Do you want to tune up the energy level of your heart and muscles? Research shows that this is what you can accomplish with a supplement called coenzyme Q10, or CoQ10 for short.
Our research team took an in-depth look at the best CoQ10 supplements on the market, plus reviewed the latest science on the benefits and side effects of CoQ10 supplementation. Read on for more:
1. HealthWise CoQ10
For those who’re serious about taking the most potent CoQ10, HealthWise CoQ10 is the best you can get.
No other CoQ10 can compete with 240 mg per serving.
“Our Advanced CoQ10 ensures that you receive an equally supportive boost to the various areas of your body that are the most critical—from heart, brain, and immune system health—to maintaining and regulating blood pressure and cholesterol levels.”
From heart health to providing your body more energy and focus, the HealthWise CoQ10 is one of the better daily habits you can have in the supplement space.
HealthWise CoQ10 also has no “additives”. All natural, no artificial sweeteners, no artificial coloring, no artificial preservatives and 100% GMO-free.
This is important. When you’re taking a critical antioxidant as a daily supplement, the last thing you want is “added stuff” to mess with your fatigue, oxidation, blood pressure and sperm quality.
Made in the USA and in an FDA-approved facility.
BodyNutrition‘s all-around CoQ10 supplement winner of 2020.
2. Essential Elements CoQ10
CoQ10 by Essential elements contains CoQsol, a patented formula that provides a synergistic blend of powerful antioxidants including vitamin E and natural beta-carotene to improve cholesterol levels and help boost the immune system. Suspended in rice bran oil, this CoQ10 formula is absorbed up to 2.6x better through the lymphatic system.
It is also completely free of GMOs, gluten, dairy and preservatives. Third party lab tested to ensure purity, you can ensure every serving is exactly what you’d expect.
3. CoQ10 Complex + by Nuzena
Nuzena is a brand-new supplement company known for their no-nonsense formulas.
CoQ10 Complex + contains 200mg of Coenzyme Q-10 Ubiquinone which definitely makes it one of the more potent formulas we’ve seen.
Nuzena’s CoQ10 Complex + formula supports heart health, helps to regulate blood pressure, and can even help to prevent and treat migraines.
Easily a top 3 option and also one of the cheapest options on this list.
4. Transparent Labs Raw Series CoQ10
Transparent Labs produces an effective and pure CoQ10 designed for reliable long-term use at 100 mg per serving.
They claim that purity and affordability are absolutely necessary for a daily-use lifestyle supplement, and one should never be compromised for the other.
This perspective motivated Transparent Labs to master a formula that delivers pure CoQ10 without fillers or allergens, consistently prepared across batches in their state-of-the-art facility.
Key advantages to this specific CoQ10 are: cartilage-free veggie capsules (no gelatin) and absolutely no soybean oil. These unique refinements provide extra piece of mind when taking CoQ10 for daily pro-health use.
Transparent Labs CoQ10 is micro-batched for peak freshness and can be purchased directly from their website for a middle-man free affordable price.
5. Qunol Ultra CoQ10
Qunol’s CoQ10 makes some aggressive claims about their product: they claim their formulation is better-absorbed than other CoQ10 supplements and is the top brand recommended by cardiologists. Thing is: they could be right.
The gelatin capsules provide 100 mg of CoQ10 alongside 150 IUs of vitamin E. The purity is fair, with each capsule containing a 5.7% excess of CoQ10 than what is reported on the label. Ingredient-wise, it includes the usual mix of oils, triglycerides, and emulsifiers.
Like many other CoQ10 supplements, it contains soy, so if you have an allergy, be aware of that.
6. Nature’s Bounty Extra Strength CoQ10
Nature’s Bounty is a brand you’re apt to find at your local pharmacy, drug store, or big-box retailer. The “extra strength” formulation contains 200 mg of coenzyme Q10 per capsule, so if you are looking for a higher dose (especially if you’d rather not split it into two separate capsules), it’s a good choice.
