How Important is CoQ10

How Important is CoQ10 

cell biology

How important is CoQ10? It is used by cells for growth and maintenance, naturally made inside the body with levels decreasing as you age, however, food sources such as fish and nuts are not capable of significantly increasing levels in the body (Mayo Clinic Staff). 

Coenzyme Q10 is primarily used to generate energy in cells - helping to make adenosine triphosphate (ATP) (involved in energy transfer within cells) - and serving a critical role as an antioxidant protecting cells from oxidative damage, therefore low levels of CoQ10 are associated with chronic diseases such as heart disease, brain disorders, diabetes, and cancer (Semeco). 

Important for The Heart

How important is CoQ10 for the heart? Significantly lower coenzyme Q10 levels were associated with 58 deaths out of 242 patients who were studied long term with acute cardiovascular disease (Shimizu et al.). According to the American Heart Association, low CoQ10 levels are associated with increased severity of heart failure but higher or lower levels are not indicators of increased risk of mortality, instead low levels could indicate severity (Sharma et al.).

Low Levels Associated with Brain Disorders

A brain disorder called ataxia is associated with low levels of coenzyme Q10 (Hargreaves). Other brain disorders associated include seizures and learning difficulties (Medline Plus).

May Be Root Cause of Diabetes

A selective deficiency in mitochondrial coenzyme Q in insulin resistant adipose and muscle tissue leads to a gateway of metabolic diseases such as diabetes, with data suggesting low levels of CoQ as a root cause for insulin resistance (Fazakerley et al.). Insulin resistance leads to prediabetes and type 2 diabetes (CDC). The data is almost indicating low levels of CoQ  leads to diabetes because it is suggesting it is one of the main causes, if not the main cause, of insulin resistance. 

Associated with Cancer

Low levels of coenzyme Q10 are associated with cancers - "Low blood levels of Coenzyme Q10 have been found in patients with myeloma, lymphoma, and cancers of the breast, lung, prostate, pancreas, colon, kidney, and head and neck" (Falloon).   

Critical for Everyday Bodily Functions

The body uses adenosine triphosphate (ATP) for crucial bodily functions, with the brain using the most ATP for neurotransmissions, muscle contractions (needed every day to live life) could not happen without ATP, and intracellular signaling, DNA and RNA synthesis, purinergic signaling, synaptic signaling, active transport are more examples of bodily uses of ATP (Dunn and Grinder).

How important is CoQ10? It is crucial for everyday life. People are unable to use many necessary bodily functions without it. Also, it is crucial for blocking metabolic diseases and brain disorders. 

In my opinion an unhealthy diet contributes to low levels of CoQ10. Eating a healthy diet should keep your levels at their proper levels. The fact that natural sources are not capable of raising levels significantly makes me wonder if it is meant to happen. Supplementing CoQ10 is possible, however if people ate a proper diet would supplements be necessary? Does this mean supplementing CoQ10 is only a temporary solution since the underlying issue still exists. I do not think it is a coincidence that low levels of CoQ10 are associated with diseases caused by obesity like cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. 

Works Cited

Dunn, Jacob, and Michael H. Grider. “Physiology, Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP).” PubMed, StatPearls Publishing, 2022,

Semeco, Arlene. “9 Benefits of Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10).” Healthline, Healthline Media, 12 Oct. 2017,

Shimizu, Megumi, et al. “Low Coenzyme Q10 Levels in Patients with Acute Cardiovascular Disease Are Associated with Long-Term Mortality.” Heart and Vessels, vol. 36, no. 3, 16 Sept. 2020, pp. 401–407, 10.1007/s00380-020-01698-7. Accessed 6 Jan. 2022.

Sharma, Abhinav, et al. “Coenzyme Q10 and Heart Failure.” Circulation: Heart Failure, vol. 9, no. 4, 24 Mar. 2016, p. e002639, 10.1161/circheartfailure.115.002639.

Medline Plus. “Primary Coenzyme Q10 Deficiency: MedlinePlus Genetics.”, Accessed 9 Jan. 2023.

Hargreaves, Iain, et al. “Disorders of Human Coenzyme Q10 Metabolism: An Overview.” International Journal of Molecular Sciences, vol. 21, no. 18, 13 Sept. 2020, p. 6695, 10.3390/ijms21186695. Accessed 18 Sept. 2020.

Mayo Clinic Staff. “Coenzyme Q10.” Mayo Clinic, 10 Nov. 2020,

Fazakerley, Daniel J., et al. “Mitochondrial CoQ Deficiency Is a Common Driver of Mitochondrial Oxidants and Insulin Resistance.” ELife, vol. 7, 6 Feb. 2018, p. e32111,, 10.7554/eLife.32111. Accessed 9 Jan. 2023.

CDC. “The Insulin Resistance–Diabetes Connection.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 12 Aug. 2019,

Faloon, William. “Life Extension.”, May 2022, Accessed 9 Jan. 2023.


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