Side effects of coq10

What to know about CoQ10 and its dosage

CoQ10 protects cells against oxidative damage. It also plays a vital role in producing the body’s primary source of energy, ATP. CoQ10 could, therefore, provide a range of health benefits. Some examples include:

Improving heart health

The heart contains some of the highest concentrations of CoQ10 in the body. The vast majority of people with heart disease also have low CoQ10 levels. Researchers now consider low CoQ10 levels to be an indicator of the severity and long term outcome of various heart diseases.

In one 2018 pilot study, ten children with cardiac muscle dysfunction received 110–700 mg of liquid ubiquinol per day. At weeks 12 and 24 of treatment, the children had significantly higher CoQ10 plasma levels and improved heart function.

Reducing muscle pain from statin use

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is an umbrella term for conditions that affect the heart or blood vessels. Doctors often prescribe statins to treat CVD. These drugs work by reducing the cholesterol production that can contribute to the disease.

Although statins reduce cholesterol production, they also lower CoQ10 levels. Reduced CoQ10 levels can lead to mitochondrial dysfunction, which can cause muscle pain, or myopathy.

CoQ10 supplements may help relieve muscle pain related to statin use.

A 2019 randomized controlled trial investigated the effect of CoQ10 on statin-related muscle pain. The study involved 60 participants who had previously reported muscle pain while taking statins. Over 3 months, each participant received daily doses of either 100mg of CoQ10 supplement or a placebo.

The participants who took the CoQ10 supplements had significantly reduced statin-related muscle pain. Those who received the placebo reported no change in muscle pain.

However, the authors of a 2015 meta-analysis evaluated the efficacy of CoQ10 supplementation for treating statin-related muscle pain. The meta-analysis included six studies with a combined total of 302 patients. The authors found no evidence that CoQ10 significantly improves statin-related muscle pain.

Further large-scale RCTs are necessary to determine whether CoQ10 is a viable treatment for people experiencing statin-related muscle pain.

Treating migraines

Chronic migraines may be due to inflammation of neurons and cells in a part of the brain called the trigeminovascular system.

A 2018 clinical trial investigated whether coQ10 supplements could reduce inflammation in 45 women with episodic migraines. The women took 400 mg daily doses of either a CoQ10 supplement or a placebo. The women who took the CoQ10 supplements had fewer and less intense migraines when compared to the placebo group.

Women who took the CoQ10 supplements also showed lower levels of certain inflammatory biomarkers. Inflammatory biomarkers are substances in the blood that indicate the presence of inflammation somewhere in the body.

A 2018 meta-analysis reexamined five studies investigating the use of CoQ10 supplements for migraines. The meta-analysis concluded that CoQ10 is more effective than a placebo at reducing the duration of migraines. However, CoQ10 did not appear to affect migraine severity or frequency.

Protecting against age-related diseases

Mitochondrial function decreases as the body’s CoQ10 levels naturally deplete with age.

Research suggests that mitochondrial dysfunction can contribute to age-related neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. These diseases are associated with free radical damage.

A 2015 study investigated the effect of a Mediterranean diet combined with CoQ10 supplementation on metabolism in elderly adults. This combination led to an increase in antioxidant biomarkers in the urine.

The authors concluded that taking CoQ10 and eating a diet low in saturated fat may help protect against diseases caused by free radical damage.

In another 2015 study, older adults received CoQ10 and selenium supplements for 48 months. The participants reported improvements in vitality, physical performance, and overall quality of life.

Coenzyme Q10 Side Effects

Generic Name: ubiquinone

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Note: This document contains side effect information about ubiquinone. Some of the dosage forms listed on this page may not apply to the brand name Coenzyme Q10.

Applies to ubiquinone: oral capsule, oral liquid, oral tablet, oral tablet disintegrating

Warning

Follow all directions on the product label and package. Tell each of your healthcare providers about all your medical conditions, allergies, and all medicines you use.

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Although not all side effects are known, ubiquinone (the active ingredient contained in Coenzyme Q10) is thought to be likely safe for most adults when used as directed.

