroprotective effects. Studies have shown that CoQ10 helps to improve the efficiency of the electron transport chain which prevents ATP depletion from mitochondria. In an animal model used to study neurodegenerative disease, CoQ10 was shown to have neuroprotective effects in Alzheimer's disease (AD), Parkinson's disease (PD), Huntington's disease (HD), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Although further research is necessary in humans, CoQ10 may have the ability to delay the progression of these illnesses.


As a powerful antioxidant that can reduce levels of inflammation, CoQ10 has demonstrated it can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, and possibly slow the progression of neurodegenerative diseases. The NIH Center for Complementary and Integrative Health states that “No serious side effects of CoQ10 have been reported”. Given the safety of this supplement, it is worth considering for the long-term prevention of cardiovascular and other chronic diseases.


Note: This is not medical advice and these statements have not been evaluated by the FDA, if you have any concerns about your health please speak with your doctor


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