CoQ10 (Coenzyme Q10): Benefits, evidence, sources, and risks

In this article, we discuss the health benefits and risks of taking coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) supplements.

What to know about CoQ10

CoQ10 is an antioxidant that the body produces naturally and stores in components of the cell called mitochondria. It has associations with energy, protecting cells, and providing heart benefits.

CoQ10 plays a few critical roles in the body. For example, the body’s cells need this compound to produce the energy that allows them to function.

As an antioxidant, CoQ10 also protects the cells in the body by neutralizing free radicals, which reduces oxidative stress in the body. Oxidative stress can cause tissue damage, inflammation, and cellular apoptosis, or cell death. There are links between oxidative stress and a range of disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.

Naturally occurring levels of CoQ10 decrease with age. Scientists have identified associations between CoQ10 deficiency and heart disease and cancer.

There is currently not enough evidence to support using CoQ10 to either prevent or treat cancer or Parkinson’s disease. However, it might help treat certain heart conditions and prevent migraines.

Researchers have also looked at the effects of CoQ10 on a variety of other conditions, but the results are inconclusive. These conditions include ALS, Down syndrome, Huntington’s disease, and male infertility.

CoQ10 supplements appear to be safe and well-tolerated.

Some mild side effects may include:

  • digestive problems
  • headaches
  • insomnia
  • rash
  • fatigue
  • dizziness
  • light sensitivity
  • irritability

Drug interactions

Taking statins may reduce the amount of CoQ10 in a person’s blood. Studies have shown a significant reduction in plasma CoQ10 concentrations following treatment with statins.

Additionally, CoQ10 may reduce the effectiveness of blood-thinning drugs, such as warfarin, and this may increase the risk of blood clots.

CoQ10 may also interfere with insulin and some chemotherapy medications.


Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a naturally occurring antioxidant that is present in almost every cell in the human body. Scientists have linked low levels of CoQ10 with various medical conditions, including heart disease and cancer.

People usually tolerate CoQ10 supplementation well, and the supplements produce few, if any, side effects. However, there is limited research to support the health benefits that CoQ10 might offer.

People can buy CoQ10 supplements in drug stores or online.

It is essential to speak with a healthcare professional before taking any new dietary supplements, including CoQ10.

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