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A representational image of the CoQ10 molecule

CoQ10 Pros and Cons

You might have heard about coenzyme Q10 – or CoQ10 – and its role in supporting your heart health.* But if you are considering including CoQ10 in your diet, then you should know all the benefits of this nutrient molecule, any side effects it might cause, and why there might be a need for a CoQ10 supplement, etc. 

Get all the answers to common queries about CoQ10's pros and cons, different CoQ10 supplement forms, and how to determine the efficacy of a CoQ10 supplement. Use the links below to jump ahead to different topics on the page.

Table of Contents
CoQ10: A Miracle NutrientWhat Are CoQ10 Benefits?
Are There Side Effects of CoQ10?CoQ10 Pros and Cons: A Comparison
Do You Need a CoQ10 Supplement?CoQ10 Supplement Forms
Ubiquinone versus UbiquinolWhat Is The Most Bioavailable Form of CoQ10?
FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions

CoQ10: A “Miracle” Nutrient

CoQ10 is an endogenous lipid-soluble compound that plays an essential role in cellular energy production. Although it is prevalent in all human tissues and organs, CoQ10 is mainly biosynthesized and concentrated in organs that have high metabolism rates and energy turnover, such as the heart, kidney, and liver. The beneficial effects of CoQ10 on different health functions, particularly heart health, have led to extensive CoQ10 research since the 1970s.      

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What Are CoQ10’s Benefits?

CoQ10 Pros

CoQ10 exerts an antioxidant effect and promotes the body’s natural inflammatory response to promote various health functions.* The therapeutic effects of CoQ10 increase the production of key antioxidants, such as superoxide dismutase—an enzyme that helps reduce vascular oxidative stress.* CoQ10 further lowers levels of lipid peroxidation by limiting the production of pro-oxidative compounds.* The antioxidant molecule preserves nitric oxide levels, which enhances blood flow and protects blood vessels. 

The following table summarizes the potential benefits of CoQ10.

Health FunctionCoQ10 Benefits
CoQ10’s potential cardiovascular health benefits include improving lipid profiles, protecting cardiac muscle tissues from oxidative stress, and maintaining optimal blood pressure.*  
Learn more about CoQ10 vs. fish oil to support your heart health. 
CoQ10 promotes healthy skin by limiting oxidative stress in skin cells, particularly the dermis layer.* It also helps maintain cellular metabolism by enhancing the mitochondrial functioning of aging skin cells.* Learn more about coenzyme Q10’s skin benefits.
Reproductive Health
The age-dependent decline in female reproductive potential is associated with cellular mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative stress. Experimental and clinical evidence1 suggests COQ10’s protective effects on reproductive health.* Learn more about CoQ10 benefits for women and CoQ10’s menstrual cycle effects. 
Immune System
Your immune system has intensive energy requirements. Because CoQ10 has a key role in cellular energy production, its adequate supply enables various immune cell types to function optimally.* Learn more about quercetin vs. CoQ10 and the perceived benefits for immune health. 

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Are There Side Effects to Taking CoQ10? 

Because CoQ10 is naturally present in the human body, its safety profile is well-established. Toxicity is unlikely, even up to an intake of 1,200 mg/ day. CoQ10 supplements are generally well-tolerated with only minor and infrequent adverse effects. However, it is worth noting that the safety of the use of CoQ10 in pregnant and breastfeeding women, children, and infants has not been established. The following table summarizes some of the possible adverse side effects of CoQ10.

CoQ10’s Possible Adverse Side Effects
Infrequent adverse effects: Stomach upset, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
Rare adverse effects: Headache, heartburn, fatigue, dizziness, irritability, etc. 
Contraindications: CoQ10 supplements might interact with prescription medicines for kidney and liver disorders, blood thinning, and glucose metabolism.  