7. Bulk Supplements Pure Coenzyme Q10
Bulk Supplements has made a name for itself in inexpensive, high-quality, and high-purity supplements. Its CoQ10 formula comes in a simple foil bag with an adhesive nutrition info label stuck on it; no fancy packaging to be seen here.
Its ingredients list is similarly Spartan: there’s only one! That’s right, Coenzyme Q10, in the ubiquinone form, is the only ingredient in this formulation. It’s provided in a loose powder, so you’ll need a micro-scale to accurately measure out your serving size.
8. Kirkland Signature CoQ10
For simple, straightforward, and reliable supplements, Kirkland Signature brand is very often a good bet. This is the case with their CoQ10 offering: the gel capsules provide 300 mg of Coenzyme Q10 for a good price, and their purity is top-notch too.
Independent lab testing confirmed that the actual amount of CoQ10 per capsule is 302 mg, within one percent of the label-stated amount.
The solvent it uses to dissolve the fat-soluble CoQ10 is soybean oil, which should not cause any problems unless you have a soy allergy. The capsules are gelatin, so again, people on a vegetarian diet, beware.
The other inactive ingredients include glycerin and soy lecithin, which help emulsify the oil solution, as well as vitamin E as a preservative and titanium dioxide as a coloring.
There really isn’t much else to cover with regards to Kirkland’s CoQ10 offering: it’s nothing fancy or flashy, but it gets the job done, and it comes in a high-dose capsule, which is convenient if you know you want to take a higher daily dosage of Coenzyme Q10.
9. Viva Naturals CoQ10
The highly-rated and best-selling CoQ10 supplement from Viva Labs is very simple and pure. It provides 100 mg of CoQ10 per capsule, alongside 5 mg of black pepper fruit extract to boost absorption of the CoQ10.
As with some of the other CoQ10 supplements on the market, Viva Labs cites work by corporate researchers showing that black pepper extract enhances the activity and availability of CoQ10 (3).
Viva Labs CoQ10 also comes dissolved in olive oil inside a soft gel capsule, which is stabilized by gelatin, glycerin, and beeswax.
10. NutriONN Extra Strength CoQ10
The Coenzyme Q10 supplement made by NutriONN is potent, pure, and simple. Each capsule contains 200 mg of CoQ10; there are only three other ingredients—gelatin, rice flour, and magnesium stearate, a binder which facilitates the release of CoQ10 from the capsule.
This simplistic philosophy applies to its branding and marketing too; it doesn’t have flashy packaging and isn’t a top-seller, but that shouldn’t keep you from looking into it—it’s a solid product worth considering.
11. Jarrow Formulas Q-absorb CoQ10
Jarrow Formulas is one brand that is widely known for producing high-quality supplements, and its CoQ10 offering is no exception. It provides a standardized 100 mg of CoQ10 per capsule—lab-verified to be within 3% of its stated amount—and comes in the form ubiquinol, which Jarrow Formulas claims is more absorbable than the normal form of CoQ10.
One notable feature of the Jarrow Formulas CoQ10 supplement is that it does not contain any soy; if soy lecithin is a problem for you, it’s a good option.
12. Garden of Life Raw Coq10
Garden of Life CoQ10 includes 200 mg of CoQ10 per capsule dissolved in cold-pressed chia seed, but also includes a blend of over a dozen fruits and vegetables.
This formulation is firmly rooted in the belief that the juices and extracts of fruit and vegetables have significant enough health benefits to justify including them in the supplement. The chia seed oil also has the benefit of providing omega-3 fatty acids.
Even though there are so many different ingredients, Garden of Life Raw CoQ10 is carefully formulated enough so that each capsule only differs from its label-stated amount of CoQ10 by less than two percent on independent lab analysis.
Best CoQ10 overall: HealthWise CoQ10
We chose HealthWise CoQ10 as our best overall pick because of its potent dose (a hefty 240 mg of CoQ10) and its lack of any preservatives, fillers, and binders. For an all-purpose CoQ10 supplement, there’s no doubt that HealthWise should be your first choice.
