1CoQ10 Overview

Coenzyme Q10, also known as ubiquinone, ubidecarenone, coenzyme Q, and abbreviated at times to CoQ10/ˌk ˌkjuː ˈtɛn/, CoQ, or Q10 is a co-enzyme that is ubiquitous in animals and most bacteria (hence the name ubiquinone).

This fat-soluble substance, which resembles a vitamin, is present in all respiring eukaryotic cells (any organism whose cells have a cell nucleus and other organelles enclosed within membranes), primarily in the mitochondria. It is a component of the electron transport chain and participates in aerobic cellular respiration (a set of metabolic reactions and processes that take place in the cells of organisms to convert biochemical energy from nutrients into adenosine triphosphate (ATP), and then release waste products), which generates energy in the form of ATP. Ninety-five percent of the human body’s energy is generated this way. Therefore, those organs with the highest energy requirements—such as the heart, liver, and kidney—have the highest CoQ10 concentrations.

CoQ10 is naturally present in small amounts in a wide variety of foods, but levels are particularly high in organ meats such as heart, liver, and kidney, as well as beef, soy oil, sardines, mackerel, and peanuts.

Meat and fish are the richest sources of dietary CoQ10; levels over 50 mg/kg may be found in beef, pork, chicken heart, and chicken liver. Dairy products are much poorer sources of CoQ10compared to animal tissues. Vegetable oils also are quite rich in CoQ10. Within vegetables, parsley and perilla are the richest CoQ10 sources, but significant differences in their CoQ10 levels may be found in the literature. Broccoli, grapes, and cauliflower are modest sources of CoQ10. Most fruit and berries represent a poor to very poor source of CoQ10, with the exception of avocados, which have a relatively high CoQ10 content.

CoQ10 levels in selected foods
Food CoQ10 concentration (mg/kg)
Beef heart 113
liver 39–50
muscle 26–40
Pork heart 11.8–128.2
liver 22.7–54.0
muscle 13.8–45.0
Chicken heart 116.2–132.2
Fish sardine 5–64
mackerel
red flesh 43–67
white flesh 11–16
salmon 4–8
tuna 5
Oils soybean 54–280
olive 4–160
grapeseed 64–73
sunflower 4–15
rice bran
coconut
canola 64–73
Nuts peanut 27
walnut 19
sesame seed 18–23
pistachio 20
hazelnut 17
almond 5–14
Vegetables parsley 8–26
broccoli 6–9
cauliflower 2–7
spinach up to 10
Chinese cabbage 2–5
Fruit avocado 10
blackcurrant 3
grape 6–7
strawberry 1
orange 1–2
grapefruit 1
apple 1
banana 1

2CoQ10 And Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

CoQ10, is used by some patients for its potential ability to slow neurodegenerative diseases. Research on its efficacy is mixed, however some studies have shown a small positive effect of CoQ10 in patients with a variety of neurological disorders.

CoQ10 deficiency does not appear to be a risk factor for MS, but the supplement is typically well tolerated and generally safe. More research is necessary towards application and impacts on multiple sclerosis.

Some research has suggested CoQ10 may help towards neuron protection while other research suggests CoQ10 may strengthen the immune system which may result in more disease activity.

Recent research has suggested that CoQ10 may have positive impacts on fatigue and depression with multiple sclerosis.

Advice in CoQ10 supplementation from other patients should not be considered as supporting information.  Each individual has differing physiology and more research needs to take place to understand if and/or what CoQ10’s role might be in MS.

3CoQ10 and Multiple Sclerosis Research

Coenzyme Q10 as a treatment for fatigue and depression in multiple sclerosis patients: A double blind randomized clinical trial.

2016

a randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial to determine the effect of CoQ10 supplement (500 mg/day) vs. placebo for 12 weeks. Fatigue symptoms were quantified by means of fatigue severity scale (FSS) and the Beck depression inventory (BDI) was used to assess depressive symptoms. The study suggests that CoQ10 supplementation (500 mg/day) can improve fatigue and depression in patients with multiple sclerosis.
Source: Tehran University
View Study

4Dietary Supplements

When using dietary supplements, keep in mind the following:

  • Like conventional medicines, dietary supplements may cause side effects, trigger allergic reactions, or interact with prescription and nonprescription medicines or other supplements you might be taking. A side effect or interaction with another medicine or supplement may make other health conditions worse. Always tell your doctor or pharmacist about all dietary supplements you are taking.
  • The way dietary supplements are manufactured may not be standardized. Because of this, how well they work or any side effects they cause may differ among brands or even within different lots of the same brand. The form of supplement that you buy in health food or grocery stores may not be the same as the form used in research.
  • Other than for vitamins and minerals, the long-term effects of most dietary supplements are not known.
  • Don’t be seduced by low prices. While you may see what appears to be a low priced source of a supplement on a TV shopping channel, the Internet, or in a warehouse store, you aren’t always guaranteed that a product delivers the dosage listed on the label. While there are many reputable brands sold these ways, you need to be an informed shopper.
  • Check expiration dates. Sometimes a supplement will come with a really low price tag because it’s coming up on its expiration date and needs to be sold quickly. So, check the label date. If the “sell by” or expiration date gives you enough time to use the product, it could be a good deal. But if there’s no expiration date, it’s very likely that the supplement dosage isn’t as high as what’s listed on the label.
  • Ask questions before you buy. Make sure that any supplement you purchase is independently tested to ensure that it meets the dosage listed on the label.

Multiple Sclerosis is often an extremely complex health condition.  Changes in management of MS should always be discussed with your health care team accordingly before making any alterations to life with MS.

5Dosing

For general health, a CoQ10 dosage of of 50-100 mg daily can be considered. If you are taking a cholesterol-lowering statin drug, or are over 60, a CoQ10 dosage of 100-200 mg may be considered.

As with many supplements the quality of the product can vary widely with some products stated dosing amounts being far from true.  Some CoQ10 supplements state 30 mg per dose on their label yet in testing had less than 1 mg per dose.

Multiple Sclerosis is often an extremely complex health condition.  Changes in management of MS should always be discussed with your health care team accordingly before making any alterations to life with MS.

6Warnings

CoQ10 supplements appear to be safe and to produce few side effects when taken as directed.

Mild side effects might include:

  • Upper abdominal pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Rashes
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Light sensitivity
  • Irritability

The safety of use of CoQ10 during pregnancy and breast-feeding hasn’t been established. Don’t use CoQ10 if you’re pregnant or breast-feeding.

  • Studies have not reported serious side effects related to CoQ10 use.
  • The most common side effects of CoQ10 include insomnia, increased liver enzymes, rashes, nausea, upper abdominal pain, dizziness, sensitivity to light, irritability, headaches, heartburn, and fatigue.
  • CoQ10 should not be used by women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Statins may lower the levels of CoQ10 in the blood. However, it is unclear what type of health effect this may have on an individual.

Medication Interactions

Possible interactions include:

  • Anticoagulants. CoQ10 might make blood-thinning drugs, such as warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven), less effective. This could increase the risk of a blood clot.