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CoQ10 Pros and Cons: An Overview

As a lipid-soluble antioxidant, CoQ10 provides protection against oxidative damage to cellular components.* It is also able to regenerate vitamins C and E back to their active, fully reduced forms.* However, you should consider the possible side effects of CoQ10 and consult with your healthcare provider before including this therapeutic nutrient as a supplement in your diet. 

The following table highlights some of CoQ10’s pros and cons and its role in supporting various health functions.*

CoQ10 Pros and Cons
CoQ10 Pros  CoQ10 Cons
Cardiovascular healthClinical trials suggest the potential role of CoQ10 in maintaining optimal systolic blood pressure2.* CoQ10 might interact with prescription medicines for high blood pressure. 
Gastrointestinal healthCoQ10 can enhance3 the intestinal flora, supporting the growth of beneficial gut bacteria.*CoQ10 might cause minor side effects, such as stomach upset, heartburn, nausea, and diarrhea. 
Skin healthCoQ10 supports optimal skin health—stimulating collagen production and decreasing oxidative damage to the skin.* The potential side effects of CoQ10 can include skin itching or rashes. 

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Do You Need a CoQ10 Supplement?

Although CoQ10 is naturally produced in your body, its level decreases as you age. CoQ10 levels have been reported to be particularly low in individuals with certain heart conditions or those taking a statin medication to lower cholesterol levels. Statin medications lower the liver’s production of cholesterol, thereby limiting the low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (LDL) in the blood. However, they can also lower the amount of CoQ10 in the body, leading to a CoQ10 deficiency. 

CoQ10 is a normal part of a balanced diet, predominantly found in meat, fish, nuts, and certain fruits and vegetables. Although these dietary sources support endogenous CoQ10 production, they might not be enough to significantly enhance the depleting CoQ10 level in your body. This is when you need a CoQ10 supplement to support your health.* 

CoQ10 nutritional supplements are available as capsules, chewable tablets, oral sprays, and liquid syrups.     

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CoQ10 Supplement Forms

CoQ10 exists within the body in two forms—ubiquinone (the oxidized form) and ubiquinol (the reduced form). Ubiquinone and ubiquinol are a redox pair (oxidation-reduction) and are continually interconverted within cells depending on the demand for their various functions. 

To maintain a consistent quality of CoQ10 supplements, CoQ10 is produced in the laboratory by fermentation. Due to the inherently unstable nature of ubiquinol, which gets reduced to ubiquinone, CoQ10 supplements could only be produced in the ubiquinone form until very recently. New encapsulation techniques have now made it possible to produce CoQ10 supplements in the ubiquinol form.  

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Ubiquinone versus Ubiquinol?

When taken orally in the form of a nutritional supplement, ubiquinol is oxidized to ubiquinone by gastric acid before it is absorbed. In the blood and in the lymph, CoQ10 remains in ubiquinol form irrespective of the initial dietary form.  

There has been much debate about the relative bioavailability of the two forms of CoQ10 supplements. The initial absorption of CoQ10 into intestinal cells was previously thought to be enhanced by the reduction of ubiquinone to ubiquinol, leading to the assumption that the ingestion of supplemental CoQ10 in the ubiquinol form better facilitates the absorption process. The following table highlights some of the key differences between ubiquinone and ubiquinol.     

Ubiquinone versus Ubiquinol: A Comparison
Ubiquinone  Ubiquinol
Chemical formThe oxidized form of CoQ10The reduced form of CoQ10
FunctionRequired in the energy production of all cells except red blood cells; plays an important role in several steps of the electron transport chain in mitochondrial inner membranesProvides critical antioxidant protection, preventing oxidation of cellular membrane lipids and lipoprotein lipids present in circulation

Several studies report there is no significant difference in the relative bioavailability of ubiquinone and ubiquinol supplements. So, it is not necessary to take ubiquinol to enhance CoQ10 levels in plasma and plasma lipoproteins; i.e., taking a ubiquinone supplement will do the same. 