Best CoQ10 for skin health: Essential Elements CoQ10
CoQ10’s skin benefits mostly revolve around its capacity to act as an antioxidant. For this reason, Essential Elements CoQ10 was an easy pick: Since Essential Elements includes CoQ10 alongside other potent antioxidants like vitamin A and vitamin E, it stands the best chance of improving your skin quality.
Best CoQ10 for heart health: Transparent Labs CoQ10
Most clinical research on CoQ10 for heart health has used ultra-pure doses of 150 to 200 mg, sometimes split into two doses. That’s what we aimed for with our heart-heart focused category winner: Transparent Labs contains exactly 100 mg of pure CoQ10 per capsule, putting it right in line with the latest scientific research on CoQ10 for heart health.
Best CoQ10 for men: CoQ10 Complex + by Nuzena
Men looking to take CoQ10 for more energy and better performance want something that’s on the high side when it comes to dosage, so CoQ10 Complex + by Nuzena is a natural choice at 200 mg. It’s an excellent choice, especially for older men whose natural CoQ10 levels have started to drop.
Best CoQ10 for migraines and headaches: Transparent Labs CoQ10
People using CoQ10 for migraines and headaches should be especially careful to avoid supplements with unnecessary ingredients. Transparent Labs CoQ10 takes the crown here thanks to their widely-praised approach to simple and pure supplement design.
Best CoQ10 for having more energy: HealthWise CoQ10
Boosting your energy levels with CoQ10 calls for a solid dosage, which is why HealthWise comes out on top for this category. At 240 mg per serving, you’ll get optimal results from this powerful dose of CoQ10.
Who should buy CoQ10?
CoQ10 is a supplement whose primary function is to increase your ability to produce cellular energy. It is useful for two distinct applications: increasing and preserving cognitive function, and boosting athletic performance.
While these applications seem very different, the fact is that both rely on the efficient production of energy at the cellular level. In exercise, the need for cellular energy is obvious: better energy production means you can run faster and lift more.
During cognitive tasks, there is a similar need for cellular energy, but instead of in your muscles, the energy production happens in your brain. The similar function of CoQ10 in exercise and in cognitive performance is analogous to that of caffeine, which is also a strong performance booster in mental and physical tasks.
CoQ10 is popular nootropic agent among people looking to increase their cognitive function. If you are a student or you have an intensive, project-oriented job, CoQ10 could be a great way to achieve better mitochondrial function in your brain and provide you with the mental energy you need to finish out your work productively.
It’s also been studied as a way to prevent or slow the progression of cognitive decline among elderly adults. Again, the idea here is to support energy production in the brain, and to prevent the deterioration of brain cells over time.
As a performance enhancer, CoQ10 is best used in intensive workouts like high-intensity interval sessions and intense aerobic workouts. It functions well as a pre-workout supplement, and is a common ingredient in this category of supplement.
Perhaps surprisingly, CoQ10 is equally well-studied in competitive athletes and in people with serious health conditions, like chronic heart failure.
It appears to be fairly well-suited for improving exercise performance at both of these extremes, though the definition of “improvement” is clearly going to be different for someone with chronic heart disease versus a high-level athlete.
The wide range of applications for CoQ10 make it a bit unique among supplements. For both mental and physical performance, the best evidence indicate that people on both ends of the spectrum can benefit.
This means people looking for a cognitive boost, and people with dementia, in the case of the mental side, and people with cardiovascular conditions, versus high level athletes, in the case of physical exercise. As such, quite a range of people may benefit from CoQ10 supplementation.
How we ranked
For our CoQ10 rankings, purity was of the utmost importance. To this end, we used independent purity testing conducted by Labdoor to inform which supplements were included in our pool of eligible products.
We only included products that had passed tests for heavy metal content and had accurately reported the dosage levels. After this initial screening, the remaining products were scored according to how clean their supplement design was, and whether they delivered an effective dosage in keeping with what the scientific literature recommends.
We penalized products that had too many fillers and bulking agents, and rewarded products that were simple and effective.
