Many of my patients are on CoQ10 for energy and to help with avoiding statin myopathy or liver issues if they’re on statin medications for high cholesterol. What’s interesting about CoQ10 is that it’s so multifunctional that we are only starting to understand what it truly can do in multiple health areas.
For example, we now know that CoQ10 might even help with aspects of male infertility (1). That’s how broad the potential clinical implications might be. However, the one that I am finding most helpful lately is how it’s been helping my female patients with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) with their sugar and cholesterol issues.
Clinically, I find that CoQ10 can be very beneficial in helping with energy, but I’ve also noticed improvement in both sugar and lipid metabolism. There’s a study that confirms this finding and I am truly happy to see more and more studies that help us delineate the true benefits of various supplementation.
A randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial was done on 60 women with polycystic ovarian syndrome. They were randomly assigned to either 100mg of CoQ10 per day or a placebo for 12 weeks. Markers of insulin metabolism and lipid profiles were done at first and at the 12-week mark. (3)
They found in the study that those who were on CoQ10 had lower fasting plasma glucose, serum insulin concentrations, homeostasis model of assessment-estimated insulin resistance, homeostasis model of assessment-estimated B cell function and increased quantitative insulin sensitivity check index. They also saw that those who got CoQ10 had improvements in serum total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol concentrations. However, when they adjusted for baseline levels of biochemical parameters, body mass index and age, the serum LDL-cholesterol became non-significant but the other parameters were still stable. (3)
So, what does this study tell us?
Many people take CoQ10 to try to counterbalance the potential side effects of statin drugs. However, we now know that CoQ10 can help with sugar metabolism issues and total cholesterol.
Obviously, more studies need to be done but these are very promising findings. Since there are some questions about whether statin drugs might worsen sugar metabolism issues (2), the fact that CoQ10 can help with that is yet another reason for patients to be on it. Also, PCOS women traditionally have a harder time with sugar metabolism so it’s ideal to do a study on this population.
I applaud those out there who are doing the studies necessary to help us understand more about the clinical implications of supplementation on people; so that we don’t have to only extrapolate theories from animal studies towards human clinical implications. What I’ve seen in studies are that not all findings found in animal studies or in vitro studies translate into human studies, so I hope we continue on this trend of doing more human studies on supplementation.
One of the limiting factors of CoQ10 supplementation is that it might make some people anxious or jittery so I usually recommend for patients to start on a lower dosage and make sure you’re fine on it and slowly increase dosage up to 100mg or 200mg and see if you’re ok on it. Always clear supplementation by your doctor before you start it to make sure it’s safe for you. This is also one of those situations where you shouldn’t overdo on the dosing. I would not recommend going higher on the dosage unless your doctor specifically clears the dosage you want to take.
In general, CoQ10 is one of my favorite supplements with so many benefits…I can’t wait for more human clinical studies about this amazing supplement!
1. Mancini A, et al. An update of Coenzyme Q10 implications in male infertility: biochemical and therapeutic aspects. BioFactors. 2005.
2. Ridker PM, et al. Cardiovascular benefits and diabetes risks of statin therapy in primary prevention: an analysis from the JUPITER trial. Lancet. 11 Aug 2012.
3. Samimi M, et al. The effects of coenzyme Q10 supplementation on glucose metabolism and lipid profiles in women with polycystic ovarian syndrome: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Clinical Endocrinology. 10 Jan 2017.