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Coenzyme Q10 (Ubiquinone) by Ginny Isbell, PharmD

Coenzyme Q10 is a fat soluble nutrient required for the body to produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP) which is our body’s main storage form of energy. Coenzyme Q10 is also an antioxidant, increasing resistance against infection and enhancing immune function. Co Q10 also reduces the stickiness of platelets decreasing blood clotting and has been shown to be beneficial in reducing blood pressure.

Coenzyme Q10 is necessary for all tissues and organs and plays a major role in the mitochondria, because Co Q10 is necessary for energy production it is needed the most in tissues and organs that utilize the most energy such as the heart, brain and gastric mucosa. These are also the tissues and organs that would suffer the most in cases of Co Q10 deficiency.

Coenzyme Q10 supplementation has been shown to be beneficial in many cardiovascular disease states including angina, congestive heart failure, hypertension, and mitral valve prolapse as well as in Parkinson’s disease, muscular dystrophy, and myopathy. There have also been studies showing that Coenzyme Q10 could be helpful in treating Chronic Fatigue syndrome, Fibromyalgia, and migraine headaches.

Coenzyme Q10 is produced in our tissues, although this production declines with age. Co Q10 can also be found in small amounts in foods such as anchovies, broccoli, mackerel, nuts, pork, salmon, sardines and spinach.

Coenzyme Q10 taken orally is generally well tolerated although, some may see abdominal discomfort with higher doses. It is also recommended that Coenzyme Q10 be taken earlier in the day to prevent insomnia from occurring.

There are many medications that deplete our bodies of Coenzyme Q10 including: Beta Blockers such as propranolol and metoprolol: Supplementation with CoQ 10 can help improve energy in patients taking propranolol.

Statin Drugs: Statin drugs work by inhibiting the conversion of HMG-CoA to mevalonic acid. Mevalonic acid is necessary in the formation of CoQ 10 and cholesterol. Studies have shown statin drugs to decrease CoQ10 levels in plasma and muscle.

Adriamycin, Chlorpromazine, clonidine, desipramine, doxepin, fluphenizine, fluvastatin, gemfibrozil, Glucophage, glyburide, haloperidol, hydralazine, hydrochlorothiazide, imipramine, phenothiazines, tolazamide, and trimipramine can also decrease Coenzyme Q10 levels in the body.

Symptoms of Coenzyme Q10 Deficiency include fatigue, muscle weakness, and excessive free radicals.

If you are taking any of the above medications or think you could benefit from Coenzyme Q10 ask one of our pharmacists for a recommendation on a Coenzyme Q10 supplement that is right for you.

Caution should be taken with supplementing Coenzyme Q10 while taking warfarin. Coenzyme Q10 supplementation may cause a decrease in INR in patients taking warfarin.


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Smith PW. What you must know about Vitamins, minerals, herbs & more: Choosing the nutrients that are right for you. Garden City Park (NY): Square One Publishers; 2008. p. 189-191.