CoQ10 (Coenzyme Q10): Benefits, Sources, and Supplementation

Chances are your cells could use a little boost to improve your overall health, cardiac function, and quite possibly even your athletic goals. While Coenzyme Q10 may not be a cure-all, it does make a wonderful preventative measure against the natural breakdown of our bodies and their functions. While you can get CoQ10 from food, the best, most efficient way to provide your cells with the nutrients they need is through supplementation. In this quick guide to Coenzyme Q10, we'll review the benefits, sources, and supplementation guidelines so you can have the tools you need to make an informed decision about your health.

In this ultimate guide to CoQ10, you'll learn

  • What Is CoQ10?
  • Why Is CoQ10 Important?
  • What Are Symptoms Of Low CoQ10?
  • What Are The Benefits of CoQ10?
  • What Foods Contain CoQ10?
  • CoQ10 Side Effects
  • CoQ10 Dosage
  • Should You Take CoQ10?

What Is CoQ10?

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a ubiquitous compound found in pretty much every organism ranging from bacteria all the way to mammals (that’s you!). It’s a vitamin-like nutrient that plays a critical role in making the most basic form of energy in the body, adenosine triphosphate (ATP) from the foods you eat. (1) While CoQ10 can be synthesized within the human body, everyone can greatly benefit from the supplementation of CoQ10.

Why Is CoQ10 Important?

Scientifically speaking, the main function of CoQ10 is to make ATP or energy, through the rapid rate of conversion of oxygen (O2) to water (H2O) at the cellular level in the mitochondria. When the chemical conversion of sugars and fats occurs, free electrons are produced, captured, then transferred (as well as protons, +) to oxygen molecules. (1) This results in reducing Oxygen2 to Water, which produces adenosine triphosphate (ATP) from the mitochondria and applies it to the rest of the cell as energy. CoQ10 levels are highest in organs that produce high rates of metabolism such as the heart, kidney, and liver, where CoQ10 functions as energy transfer molecule. (2)

Without ATP cellular functions are unable to do their job. CoQ10 plays an essential role in virtually every human tissue and organ health function! Talk about important stuff. When there’s an abundance of O2, thanks to CoQ10, the body is able to function at a higher capacity, helping fight against free radicals, and more efficiently break down carbohydrates and fats for energy. (3)

CoQ10 (Coenzyme Q10): Benefits, Sources, and Supplementation

What Are The Symptoms Of Low CoQ10?

CoQ10 plays a significant role as a lipid antioxidant (prevents the generation of free radicals and modifications of proteins, lipids, and DNA) in the body and with an insufficient level of CoQ10, your body suffers. When the concentration of coenzyme Q10 in the human body decreases, the respiratory chain becomes dysfunctional, which decreases the overall efficiency of our body at the cellular level. (4)

Symptoms of CoQ10 deficiency include:

  • chronic pain
  • weak immune system function
  • physical and mental fatigue
  • neurological disorders
  • Increased risk of obesity
  • Increased risk of heart disease

    What Are The Benefits Of CoQ10?

    1. CoQ10 Benefits: Reduce Free Radical Damage

    One of the main benefits of CoQ10 comes from its antioxidant properties. Dietary supplementation of CoQ10 can increase the resistance of mitochondrial membranes, proteins, and DNA to oxidative damage, especially in the tissues that are most sensitive to damage. Vitamins such as C, E, and coenzyme Q10 could reduce this free-radical formation, thereby minimizing skeletal muscle damage and fatigue and promoting tissue and organ recovery.

    Much like CoQ10, Vitamin C and Vitamin E need to be regularly replaced through diet and or supplementation because they are likely to be excreted in the urine when they become oxidized (lose their antioxidant functions). Luckily, CoQ10 is able to receive Vitamin C & E free electrons, recycling the vitamins as un-oxidized antioxidants and allowing them to continue protecting the body from oxidative damage. Coenzyme Q10 then transfers the gained electron to other antioxidants, shifting and completing the sequestration of the electron while regenerating itself.

