UK researchers point to the lipid-soluble molecule’s ability to influence fatty acid metabolism, as well as mediating gene expression, including those involved in inflammation.
“CoQ10 has a central role in the metabolism of all cells, and a CoQ10 deficiency is linked to the pathogenesis of a range of disorders,” the team writes in the review.
“Brain, muscle and kidney tissues are particularly susceptible to the metabolic consequences of a deficit in the status of this isoprenoid, presenting clinically with disorders such as ataxia, myopathy and nephrotic syndrome, respectively.
“Early identification of such primary CoQ10 deficiencies is essential, since patients may show remarkable clinical improvement following CoQ10 supplementation when administered at an early stage of disease.”
By definition, CoQ10 is not a vitamin, since it is produced by various tissues within the human body serving to protect cellular membranes and both mitochondrial and extra-mitochondrial structures from free radical-induced oxidative stress.
CoQ10 is also involved in vitamin C and E regeneration and has a role as a mediator of inflammation, cholesterol metabolism and maintaining lysosomal pH.
Current daily requirements for CoQ10 are not known with certainty but has been estimated to be approximately 500 milligrams per day (mg/day).
A small amount of CoQ10 (approximately 5mg) is obtained from the daily diet, with most of the daily requirement being synthesised within the body mainly in the kidney, heart, skeletal muscle and liver.
The review, carried out by researchers from Liverpool John Moores University and vitamin and health supplement manufacturers Pharma Nord (UK), highlights evidence pointing to CoQ10 supplementation’s role in the improvement of some disorders.
These include the Q-SYMBIO 2 trial that found cardiac-related deaths and deaths from all causes fell by 43% and 42% respectively among patients taking 300mg of Q10 supplements a day along with their conventional medication over a two-year period.
Type 2 diabetes patients also look to benefit from CoQ10 supplementation as patients supplementing with 200mg of CoQ10 per day for three months were found to have significantly reduced levels of glycated haemoglobin (HbA1C).
HbA1C is a key indicator of how well diabetes is managed, with lower levels indicating better management.
Another study which saw type 2 diabetics taking 150mg of CoQ10 a day found significantly improved blood glucose and HbA1C levels after three months.
CoQ10 supplement quality
Despite the potential of CoQ10 supplementation the article’s authors add that CoQ10 supplementation’s beneficial effects are dependent on supplement quality.
“Any CoQ10 used in clinical studies should be manufactured to pharmaceutical standards and be of documented bioavailability in human subjects,” they review concludes.
The paper, which appears in the journal MDPI, adds that because supplemental Q10 initially comes in crystal form that is too large to be easily absorbed in the body, Q10 supplement manufacturers need to break these crystals down into single Q10 molecules that can be absorbed.
“The absence of such crystal dispersion in supplemental CoQ10 formulations reduces bioavailability by 75%,” the researchers write, highlighting a Spanish study on the bioavailability of different Q10 supplements.
“Secondary CoQ10 deficiency has been identified in a wide range of disorders, including cardiovascular disease, chronic kidney disease, type II diabetes and liver disease; depletion of CoQ10 may result in part from the increased levels of OS in these disorders,” the authors conclude.
“Again, significant symptomatic improvement in these disorders, particularly in heart failure, has been reported following CoQ10 supplementation.”
Published online: doi.org/10.3390/ijms21186695
“Disorders of Human Coenzyme Q10 Metabolism: An Overview”
Authors: Iain Hargreaves et al.