Stop using ubiquinone and call your healthcare provider at once if you have:

  • very low blood pressure–dizziness, severe weakness, feeling like you might pass out.

Common side effects may include:

  • upset stomach, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite;

  • diarrhea;

  • skin rash; or

  • low blood pressure.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Some side effects may not be reported. You may report them to the FDA.

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Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)

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What is CoQ10?

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a natural antioxidant synthesized by the body, found in many foods, and available as a supplement. It comes in two forms: ubiquinol, the active antioxidant form, and ubiquinone, the oxidized form, which the body partially converts to ubiquinol. Many multi-ingredient supplements contain both forms of CoQ10. In general, coenzymes support enzymes in their various biochemical functions. Coenzyme Q10 is a vital participant in the chain of metabolic chemical reactions that generate energy within cells. It is found in every cell of the body (the name ubiquinone stems from its ubiquity), but is present in higher concentrations in organs with higher energy requirements such as the kidneys, liver, and heart.

Many medical studies demonstrate CoQ10 benefits when taken as a supplement, most of which stem from its vital role in oxygen utilization and energy production, particularly in heart muscle cells.

Why is CoQ10 necessary?

Coenzyme Q10 is beneficial for heart health in many ways. It assists in maintaining the normal oxidative state of LDL cholesterol, helps assure circulatory health, and supports optimal functioning of the heart muscle. CoQ10 may also help support the health of vessel walls. In addition, Coenzyme Q10 may play a role in reducing the number and severity of migraine headaches, and improving sperm motility in men. Some research has indicated therapeutic value in high doses to slow the progression of Parkinson’s disease, but a 2011 study by the National Institute for Neurological Disease and Stroke found no benefit in slowing symptoms or neural degeneration. A few small clinical trials have indicated CoQ10 supplementation may help prevent and treat inflamed gums, a condition known as gingivitis.

What are the signs of a Coenzyme Q10 deficiency?

Studies in both animals and humans have associated significantly decreased levels of CoQ10 with a wide variety of diseases. Since this enzyme is found in high concentration in heart muscle cells, deficiency has been associated with cardiovascular problems including angina, arrhythmia, heart failure and high blood pressure. Problems with blood sugar regulation, gingival (gum) health, and stomach ulcers have also been associated with CoQ10 deficiency. Those who are taking statins to lower cholesterol are at particular risk for deficiency, because not only do statins reduce cholesterol levels, but they also block Coenzyme Q10 synthesis in the body. Low CoQ10 levels in patients on statins can contribute to the common side effects of statin therapy such as fatigue and aching joints and muscles.

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Coq10

Ubiquinone is a vitamin-like substance that is made naturally in the body. Ubiquinone is also known as Coenzima, Ubidcarenone, Ubidécarénone, and Ubiquinol.

Ubiquinone is likely effective in alternative medicine as an aid in treating coenzyme Q-10 deficiency, or reducing the symptoms of mitochondrial disorders (conditions that affect energy-production in the cells of the body).

Ubiquinone is also possibly effective in preventing migraine headaches, lowering blood pressure, preventing a second heart attack, or slowing the progression of early Parkinson’s disease. Ubiquinone is also possibly effective in improving symptoms in people with congestive heart failure, nerve problems caused by diabetes, Huntington’s disease, muscular dystrophy, or macular degeneration (age-related vision loss).

Ubiquinone has also been used to treat Alzheimer’s disease, high cholesterol, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease). However, research has shown that ubiquinone may not be effective in treating these conditions.

Research also has shown that ubiquinone is not likely to be effective in increasing athletic performance.

Other uses not proven with research have included treating asthma, COPD, cancer, diabetes, certain heart problems, fibromyalgia, hepatitis C, kidney problems, high blood pressure during pregnancy, muscle problems caused by taking “statin” cholesterol medicine, and other conditions.

Ubiquinone is often sold as an herbal supplement. There are no regulated manufacturing standards in place for many herbal compounds and some marketed supplements have been found to be contaminated with toxic metals or other drugs. Herbal/health supplements should be purchased from a reliable source to minimize the risk of contamination.

Ubiquinone may also be used for purposes not listed in this product guide.