The bioavailability and absorption of CoQ10 depend on the supplement formulation and are independent of the CoQ10 molecular form. 

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What Is the Most Bioavailable Form of CoQ10?

Whether it is ubiquinone or ubiquinol, the bioavailability and absorption of a CoQ10 supplement depend4 on the formulation, especially:

  1. The composition of the oil matrix in which CoQ10 is dissolved,
  2. The proportion and addition of preservatives, such as Vitamin C
  3. The heating and cooling process used before filling the CoQ10 oil mixture into soft-gel capsules.   

CoQ10 supplement formulations containing nanoparticle complexes have been found to display superior bioavailability and absorption compared to supplements featuring uncomplexed CoQ10.

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FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions About CoQ10 Supplements 

How much CoQ10 should I take daily?

The average dietary intake of CoQ10 is 3 mg - 6 mg. Various oral formulations contain anywhere between 30 mg -  600 mg per serving of CoQ10. Although there is no established minimum or maximum ingested amount of CoQ10, the average amount necessary5 to attain a therapeutic blood level of more than 2.5 mcg/mL is 200 mg taken twice daily with a meal.   

Can I take a CoQ10 supplement with prescription medicine?

CoQ10 supplements can interact with prescription medicines. It is always recommended to consult with your healthcare provider before incorporating a CoQ10 supplement into your diet.   

How do I determine the efficacy of a CoQ10 supplement formulation?

The efficacy of a CoQ10 supplement formulation depends on its absorption and bioavailability. As mentioned earlier, the type of CoQ10 formulation plays a critical role in enhancing its absorption in the body.   

CoQ10 Pro is a unique CoQ10 supplement formulation developed by Tesseract Medical Research to ensure optimal absorption of the active ingredient to support cardiovascular health.* The proprietary CyLoc® - DexKey® nutrient delivery nanotechnology ensures unprecedented absorption of CoQ10 molecules in the intestinal tract—one molecule at a time. The CyLoc® matrix encases each CoQ10 molecule while the accompanying DexKey® reactors release each molecule at the desired point in the intestinal tract to achieve maximum absorption. Enhanced absorption enables micro-dosing—the ingestion of a lesser amount of CoQ10 to achieve a powerful and rapid physiological response to keep your heart healthy.*

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The power of Tesseract supplements lies in enhancing palatability, maximizing bioavailability and absorption, and micro-dosing multiple nutrients in a single, highly effective capsule. Shop products on our website and learn more about how they can help support your cardiovascular health.* 

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1Carneiro H, Fernanda M, Colaiácovo MP. Vitamins and Hormones vol. 121 (2023):143-167. doi:10.1016/bs.vh.2022.10.004

2Zozina VI, et al. Current Cardiology Reviews vol. 14,3 (2018):164-174. doi:10.2174/1573403X14666180416115428

3Zhao X, et al. The Korean journal of physiology & pharmacology: official journal of the Korean Physiological Society and the Korean Society of Pharmacology vol. 25,4 (2021):261-272. doi:10.4196/kjpp.2021.25.4.261

4Mantle D, Dybring A. Antioxidants (Basel, Switzerland) vol. 9,5 386. 5 May. 2020, doi:10.3390/antiox9050386
5Raizner AE. Methodist DeBakey Cardiovascular Journal vol. 15,3 (2019):185-191. doi:10.14797/mdcj-15-3-185

Al Czap, Founder | Tesseract

Al Czap has more than four decades of professional experience in preventative medicine. He founded Thorne Research in 1984 (sold in 2010) and he published Alternative Medicine Review for 17 years beginning in 1996. AMR was a highly acclaimed, peer-reviewed, and indexed medical journal. Al was the first to recognize the need for hypoallergenic ingredients and to devise methods of manufacture for and delivery of hypoallergenic products to underserved patient populations. His work has greatly impacted those with impaired immune and digestive systems and compromised health due to environmental exposures.

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*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
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