Coenzyme Q10 Deficiency – How much coenzyme Q10 is needed to see benefits?

Here’s another question and answer from my February interview with Dr. Cynthia Shelby-Lane regarding the need for coenzyme Q10 to prevent heart disease.

Lisa Nelson RD: How much coenzyme Q10, if any, should individuals with heart disease supplement to see benefits?

Dr. Shelby-Lane: CoenzymeQ10-H2, also known as ubiquinol, is the reduced form of coenzymeQ10 (CoQ10) that is over five times more bioavailable than ordinary (standard) CoQ10. CoQ10 plays an essential role in providing energy to the body through the mitochondria, the energy-producing organelles found in all cells. There are between 100 and 300 mitochondria inside every cell, and they are responsible for over 90% of the body’s energy production. Mitochondria can truly be described as the cell’s ‘blast furnaces,’ and CoQ10 plays a critical role in the utilization of oxygen inside these mitochondria. CoQ10 also acts as an antioxidant to protect the mitochondria against the massive free radical production that occurs during the cell’s energy-producing respiratory cycle.

CoQ10 is produced naturally in all cells, but there is an age-related decline in CoQ10 production that has been linked to a wide variety of disorders in humans. Heart cells were the first cells discovered that suffered major declines in CoQ10 with age, but we now know that CoQ10 levels decline with age in almost all cells. It is vital for our health to supply dietary CoQ10 to offset the inevitable age-related decline in CoQ10 levels that occurs throughout the human body.

CoQ10 supplementation has been strongly linked to improved cardiovascular health in a wide variety of studies. It decreases peripheral blood flow resistance, especially in the microcirculation, which accounts for up to 90% of blood flow resistance. Numerous studies have also shown that CoQ10 can improve cardiac function, support healthy blood pressure, protect brain cells, slow aging markers, and shorten recovery times in power lifting and body building.

With CoenzymeQ10-H2 you can get the therapeutic benefits of higher dose coenzyme Q10 at much lower dosage levels.

Recommended Dosage: 50 mg to 300 mg standard CoQ10 per day with meals. Most manufacturers will not specify, so standard Coenzyme Q10 is still the most used. It may be difficult for the consumer to get the more concentrated so, so this value (50 -300 mg) is for standard CoQ10. Testing is the best way to know if you are getting adequate supplementation.

To be effective, you need to take enough CoQ10 to significantly raise its level in the blood to see any beneficial effect. The amount needed to do that varies among individuals, and also depends on the potency or “bioavailability” of the CoQ10 used. Some people get a good rise with 100 milligrams, whereas others need two or three times that much to attain the same blood level. Taking too little of this supplement won’t help you.

A typical dose for heart disease is 50 to 150 milligrams a day. However when heart failure is severe, up to 360 milligrams a day taken in doses of no more than 180 milligrams at a time may be needed. Experts say that “the sicker the cardiac patient, the weaker the heart, the higher the CoQ10 dose needs to be.”

Some researchers recommend 2 milligrams of CoQ10 for each kilogram of body weight (0.9 milligrams for each pound of body weight).

CoQ10 is fat soluble. To be effective, it must be taken with some fat for absorption. Take it with a little peanut butter or olive oil. If possible, take CoQ10 in the form of soft gel capsules. They are better than dry capsules or tablets.

Dosage is determined by measuring blood levels of coenzyme Q10.

Generally, people who have heart failure begin to see an improvement in symptoms in about four weeks, although some people may take as long as three months. Maximum improvement occurs after six months, which is longer than ordinary drugs take to exhibit an effect. Once started, you must take CoQ10 continually to maintain its heart-strengthening benefits.


CoQ10 is very safe. In a large Italian study, 22 out of 2,664 patients reported mild side effects. This comes out to be less than 1 percent. The typical side effect reported is mild transient nausea. No toxicity has been found, even at high doses, in animals or humans.

Important Caution

CoQ10 is not a substitute for conventional drugs. It is usually used along with conventional therapy for best results. You should do this only under the supervision of your doctor. Heart failure is a serious condition that should not be self-diagnosed or self-medicated. If you have serious heart disease, always consult a doctor for the proper course of treatment.

All the best,
Lisa Nelson RD
Coenzyme Q10 Deficiency

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