Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) and Mitochondrial Function

// Sarah Cook, ND

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) and Mitochondrial Function

Prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, and dietary supplements all present some level of risk. Most concerning of these risks is the potential for damage to vital organs. Professional and governmental organizations recently collaborated to publish LiverTox, an online resource for medical professionals that provides a list of the riskiest medications along with continually updated information.1 In addition, practitioners can use this DNI (drug-nutrient interaction) checker to view potential drug and nutrient interactions that could affect their recommendations.

 Effective mitochondrial function relies on a variety of cofactors, including l-carnitine, α-lipoic acid, and coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10).

Medications have been reported to affect not only liver but also kidney and heart function, and oxidative stress and mitochondrial function have been implicated in all of these.2,3,4,5 It should come as no surprise that mitochondrial function plays a central role in this process, as the liver, kidneys, and heart contain the highest concentration of mitochondria in the body-they have the highest mitochondrial density.6

Effective mitochondrial function relies on a variety of cofactors, including l-carnitine, alpha-lipoic acid, and coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10).* CoQ10 is of particular interest because it not only supports the mitochondrial respiratory chain but also acts as a powerful antioxidant in mitochondrial membranes.*7 CoQ10 is also concentrated in the same organs that have the highest mitochondrial density.6

Studies evaluating the ability of CoQ10 to support liver function are limited, but animal and preliminary human studies suggest that it may support mitochondrial respiration, metabolic parameters, and liver health when given in association with medications known to influence liver function.*8,9 In addition, a series of human clinical trials suggest that CoQ10 may support healthy renal function, and studies supporting its use for cardiovascular health abound.*10,11,12

Medication use is one of many reasons that the liver, kidneys, and heart may require additional support. In protocols for mitochondrial support, particularly as it pertains to liver, kidney, and cardiovascular health, CoQ10 and other mitochondrial nutrients are a reasonable consideration.*

Learn more about the dosing and lesser-known benefits of CoQ10.

Sarah Cook, ND

Sarah Cook is a freelance medical writer in Westminster, CO. She has a certificate in biomedical writing from the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, PA and a naturopathic doctorate from the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in Tempe, AZ. She has previous experience in clinical practice, supplement sales, and academics. In addition to writing, she is currently a faculty member at the Nutrition Therapy Institute in Denver, CO.

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2. Jaeschke H, Gores GJ, Cederbaum AI, Hinson JA, Pessayre D, Lemasters JJ. Mechanisms of hepatotoxicity. Toxicol Sci. 2002;65(2):166-176.
3. Pessayre D, Fromenty B, Berson A, et al. Central role of mitochondria in ... Drug Metab Rev. 2012;44(1):34-87.
4. Varga ZV, Ferdinandy P, Liaudet L, Pacher P. Drug-induced mitochondrial dysfunction and ... Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2015;309(9):H1453-67.
5. Peres LA, da Cunha AD. J Bras Nefrol. 2013;35(4):332-340.
6. Aberg F, Appelkvist EL, Dallner G, Ernster L. Distribution and redox state of ubiquinones in rat and human tissues. Arch Biochem Biophys. 1992;295(2):230-234.
7. Crane FL. Biochemical functions of coenzyme Q10. J Am Coll Nutr. 2001;20(6):591-598.
8. Jiménez-Santos MA, Juárez-Rojop IE, Tovilla-Zárate CA, et al. Coenzyme Q10 supplementation improves metabolic parameters, liver function and mitochondrial respiration in rats with high doses of atorvastatin and a cholesterol-rich diet. Lipids Health Dis. 2014;1322.
9. Pek SL, Tavintharan S, Woon K, et al. MicroRNAs as biomarkers of hepatotoxicity in a randomized placebo-controlled study of simvastatin and ubiquinol supplementation. Exp Biol Med (Maywood). 2016;241(3):317-330.
10. Yeung CK, Billings FT, Claessens AJ, et al. Coenzyme Q10 dose-escalation study in hemodialysis patients: safety, tolerability, and effect on oxidative stress. BMC Nephrol. 2015;16183.
11. Flowers N, Hartley L, Todkill D, Stranges S, Rees K. Co-enzyme Q10 supplementation for the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2014;12CD010405.
12. Pagano G, Aiello Talamanca A, Castello G, et al. Current experience in testing mitochondrial nutrients in disorders featuring oxidative stress and mitochondrial dysfunction: rational design of chemoprevention trials. Int J Mol Sci. 2014;15(11):20169-20208.

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†† For homeopathic products: these indications are based solely on traditional homeopathic use. They have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration.
* For dietary supplements: this statement has not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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