Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is produced by the human body and is necessary for the basic functioning of cells. CoQ10 levels are reported to decrease with age and to be low in patients with some chronic diseases such as heart conditions, muscular dystrophies, Parkinson's disease, cancer, diabetes, and HIV/AIDS. Some prescription drugs may also lower CoQ10 levels.
Levels of CoQ10 in the body can be increased by taking CoQ10 supplements, although it is not clear that replacing "low CoQ10" is beneficial.
CoQ10 has been used, recommended, or studied for numerous conditions, but remains controversial as a treatment in many areas.
Andelir®, CoenzymeQ, Co-enzyme Q10, Coenzyme Q (50), CoQ, CoQ10, CoQ(50), Co-Q10, CoQ-10, 2,3 dimethoxy-5 methyl-6-decaprenyl benzoquinone, Heartcin®, idebenone (synthetic analogue), mitoquinone, Neuquinone®, Q10, Taidecanone®, ubidecarenone, ubiquinone, ubiquinone-10, ubiquinone-Q10, Udekinon®, vitamin q10, vitamin Q10.
These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
High blood pressure (hypertension)
Preliminary research suggests that CoQ10 causes small decreases in blood pressure (systolic and possibly diastolic). Low blood levels of CoQ10 have been found in people with hypertension, although it is not clear if CoQ10 "deficiency" is a cause of high blood pressure. Well-designed long-term research is needed to strengthen this recommendation.
Promising preliminary evidence suggests that CoQ10 supplements may slow down, but not cure, dementia in people with Alzheimer's disease. Additional well-designed studies are needed to confirm these results before a firm recommendation can be made.
Angina (chest pain from clogged heart arteries)
Preliminary small human studies suggest that CoQ10 may reduce angina and improve exercise tolerance in people with clogged heart arteries. Better studies are needed before a firm recommendation can be made.
Anthracycline chemotherapy heart toxicity
Anthracycline chemotherapy drugs, such as doxorubicin (Adriamycin®), are commonly used to treat cancers such as breast cancer or lymphoma. Heart damage (cardiomyopathy) is a major concern with the use of anthracyclines, and CoQ10 has been suggested to protect the heart. However, studies in this area are small and not high quality and the effects of CoQ10 remain unclear.
Supplementation with CoQ10 has not been proven to reduce cancer, and has not been compared to other forms of treatment for breast cancer.
Cardiomyopathy (dilated, hypertrophic)
There is conflicting evidence from research on the use of CoQ10 in patients with dilated or hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Better research is needed in this area before a recommendation can be made.
Results are variable, with some research suggesting benefits, and other studies showing no effects. Most trials have not been well designed. Better research is necessary before a firm conclusion can be drawn.
Preliminary research reports promising evidence for the use of CQ10 in the treatment of Friedreich's ataxia. Further evidence is necessary before a firm conclusion can be drawn.
Gum disease (periodontitis)
Preliminary human studies suggest possible benefits of CoQ10 taken by mouth or placed on the skin or gums in the treatment of periodontitis. Better research is needed before a conclusion can be drawn.
Heart attack (acute myocardial infarction)
There is preliminary human study of CoQ10 given to patients within three days after a heart attack. Better research is needed before a firm conclusion can be drawn.
Heart conditions (mitral valve prolapse in children)
There is early data to support the use of CoQ10 in children with mitral valve prolapse. Well-designed clinical trials are needed before a recommendation can be made.
The evidence for CoQ10 in the treatment of heart failure is controversial and remains unclear. Different levels of disease severity have been studied (New York Heart Association classes I through IV). Better research is needed in this area, studying effects on quality of life, hospitalization, death rates, before a recommendation can be made.
Heart protection during surgery
Several studies suggest that the function of the heart may be improved after major heart surgeries such as coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) or valve replacement when CoQ10 is given to patients before or during surgery. Better studies are necessary before a recommendation can be made.
There is limited evidence that natural levels of CoQ10 in the body may be reduced in people with HIV/AIDS. There is no reliable scientific research showing that CoQ10 supplements have any effect on this disease.
Increasing sperm count (idiopathic spermatozoa)
There is early evidence that supports the use of CoQ10 in the treatment of increasing sperm count and motility. Better studies are needed before a strong recommendation can be made.
There is initial data to support the use of CoQ10 in the treatment of kidney (renal) failure. More research is needed before a recommendation can be made.
There is fair evidence to support the use of CoQ10 treatment in migraine prevention or treatment. However, more well-designed studies are needed to confirm these findings.
Mitochondrial diseases and Kearns-Sayre syndrome
CoQ10 is often recommended for patients with mitochondrial diseases, including myopathies, encephalomyopathies, and Kearns-Sayre syndrome. Better studies are needed before a strong recommendation can be made.
Preliminary studies in patients with muscular dystrophy taking COQ10 supplements describe improvements in exercise capacity, heart function, and overall quality of life. Additional research is needed in this area.
There is promising human evidence for the use of CoQ10 in the treatment of Parkinson's disease. Better-designed trials are needed to confirm these results.
Preliminary evidence suggests that CoQ10 does not affect blood sugar levels in patients with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, and does not alter the need for diabetes medications.
There is negative evidence from studies that used CoQ10 in the treatment of Huntington's disease.