    Without an abundance of readily available coenzyme Q10 in the body, free radical damage builds up leading to degenerative disorders and chronic diseases ranging in severity. Some examples include brain dysfunction, muscle weakness, loss of coordination and balance, seizures, poor muscle tone, muscle stiffness, and loss of vision.

    2. CoQ10 Benefits: Restores Cellular Exhaustion

    Some individuals express CoQ10 deficiency simply because they are unable to convert O2 to H2O within the body. Thus, they are unable to generate enough cellular energy. Some of the consequences of cellular exhaustion include the depressed or decreased function of usually normally functioning human ability. These include loss of bowels, rapid fatigue, exercise intolerance, loss of vision, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (enlargement of the heart), and hearing loss to name a few.

    A benefit of CoQ10 is that it enables the human body to restore the rate of mitochondrial respiration, muscle strength, coordination and exercise tolerance. While the symptoms of CoQ10 deficiency seem drastic, gradual CoQ10 deficiency can lead (to an overall loss of performance, quality of daily life, and normative human functioning. Essentially, you gradually lose the ability to live each day at your highest human potential.

    3. CoQ10: Improves Heart Health

    CoQ10 promotes healthy heart muscle energetics and cardiac contraction. The human body’s demand for CoQ10  is greatest within the heart muscle. Scientists discovered this fact when they discovered the demonstration of the sensitivity of cardiomyocytes to the drug, Adriamycin, which works in the body to prevent CoQ10 from passing electrons along efficiently. The result? The heart’s ability to beat becomes impaired. But good news! If the human heart contains enough CoQ10, the inhibition of contractions by Adriamycin will be overcome and the heart will continue to beat.14

    With regular supplementation of CoQ10 cardiac contractions in both men and woman are increased by an average of one-third, delivering more oxygenated blood through the body. These findings were published in the European Heart Journal after the study “Coenzyme Q10and Exercise Training in Chronic Heart Failure” was completed. (5) CoQ10 supplementation proves to be a powerful ally in maintaining the quality of heart health. It's so good, your heart will thank you for every beat, literally!

    CoQ10 (Coenzyme Q10): Benefits, Sources, and Supplementation

    4. CoQ10 Benefits: Improves Athletic Performance

    As an athlete, you demand a lot more from your cells in order to supply the organs, tissues, and muscles with the appropriate nutrients and energy required to perform at a high level for long periods of time. The amount of CoQ10 available in the body at the cellular level determines the rate of energy production by a cell. As an athlete, when your electrons are ‘in waiting’ while you exercise, if there’s no CoQ10, they don’t get transported to the O2 molecules to provide the appropriate production of energy asked by you, the athlete, for muscle contraction and oxygen delivery, especially by the heart.

    Providing your body with sufficient sources of CoQ10 Q10 is crucial to your overall health. The speed and power of contraction in the cardiomyocytes (heart muscle cells), is determined by the bioavailability of CoQ10 available for use within the mitochondria. Better heart function from supplementing with CoQ10 translates into not only better overall health, but better physical and mental performance as an athlete. You work on refining your movements and ability, why not refine your cells productivity while you’re at it?

    5. CoQ10 Benefits: Improves Energy

    The goal of pretty much any athlete is to train harder, faster, and longer while increasing intensity, duration, and performance outcomes. Coenzyme Q10 aims to do the same thing inside the human body at the cellular level. By increasing the supply of COQ10 via soft gel supplementation, an athlete naturally gains the ability to provide invaluable nutrients to an athlete’s muscles that support their overall athletic goals.

    Being that it is ubiquitous, all muscles in the body, including skeletal and otherwise (heart), can benefit from high quality and daily oral supplementation. While adherence to a training regiment itself will result in an improvement in peak power output, coenzyme Q10 supplementation significantly enhances peak power production in athletes as compared to those who do not supplement with CoQ10. (6)

    While CoQ10 doesn’t increase energy in the sense that caffeine does, cellular energy and ATP use at the cellular level within the body will become more of a refined and efficient process, resulting in increased time to exhaustion and lower serum oxidative stress. CoQ10 is a must-have supplement for endurance athletes. 