We also had a slight preference for products that used cellulose in their capsules instead of gelatin, due to the fact that many vegetarians and vegans are likely deficient in CoQ10 and may want to supplement. This wasn’t a dealbreaker, though.
Finally, we looked for ingredients that could enhance or detract from the efficacy of the CoQ10 dosage. A few of our higher-scoring supplements contain black pepper extract or vitamin E, which may enhance absorption or efficacy of CoQ10. However, we still made purity and efficacy the top priority: that’s why HealthWise CoQ10 ended up at the top of the stack.
CoQ10 helps produce most of the energy your body uses. Coenzyme Q10, or CoQ10 for short, is a dietary supplement and bio-active chemical that plays a pivotal role in your body’s energy systems.
Without CoQ10, you couldn’t produce the energy you need. In fact, some recent energy drinks like Bang are starting to include CoQ10 in their formulas.
The parts of your body that use the most energy, like your heart and muscles, also have the highest concentration of CoQ10 for that very reason.
Unfortunately, as you get older, the concentration of CoQ10 in your body starts to wane. The concentration of the compound inside your muscle cells drops in a predictable and measurable way. Some scientists and researchers hypothesize that this might have something to do with the gradual decline in energy, vigor, and physical fitness that occurs as a part of aging.
This prompts an immediate and obvious question: Can supplementing your diet with CoQ10 increase your energy levels or increase your fitness? If so, who should be taking it and how much should they take?
CoQ10 may help keep your heart healthy. Much of the research into CoQ10 supplementation has focused on its role in keeping cardiac (heart) muscle healthy in older populations. A 1999 study by Franklin L. Rosenfeldt and other researchers in the journal BioFactors showed, in a two-step study, the effects of CoQ10 on aging cardiac tissue (5).
The first study exposed both young and old rats to an artificial aerobic exercise protocol, then examined how well the rat hearts handled the stress of exercise. The researchers found that, as expected, the older hearts couldn’t recover as well following aerobic exercise, but if they pre-treated the elderly rats with CoQ10, their hearts recovered much better after exercise.
The second experiment studied human cardiac tissue extracted during routine open-heart surgery. Similar to the rat experiments, the human cardiac tissue from elderly patients showed a decreased ability to handle stress (this time imposed in the Petri dish instead of via exercise protocol) as compared to cardiac tissue from younger patients.
Again, however, pre-treatment with CoQ10 improved the function of the aged cardiac tissue—in this case, bringing it back on par with that of the younger patients.
CoQ10 could also be useful for maintaining cognitive health as well. Other research has connected increased CoQ10 with beneficial changes in degenerative brain disorders like Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease too: it appears to play a broader role in the aging process (6).
CoQ10 can help counter some negative side effects caused by statins. It’s also sometimes used to combat the negative effects of statins, drugs which lower blood lipid levels and help prevent heart attacks (7).
Given how broadly your body uses coenzyme Q10, it shouldn’t be a surprise that it’s involved in a wide range of disease progressions. For now, the use of CoQ10 for treating heart disease, neurodegenerative disease, and other conditions is still experimental, but there have been some promising results.
CoQ10 could boost physical performance during intense exercise as well. In addition, there is also limited evidence that coenzyme Q10 could have performance-improving effects for healthy people when it comes to aerobic exercise. A 2010 study by Hakkı Gökbel and other scientists in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research examined the effect of CoQ10 supplementation on endurance exercise performance on an interval workout (8).
Fifteen men who did not regularly engage in exercise were given either a placebo or a 100 mg CoQ10 supplement to take daily. Before and after eight weeks of supplementation, the men underwent a standardized interval workout to gauge their fitness.
Some, though not all, of the parameters measured in the interval workout increased in the study group that took CoQ10; peak power production and mean power production throughout the test tended to be higher in the CoQ10 group as compared to the placebo, but overall fatigue did not differ to a statistically significant extent from the placebo group.
The bulk of scientific research studies use doses of 150 to 200 milligrams of coenzyme Q10. A few studies use a dose of 100 mg per day, and a few likewise use doses over 200 mg. There does not seem to be any need for CoQ10 to be split up into smaller doses; most studies involve taking just one supplement tablet per day.