Follow all directions on the product label and package. Tell each of your healthcare providers about all your medical conditions, allergies, and all medicines you use.

Ask a doctor, pharmacist, or other healthcare provider if it is safe for you to use this product if you have ever had:

  • high or low blood pressure;
  • if you are receiving chemotherapy; or
  • if you smoke.

Ubiquinone is considered possibly safe to use during pregnancy. However, do not use this product without medical advice if you are pregnant.

It is not known whether ubiquinone passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Do not use this product without medical advice if you are breast-feeding a baby.

Do not give any herbal/health supplement to a child without a doctor’s advice.

CoQ10 (coenzyme Q-10)

Medically reviewed by Drugs.com on Mar 5, 2018 – Written by Cerner Multum

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CoQ10 is a vitamin-like substance that is made naturally in the body. This medicine is also known as Coenzima, Ubidcarenone, Ubidécarénone, and Ubiquinol.

CoQ10 is likely effective in alternative medicine as an aid in treating coenzyme Q-10 deficiency, or reducing the symptoms of mitochondrial disorders (conditions that affect energy-production in the cells of the body).

CoQ10 is also possibly effective in preventing migraine headaches, lowering blood pressure, preventing a second heart attack, or slowing the progression of early Parkinson’s disease. This medicine is also possibly effective in improving symptoms in people with congestive heart failure, nerve problems caused by diabetes, Huntington’s disease, muscular dystrophy, or macular degeneration (age-related vision loss).

CoQ10 has also been used to treat Alzheimer’s disease, high cholesterol, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease). However, research has shown that this medicine may not be effective in treating these conditions.

Research also has shown that CoQ10 is not likely to be effective in increasing athletic performance.

Other uses not proven with research have included treating asthma, COPD, cancer, diabetes, certain heart problems, fibromyalgia, hepatitis C, kidney problems, high blood pressure during pregnancy, muscle problems caused by taking “statin” cholesterol medicine, and other conditions.

CoQ10 is often sold as an herbal supplement. There are no regulated manufacturing standards in place for many herbal compounds and some marketed supplements have been found to be contaminated with toxic metals or other drugs. Herbal/health supplements should be purchased from a reliable source to minimize the risk of contamination.

CoQ10 may also be used for purposes not listed in this product guide.

Important Information

Follow all directions on the product label and package. Tell each of your healthcare providers about all your medical conditions, allergies, and all medicines you use.

Before taking this medicine

Ask a doctor, pharmacist, or other healthcare provider if it is safe for you to use this product if you have ever had:

  • high or low blood pressure;

  • if you are receiving chemotherapy; or

  • if you smoke.

CoQ10 is considered possibly safe to use during pregnancy. However, do not use this product without medical advice if you are pregnant.

It is not known whether ubiquinone passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Do not use this product without medical advice if you are breast-feeding a baby.

Do not give any herbal/health supplement to a child without a doctor’s advice.

How should I take CoQ10?

When considering the use of herbal supplements, seek the advice of your doctor. You may also consider consulting a practitioner who is trained in the use of herbal/health supplements.

If you choose to use CoQ10, use it as directed on the package or as directed by your doctor, pharmacist, or other healthcare provider. Do not use more of this product than is recommended on the label.

Measure liquid CoQ10 carefully. Use the dosing syringe provided, or use a medicine dose-measuring device (not a kitchen spoon).

To take the disintegrating tablet, use dry hands to remove the tablet from the package, and place it in your mouth. It will begin to dissolve right away. Do not swallow the tablet whole. Allow it to dissolve in your mouth without chewing.

Do not use different forms of ubiquinone at the same time without medical advice. Using different formulations together increases the risk of an overdose.

Your blood pressure may need to be checked while you are taking CoQ10.

If you need surgery, stop taking CoQ10 at least 2 weeks ahead of time.

Store CoQ10 at room temperature, away from light, heat, and moisture. Keep the medicine bottle closed when not in use.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not use extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

What should I avoid while taking CoQ10?

