Coenzyme Q10

Coenzyme Q10, called CoQ10 or ubiquinone, is one of those “new” nutrients that we’ve been hearing a lot about lately. It’s an antioxidant that plays a very important role in energy production for each cell of our body. CoQ10 is found in all of our tissues and helps with circulation, boosts immunity, increases oxygen flow to our tissues, and has strong antiaging effects. Things such as periodontal disease, diabetes and muscular dystrophy are all linked to CoQ10 deficiency.

Although CoQ10 can be synthesized within the body, deficiencies still exist. Certain nutritional deficiencies can cause the body to slow production of CoQ10. Also, if tissues are damaged from injury, poor nutrition, or something else, more CoQ10 is needed and therefore one could become deficient. Since people over the age of 50 tend to have increased CoQ10 requirements (due to normal wear and tear on the body, prolonged nutritional deficiencies, or other health issues), many of them become deficient and therefore experience decreased immunity and other complications.

Since the heart is one of the most metabolically active tissues in the body, it is especially sensitive to CoQ10 levels. About 50-70% of those who have heart disease are also deficient in CoQ10 (Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, Murray & Pizzorno). In addition, certain cardiovascular diseases such as angina, hypertension, and congestive heart failure all require an increased level of CoQ10. In a study done at the University of Texas, people who were being treated for congestive heart failure using CoQ10 in addition to conventional treatments had a 75% chance of survival after three years, compared with those who used only conventional treatment and ended up with a 25% chance of survival (Prescription for Nutritional Healing, Balch).

Another use for CoQ10 is to fight histamine. Therefore, those with allergies, asthma or other respiratory issues can benefit from increased CoQ10 as well.

For those who decide to supplement with CoQ10, most dosages are between 50 and 100 mg and can be taken anywhere from 1-3 times per day. Oil-based forms are the most bioavailable to our bodies, and if you can find one that contains a small amount of vitamin E, that is even better. Vitamin E helps to preserve the CoQ10 until it is taken. Since CoQ10 is oil soluble, it is best absorbed when taken with oily or fatty foods.

Some whole food sources of CoQ10 include mackerel, salmon, sardines, beef, peanuts and spinach. However, for people with any of the above issues, supplemental forms are most helpful in addition to getting it from whole foods. As always, consult your doctor before beginning any supplements.

I wanted to do this quick piece on CoQ10 because I think many of us hear about it but possibly do not fully understand when and why it is used. For the remainder of the week, I’d like to focus on something that is very important for each one of us: SLEEP! The nutrition / sleep connection is a strong one, so check back tomorrow for some important information…


  1. Ann,

    How do you measure CoQ 10 to know if we have a deficiency?

  2. Your doctor can do a blood test for CoQ10 levels. Keep in mind that cholesterol-lowering drugs and other medications can lower coQ10, so expect lower levels if you're on any such medications.