Research conducted by industry-sponsored scientists claims that adding a special proprietary black pepper extract to a CoQ10 supplement boosts absorption, and some of the supplements on the market include this “BioPerine” extract (9).
So far, though, clinical trials on using CoQ10 for the treatment of disease have not employed CoQ10 supplements that include BioPerene, as one of the primary desires in science is to eliminate any lurking or hidden variables that could confound your results.
It’s worth noting that there are plenty of clinical trials that have found beneficial effects of CoQ10 supplementation without adding black pepper extract; separate trials would be needed to determine if CoQ10 functioned better alongside black pepper extract.
According to the Mayo clinic, CoQ10 is safe to take, even in fairly high dosages—up to 3,000 mg per day (10). As reported by a 1999 research paper by scientists in Denmark in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, there are no known negative side effects of taking CoQ10 in doses of up to 200 mg per day for up to a year, nor in doses of 100 mg per day for up to six years (11).
This is a good sign, since almost all clinical trials are using doses on the low end of this range. Though it may seem frustrating, it’s a long, gradual process to determine the optimal dosage. It may be that substantially higher doses are needed to get the best effects, but so far, 100-300 mg per day looks pretty good.
The Mayo Clinic reports that some vague, mild, and transient side effects like fatigue, insomnia, or rashes might occur, but these do not appear to be serious (12).
Q: What is CoQ10 good for?
A: CoQ10 is a supplement that appears to boost mitochondrial function. The mitochondria are the power-producing structures inside the cells of your body, and they are equally important for physical and cognitive function.
CoQ10 itself is quite similar to a vitamin, and indeed, probably would have been classified as a vitamin if it had been discovered at a different time.
Its practical uses range from enhancing exercise performance to improving cognitive function, and it can also be useful to preserve muscle function when taking medications with negative muscular side effects, such as statins.
While the body naturally produces CoQ10, and though it can be absorbed via foods that are naturally rich in CoQ10, certain medications can reduce the rate at which your body is able to synthesize CoQ10.
Statins are a particularly egregious example. Research has found that a CoQ10 supplement can restore CoQ10 levels in the blood and help treat some of the problems caused by medication-related reductions in CoQ10.
Q: What is a good dosage for CoQ10?
A: CoQ10 is typically used in doses of 150 to 200 mg in scientific research. It’s safe to take far more than this, but it’s not clear whether there would be any additional benefit to take greater doses.
When dosing a supplement like CoQ10, you’re more likely to get good results when following clinical research protocols closely, so the best evidence suggests that 150 to 200 mg or so is a good dose to start with.
Q: What does CoQ10 do?
A: At the cellular level, CoQ10 is deeply involved in the production of aerobic energy. The vast majority of the energy your body uses comes from aerobic metabolism, so it plays a vital role in both physical and mental tasks.
In terms of its actual health effects, CoQ10 boosts performance in high intensity workouts that rely on high levels of aerobic power output.
It may also be useful for increasing cognitive function, and for improving cardiovascular function in people who are taking cholesterol medication or who have chronic heart conditions.
These wide-ranging uses are a reflection of the huge and all-inclusive importance of CoQ10 in producing the aerobic energy your body needs to function.
Q: What is CoQ10 made from?
A: Unlike many other supplements we review, CoQ10 is naturally-occurring, but in supplemental form, it is usually directly synthesized from simpler organic compounds.
Your body uses a series of chain reactions that build CoQ10 out of amino acids and other smaller building blocks; while the steps followed by chemists who make CoQ10 supplements is not identical, the principle is the same.
Q: How does CoQ10 work?
A: CoQ10 boosts your body’s energy production by increasing the concentration of this critical coenzyme in the tissues in your body that need it the most, such as your heart and your muscles.
One study found that a CoQ10 supplement was able to prevent the decrease in CoQ10 levels seen in the blood after taking medication for lowering cholesterol levels, while another showed that taking CoQ10 could increase the concentration of mitochondria in the brain—all things that we would expect based on its biological function (13, 14).