Avoid using CoQ10 together with other herbal/health supplements that can also lower blood pressure. This includes andrographis, casein peptides, cat’s claw, fish oil, L-arginine, lycium, stinging nettle, or theanine.

CoQ10 side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Although not all side effects are known, CoQ10 is thought to be likely safe for most adults when used as directed.

Stop using CoQ10 and call your healthcare provider at once if you have:

  • very low blood pressure–dizziness, severe weakness, feeling like you might pass out.

Common side effects may include:

  • upset stomach, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite;

  • diarrhea;

  • skin rash; or

  • low blood pressure.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What other drugs will affect CoQ10?

Do not take CoQ10 without medical advice if you are using any of the following medications:

This list is not complete. Other drugs may affect CoQ10, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible drug interactions are listed here.

  • Consult with a licensed healthcare professional before using any herbal/health supplement. Whether you are treated by a medical doctor or a practitioner trained in the use of natural medicines/supplements, make sure all your healthcare providers know about all of your medical conditions and treatments.

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Copyright 1996-2018 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 6.01.

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Other brands: Coenzyme Q10, Q-Sorb Co Q-10, elppa CoQ10, QuinZyme, LiQsorb

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Adverse Effects / Side Effects / Safety of CoQ10

Documented side effects associated with the use of CoQ10 in doses ranging anywhere from 30 mg to as high as 1,200 mg day in humans have been minor and are related to gastrointestinal problems.14,20 They include epigastric discomfort (discomfort in the upper / middle region of the abdomen) , appetite suppression, nausea and diarrhea in a very small number of cases. One interesting observation is that ingestion of CoQ10 late in the evening might cause insomnia 15 and this may be due to increased energy levels.
Even though the chance of adverse side effects is slight, there are two things that we suggest when taking Coenzyme Q10. First, take your CoQ10 with a meal. Taking your CoQ10 with food not only helps prevent stomach upset but actually aids in the absorption of CoQ10. Second, “front load” your dosage to the earlier part of the day – for example, if you were taking 400mg per day, you might want to consider taking 200mg with breakfast, 100mg with lunch and 100mg with dinner (early if possible!).
Is the safety of high dose CoQ10 supplementation well-documented?
Yes. The safety of high doses of orally-ingested CoQ10 in the form of ubiquinone over long periods is very well documented in the literature.14,23 The only side effects reported with a small number of subjects are mild gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea and stomach upset.14,17,23 In a recent study, doses as high as 3000 mg a day were found to be safe and tolerable in patients with Parkinson’s disease.8 According to Hathcock, et al 45 the observed safe level (OSL) of CoQ10 for chronic administration as a dietary supplement is 1200 mg/day. In a recent trial on the safety of CoQ10 in its reduced form as ubiquinol in human subjects, dosages of up to 300 mg daily for two months was found to be safe.43 Higher dosages were not tested in this study.
Safety data on high dose CoQ10 ingestion are also available based upon animal studies. In one study with rats, long term ingestion of CoQ10 at doses up to 1200 mg/kg body weight was found to be safe and well tolerated.46 In another study on the in vivo and in vitro mutagenic potential of CoQ10 based upon mouse bone marrow micronucleus, chromosomal aberration, and bacterial reverse mutation tests, CoQ10 did not exhibit any clastogenic activity when administered orally to mice at doses up to 2000 mg/kg/day. In addition, the CoQ10 did not induce chromosomal aberrations in CHL/IU cells exposed to high concentrations, nor did it induce reverse mutations in S. typhimurium and E. coli.47
8. Shults CW, Flint Beal M, Song D, Fontaine D. Pilot trial of high dosages of coenzyme Q10 in patients with Parkinson’s disease. Exp Neurol. 2004;188:491-4.
14. Sinatra ST. In: The Coenzyme Q10 Phenomenon. Keats Publishing, New Canaan, CT, 1998.
15. Pepping J. Coenyzme Q10. American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy 1999;56:519-521.
17. Fuke C, Krikorian SA, Couris RR. Coenzyme Q10: A review of essential functions and clinical trials. US Pharmacist 2000;25:1-12.
20. Greenberg S, Frishman WH. Co-enzyme Q10: a new drug for cardiovascular disease. J Clin Pharmacol 1990;30:596-608.
23. Langsjoen PH, Langsjoen AM. Overview of the use of coenzyme Q10 in cardiovascular disease. Biofactors 1999;9:273-84.
45. Hathcock J. ,Shao A. Risk assessment for coenzyme Q10 (Ubiquinone). Regul Toxicol Pharmacol. 2006;45:282-8.
46. Williams KD, Maneke JD, Abdelhameed M, Hall RL, Palmer TE, Kitano M, Hidaka T. 52-Week oral gavage chronic toxicity study with ubiquinone in rats with a 4-week recovery. J Agric Food Chem. 1999;47:3756-63.
47. Kitano M, Hosoe K, Fukutomi N, Hidaka T, Ohta R, Yamakage K, Hara T. Evaluation of the mutagenic potential of ubidecarenone using three short-term assays. Food Chem Toxicol. 2006;44:364-70.