    Foods Containing Co-Enzyme Q10

    Approximately half the body’s natural CoQ10 is obtained through food such as meat, fish, nuts, oils, and dairy products. The average dietary intake of CoQ10 is only between 3-6mg, making supplementation critical to produce energy and neutralize harmful free radicals. Studies suggest that increasing CoQ10 content up to 200-300mg per day, over a period of 4-12 weeks, will help increase CoQ10 plasma levels. CoQ10 rich foods but, diet alone will not be able to supply ample amounts of CoQ10.

    You can obtain adequate levels of CoQ10 naturally through the foods that you eat such as

    • Tuna
    • Beef
    • Salmon
    • Milk
    • Yogurt
    • Liver

    RELATED ARTICLE CoQ10 Rich Foods

    CoQ10 Supplementation Side Effects

    CoQ10 supplements are generally well-tolerated, even when taken in relatively high doses. Rarely, gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea and diarrhea have been reported, as has mild insomnia. Piperine, which is sometimes added to CoQ10 supplements to increase bioavailability, may also cause side effects and may interact with certain medications. 

    **We always recommend consulting your physician before taking any supplement if you're currently taking any other prescribed medications.**


    Recommended Daily Dose of CoQ10 

    Wondering how much CoQ10 you should take a day? There currently is no recommended dose of CoQ10 (due to individual expression) and there is currently no established Upper Limit (UL) for the supplement. Dosage can be as low as 5 mg/day and can exceed 1200 mg/day without any clinically reported adversities. As far as the human body is concerned, the more CoQ10 it can get from diet and supplementation, the better off it will be! We recommended between 100-200mg daily.


    Should You Take a CoQ10 Supplement?

    Chances are your cells could use a little boost to improve your overall health, cardiac function, and quite possibly even your athletic goals. While Coenzyme Q10 may not be a cure-all, it does make a wonderful preventative measure against the natural breakdown of our bodies and their functions. Since CoQ10 is utilized by every cell in the human body, when you take a CoQ10 supplement you provide your body the nutrients it needs, especially at the cellular level.

     Ready To Add Coq10 To Your Supplement Regiment?

    Swolverine's CoQ10  helps produce and generate ATP more efficiently and has been proven to improve heart health, delay muscle fatigue, and improve peak power output in trained athletes.



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    Rahman, K. “Studies on Free Radicals, Antioxidants, and Co-Factors.” Clinical Interventions in Againg. (2007)

    Salviati L, Trevisson E, Doimo M, et al. Primary Coenzyme Q10 Deficiency. 2017 Jan 26. In: Adam MP, Ardinger HH, Pagon RA, et al., editors. GeneReviews® [Internet]. Seattle (WA): University of Washington, Seattle; 1993-2018.

    Igor Pravst, Katja Žmitek & Janko Žmitek (2010) Coenzyme Q10 Contents in Foods and Fortification Strategies, Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 50:4, 269-280

    Dietmar Alf, Michael E Schmidt, Stefan C Siebrech.”Ubiquinol supplementation enhances peak power production in trained athletes: a double-blind, placebo-controlled study“ Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition (2013)

    Chopra RK, Goldman R, Sinatra ST, Bhagavan HN. Relative bioavailability of coenzyme Q10 formulations in human subjects. Intern J Vit Nutr Res1998;68:109-113. [Pub-Med]

    Hathcock JN, Shao A. Risk assessment for coenzyme Q10 (Ubiquinone). Regul Toxicol Pharmacol. 2006;45(3):282-8. [Pub-Med]

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    Durán-Prado M, Frontiñán J, Santiago-Mora R, Peinado JR, Parrado-Fernández C, et al. (2014) Coenzyme Q10 Protects Human Endothelial Cells from β-Amyloid Uptake and Oxidative Stress-Induced Injury. PLOS ONE 9(10): e109223 [Pub-Med]

    Lass A, Sohal RS. Effect of coenzyme Q(10) and alpha-tocopherol content of mitochondria on the production of superoxide anion radicals. FASEB J2000:14:87-94. [Pub-Med]

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