Think back to high school science class and try to remember how important the mitochondria are for the health of your cells. Anything that can help improve the function of mitochondria will have some positive effects and this is how CoQ 10 (also known as coenzyme Q10) supplementation can be beneficial.

Humans create CoQ 10 in our bodies, but supplementation can help to reduce inflammation [1], increase blood flow in the brain and body [2], and help improve mood and quality of life [3]. CoQ10 is also a powerful anti-oxidant that will attack free radicals and improve your general health.

Supplementing with CoQ10 can be useful if you are unusually deficient or you just want to improve the function of your mitochondria.

Also Known As

CoQ10, Ubiquinone, Ubiquinol, trans 2, 3-dimethoxy-5-methyl-6-decaprenyl-1, 4-benzoquinone

Editors’ Thoughts on CoQ 10

I have used CoQ 10 on multiple occasions especially after the personal recommendations of some close friends and Reddit /Nootropics moderators. I’ve never noticed a significant feeling associated with CoQ 10, but I’ve always felt more peace of mind using it.

Primarily, I use CoQ 10 when I know there is going to be a night that includes some alcohol or other substances. This is extremely rare for me, but when it does happen I prefer to have my body prepared to fight the side effects as best as they can.

If I’m feeling sick or I need a little immune system boost, I often turn to CoQ 10 as well. Again, it’s not something I feel, just an intuition on what my body might need as I consider this a general health tool that has implications for my brain’s energy metabolism.

Mansal Denton, Nootropedia Editor


Benefits of CoQ 10

The benefits of CoQ 10 are many, but for our purposes we will focus primarily on the brain. After taking a CoQ 10 supplement, users usually experience higher rates of Coenzyme Q10 in the brain, but this is usually less than in other parts of the body [4]. This can result in a series of cognitive benefits including neuroprotection against symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. One study showed that CoQ10 could reduce the loss in dopaminergic function by 30%, which is the main problems of Parkinson’s disease [5].

Some studies show that CoQ 10 benefits can include reducing the symptoms of depression. One study showed adding CoQ 10 over 3 weeks could have anti-depressive effects of up to 50% [6].

Given that CoQ 10 helps mitochondria with energy production, this supplement is generally useful for maintaining a base level of mental and physical health. Of course, with CoQ 10 “deficiency” (less than the average healthy adult), there are even more benefits of supplementation.

Unlike bacopa, modafinil or other nootropic drugs, coenzyme Q10 is not super powerful or effective at altering your brain chemistry. However, it works to aid the health of your cells similar to that of other supplements like creatine.

How Does CoQ10 Work?

The primary function of CoQ10 is to improve the function of mitochondria within the brain and body. Because it is important for the final stages of energy production, adding more of this enzyme can have a multitude of downstream effects.

CoQ10 Side Effects

Coenzyme Q10 is so involved with many aspects of your body that there are many unintended alterations when supplementing. Some of the CoQ10 side effects are related to men and fertility. Supplementation was found to improve sperm motility and could support enhanced fertility [7].

Other than some of these downstream and unintended effects, CoQ10 side effects are few and mild. Most supplementation is well tolerated at doses lower than 500 mg [8], but there are not many side effects recorded with much higher doses of 3,000 mg [9]. At the higher doses gastrointestinal problems may occur, but this is normal with almost any supplement taken at a high dose.

In general, CoQ10 is incredibly safe and can be taken regularly in order to support mitochondrial function.

CoQ10 Dosage

The CoQ10 dosage is going to depend on the needs of the user, but usually is in the range of 90 – 200 mg per day. The supplement is reliant on food (or at least fat) because it is fat soluble so it should be consumed with meals.

The recommended upper limit is 500 mg per day, which is usually overkill and unnecessary. However, even higher doses are tolerated according to the literature.

How and Where to Buy CoQ10

Finding a source of CoQ10 is not difficult given the usefulness and ubiquitous nature within supplement-taking communities. Many people have a “just in case” mentality with coenzyme Q10 because it is an antioxidant, is considered to be relatively safe, and is a molecule that our body synthesizes anyway, but in less than optimal quantities.

Therefore, many of the places where you can buy CoQ10 online are fine and usually do not come with any risks. We prefer to stick with brands that we know are high quality, which is why Nootropedia recommends Nootropics Depot for CoQ10, but most vendors will be a reliable source.

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Nootropedia is meant to be a resource for individuals researching drugs and supplements that are good for brain health, otherwise known as nootropics, and thus we are the Nootropics Encyclopedia. Because of our in-depth coverage of this topic, our community has requested that we cover other brain health topics and "lifehacks" so that has become the focus of Nootropedia.