Coenzyme Q10

Coenzyme Q, or Coenzyme Q10, also abbreviated as CoQ10 is a fat-soluble compound that the body produces and obtains from diet. Coenzyme Q10 is important for the very basic functioning of our cells. It plays a ket role in enrgy production, natural antioxidant protection, and removal of cellular waste.

Musculoskeletal Benefits of Coenzyme Q10

1. Coenzyme Q10 is key for energy production & mitochondrial health

Coenzyme Q10 helps produce energy and boost mitochondrial well being. In the body, energy is stored in a molecule called ATP.  ATP is primarily generated in a special area of the cell, called the mitochondria. Coenzyme Q10 is both required to maintain mitochondrial health and to generate ATP.  Without sufficient coenzyme Q10 the body is unable to produce the necessary energy to fuel normal repair, maintenance, and growth.

Muscle and bone are metabolically hyper active; constantly building and breaking down. Any disruption in the building and energy processes causes a shift to an overall state of breakdown or “catabolism”. Many musculoskeletal diseases such as osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, and sarcopenia(muscle loss and weakness) can be conceptualized as a situation in which the cellular machinery that destroys overwhelms the cellular machinery that builds. Insufficient coenzyme Q10 can magnify and accelerate this catabolic process. 

2. Coenzyme Q10 boosts the body's natural antioxidant defenses

Fat is especially sensitive to oxidation. A frequent target of free radicals is the fat in cell walls. Damage to one fat particle rapidly propagates to many other fat particles like a chain reaction, a phenomena referred to as lipid peroxidation.  This event is catastrophic for the cell and often ends with a massive puncture in the cell wall. The contents of the cell leak out, severely comprising cell function and possibly leading to cell death. Coenzyme Q10 is both a potent antioxidant and fat soluble. Coenzyme Q10 easily dissolves into the cell wall and disarms the free radical before it can ignite a devastating chain reaction.  Coenzyme Q10 is an invaluable bulwark against lipid peroxidation and crucial component of the body’s overall strategy to prevent oxidative stress.

Additionally, coenzyme Q10 helps recyle vitamin E, another powerful fat soluble antioxidant.

Selected Evidence

1. Coenzyme Q10 boosts bone health

Chinese researchers evaluated the effect of coenzyme Q10 on rat bone marrow cells. The results indicated that CoQ10 significantly decreased bone resorption and markedly enhanced bone formation.These findings suggest a potential role of coenzyme Q10 in the treatment and prevention of osteoporosis. (Zheng et al. Coenzyme Q10 promotes osteoblast proliferation and differentiation and protects against ovariectomy-induced osteoporosis.Mol Med Rep. 2018 Jan;17(1):400-407.)

2. Coenzyme Q10 enhance muscle health

German researchers evaluated the effect of coenzyme Q10 on muscle strength in humans. The authors concluded both a low CoQ10 level and a low percentage of the reduced form of CoQ10 could be an indicator of an increased risk of chronic muscle wasting and decreased strength. (Fischer et al. Coenzyme Q10 Status as a Determinant of Muscular Strength in Two Independent Cohorts.PLoS One. 2016 Dec 1;11(12))

3. Coenzyme Q10 supports joint health

Korean investigators examined the effect of coenzyme Q10 on a rat model of osteoarthritis. The investigators found that coenzyme Q10 suppressed pain and cartilage degeneration by inhibiting inflammatory mediators, which play a vital role in osteoarthritis pathogenesis.(Lee et al. Coenzyme Q10 ameliorates pain and cartilage degradation in a rat model of osteoarthritis by regulating nitric oxide and inflammatory cytokines.PLoS One. 2013 Jul 22;8(7):e69362.)

Other Health Benefits

There are other conditions that coenzyme Q10 may assist, although more research is needed and for some conditions results to date have been mixed. Those include:

  • Asthma
  • Migraines
  • Kidney disease
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Lou Gehrig’s disease
  • Diabetes
  • Huntington’s disease
  • Tinnitus
  • Periodontal disease
  • Signs of aging 


Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA)

There are no standard guidelines as to how much Coenzyme Q is needed on a daily basis. The typical recommended dose for supplementation, is anywhere between 30 to 100 mg per day. 

Regardless of dose, it is not recommended that you take more than 100 mg in one sitting to help avioid any potential side effects. Doses higher than this are usually divided into two to three doses throughout a day. 

Top Nutritional Sources of Coenzyme Q

Despite the fact that the body makes Coenzyme Q itself, we do still know that we get more of this compound through our diet. It is suggested that most people get between three to five milligrams of Coenzyme Q through their diet every day if they eat meat, poultry, or fish. Vegetarians and vegans may get a similar amount from soybeans and nuts. A smaller amount of this compound is found in dairy products, eggs, fruits, and vegetables


Coenzyme Q10 from natural foods is generally well tolerated. 

Upper limits for coenzyme Q10 consumption have not been established given coenzyme Q10's low potential for toxicity.

Potential side effects include: gastrointestinal distress, such as diarrhea, nausea, heartburn, loss of appetite, and abdominal cramps.

Additionally, people who take the medication warfarin (also called Coumadin) should exercise extreme caution when considering Coenzyme Q supplements. Studies have shown that this combination can cause warfarin to stop being an effective anticoagulant.

Any consideration of supplementation should be discussed with a qualified health professional familiar with your unique medical history. 


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