Topic Overview

What is coenzyme Q10?

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a substance similar to a vitamin. It is found in every cell of the body. Your body makes CoQ10, and your cells use it to produce energy your body needs for cell growth and maintenance. It also functions as an antioxidant, which protects the body from damage caused by harmful molecules. 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.

Coenzymes help enzymes work to digest food and perform other body processes, and they help protect the heart and skeletal muscles.

CoQ10 is available in the United States as a dietary supplement. It is also known as Q10, vitamin Q10, ubiquinone, or ubidecarenone.

What is CoQ10 used for?

Many claims are made about CoQ10. It is said to help heart failure, as well as cancer, muscular dystrophy, and periodontal disease. It is also said to boost energy and speed recovery from exercise. Some people take it to help reduce the effects certain medicines can have on the heart, muscles, and other organs.

Heart failure

If you have heart failure, talk to your doctor before you take any supplement. There’s no strong evidence that vitamins or other supplements can help treat heart failure. They are used along with medical heart failure treatments, not instead of treatment.

But you may still hear about CoQ10 supplements and heart failure. CoQ10 has not been shown definitely to relieve heart failure symptoms. Only some of the studies of coenzyme Q10 showed that it helps heart failure symptoms.footnote 1

Cancer

In 1961, scientists saw that people with cancer had little CoQ10 in their blood. They found low CoQ10 blood levels in people with myeloma, lymphoma, and cancers of the breast, lung, prostate, pancreas, colon, kidney, and head and neck. Some research has suggested that CoQ10 helps the immune system and may be useful as a secondary treatment for cancer.

  • CoQ10 may keep the antitumor drug doxorubicin from hurting the heart.
  • Three studies examined the use of CoQ10 along with conventional treatment for cancer. The three studies contained a total of 41 women with breast cancer. In each study, the women improved.

But the National Cancer Institute (NCI) rates the strength of the evidence for CoQ10 and cancer as weak.footnote 2

Other claims

Research does not support a helpful effect of CoQ10 in periodontal (gum) disease, muscular dystrophy, or exercise recovery.

Is CoQ10 safe?

Taking 100 mg a day or more of CoQ10 has caused mild insomnia in some people. And research has detected elevated levels of liver enzymes in people taking doses of 300 mg per day for long periods of time. Liver toxicity has not been reported.

Other reported side effects include rashes, nausea, upper abdominal pain, dizziness, sensitivity to light, irritability, headache, heartburn, and fatigue.

Medicines for high cholesterol (statins) and medicines that lower blood sugar cause a decrease of CoQ10 levels and reduce the effects of CoQ10 supplements. CoQ10 can reduce the body’s response to the blood thinner (anticoagulant) medicine warfarin (Coumadin) and can decrease insulin requirements in people with diabetes.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate dietary supplements in the same way it regulates medicines. A dietary supplement can be sold with limited or no research on how well it works or on its safety.

Always tell your doctor if you are using a dietary supplement or if you are thinking about combining a dietary supplement with your conventional medical treatment. It may not be safe to forgo your conventional medical treatment and rely only on a dietary supplement. This is especially important for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

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.

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