Medical Definition of Coenzyme Q10

Reviewed on 3/29/2021

Coenzyme Q10: A compound needed for the proper functioning of an enzyme, a protein that speeds up the rate at which chemical reactions take place in the body. Coenzyme Q10 is used to produce energy to fuel cell growth and maintenance. Coenzyme Q10 is thought to improve the function of mitochondria, the "powerhouses" that produce energy in cells. Coenzyme Q10 is also an antioxidant, a substance that protects cells from highly reactive chemicals called free radicals that can damage cells and their DNA. The highest amounts of coenzyme Q10 are in the heart, liver, kidneys, and pancreas and the lowest amounts are in the lungs. The levels of coenzyme Q10 normally decline with age.

Coenzyme Q10 may have a place in the treatment of some neurological diseases. A placebo-controlled clinical trial of coenzyme Q10 suggested that it can slow the rate of deterioration in patients with early-stage Parkinson disease. The consumption of up to 800 mg/day of coenzyme Q10 was well-tolerated. The trial was funded by NIH and appeared in the Archives of Neurology in 2002.

Coenzyme Q10 has also been of interest for cancer therapy. However, no report of a randomized clinical trial of coenzyme Q10 as a treatment for cancer had been published in a peer-reviewed, scientific journal as of July, 2004.

Coenzyme Q10 is sold in the US as a dietary supplement.The Q and the 10 in coenzyme Q10 refer to parts of the compound's chemical structure. It is also known as CoQ10, Q10, vitamin Q10, ubiquinone, or ubidecarenone.


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