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Coenzyme Q10


Laura Shane-McWhorter

, PharmD, University of Utah College of Pharmacy

Last full review/revision Jul 2020| Content last modified Jul 2020

Coenzyme Q10 (ubiquinone) is an enzyme that is naturally produced in the body. It participates in the energy-managing processes of cells and has an antioxidant effect. Antioxidants protect cells against damage by free radicals, which are highly chemically active by-products of normal cell activity. The levels of coenzyme Q10 seem to be lower in older people and in people with chronic diseases, such as heart problems, cancer, Parkinson disease, diabetes, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection or AIDS, and muscular dystrophies. However, it is not known whether these low levels contribute to these disorders.

Rich dietary sources of coenzyme Q10 are meat, fish, and vegetable oils.

(See also Overview of Dietary Supplements.)

Medicinal claims

Coenzyme Q10 is being studied for use in people with heart failure, diabetes, and degenerative neurologic disorders, such as Parkinson disease. Coenzyme Q10 may also help protect the heart from the toxic effects of certain cancer chemotherapy drugs (such as doxorubicin and daunorubicin). Although some preliminary studies suggest coenzyme Q10 may possess protective properties, more testing is needed. Coenzyme Q10 has also been studied as a drug to help relieve muscle pain, weakness, cramps, and soreness, but its effectiveness is not clear.

Possible side effects

Side effects are uncommon, but some people have digestive symptoms, such as abdominal pain, nausea, heartburn, diarrhea, and vomiting, and central nervous system symptoms, such as dizziness, light sensitivity, irritability, and headache. Other side effects include skin itching, rash, loss of appetite, fatigue, and flu-like symptoms.

Possible drug interactions

Coenzyme Q10 may decrease response to the anticoagulant warfarin, which prevents blood clots.

More Information about Coenzyme Q10

The following is an English-language resource that may be useful. Please note that THE MANUAL is not responsible for the content of this resource.

  • National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health: General information on the use of CoQ10 as a dietary supplement

Drugs Mentioned In This Article

Generic Name Select Brand Names
warfarin COUMADIN

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