Q: Should CoQ10 be used if you are on statins?
A: Statins are a category of drug that are used to reduce blood cholesterol, and if you are at risk for heart disease because of high cholesterol, statins can substantially decrease the risk of a heart attack.
Statins actually work by blocking one of the synthetic pathways that is used by your body to synthesize cholesterol, but one downside of this approach is that CoQ10 shares some of the same steps on the synthetic pathway as statins.
As a result, taking statins reliably decreases CoQ10 levels, by as much as 40%. Muscle pain and muscle damage are common side effects of taking statins, and some researchers believe that the decrease in CoQ10 could be to blame. To this end, several studies have investigated the effects of CoQ10 supplementation on the effects of statins, and the evidence is promising.
You should always talk to your doctor about your supplementation routine if you are taking prescription medication—this is especially important for people with heart conditions, because other medication like warfarin actually has negative interactions with CoQ10—but taking a CoQ10 supplement should definitely be something you consider if you are taking statins.
Q: Does CoQ10 affect fertility?
A: While most headlines on CoQ10 trumpet its physical and cognitive performance benefits, or its potential for people with heart conditions, a less-publicized area of research has raised the possibility that CoQ10 could help improve fertility both for men and for women.
One study found that infertile men who took 300 mg of CoQ10 per day had statistically significant improvements in their sperm quality (15).
Likewise, other research found that CoQ10 supplementation could boost ovary function and extend the longevity of high-quality eggs in women (16).
Though the potential for CoQ10 as a fertility treatment is underexplored, many avenues of research show that it has promise.
Q: Can you get CoQ10 from food?
A: As you might expect from the biological role of CoQ10, by far the best way to get in in food is in things like meat and fish, since these tissues (essentially, muscle) have a high CoQ10 content due to the need for them to produce cellular energy.
You can get CoQ10 from vegetable sources like broccoli and soybeans, but the amounts pale in comparison to what you can get from meat.
Meat tends to have five to seven times more CoQ10 than even the highest vegetable sources of CoQ10, which suggests that vegetarians and vegans may be at a substantially greater risk for CoQ10 deficiencies. Fortunately, CoQ10 in supplement form is not
Q: Should you take CoQ10 in the morning or at night?
A: Because the kinetics of how CoQ10 is absorbed and processed by your body, it actually does not matter what time of day you take CoQ10.
The actual CoQ10 molecule is quite large, and it’s not very water-soluble. Because of both of these reasons, it takes a long time to be fully absorbed by your body. After taking a single dose, levels of CoQ10 in your blood don’t peak until six hours later.
Moreover, CoQ10 is very long-lasting in your body. If you take a dosage of, say, 200 mg, it’s fully absorbed after six hours, but even after 33 hours, you still have 50% of the peak concentration of CoQ10 circulating in your body (17).
Thanks to this very long elimination time, the benefits of CoQ10 do not depend on whether you take it in the morning or at night.
Q: How long does it take for CoQ10 to work?
A: In terms of an acute dose, it will take six hours for your body to start feeling the effects of CoQ10 due to its slow absorption rate.
In terms of achieving the systemic effects of CoQ10 supplementation, the shortest time period reported in the scientific literature is about two weeks, from research on exercise performance (18). Other research has used substantially longer interventions, up to six months in length or longer.
When exactly the benefits kick in is unclear, but you should expect it to take at least two weeks, and possibly longer, to see significant changes.
Q: How much is too much CoQ10?
A: CoQ10 is quite safe, and while most studies use moderate doses of 150 to 200 mg, CoQ10 has been studied at much higher doses.
One study using both healthy and unhealthy adults (the unhealthy adults had a genetic disorder called Huntington’s disease, which results in brain cell death) determined that doses of 1200 to 3600 mg per day were well-tolerated without any apparent ill effects, so the upper limit of CoQ10 supplementation, at least in the short term, is much higher than the dosage necessary to get the optimal benefits.
Supplementing your diet with coenzyme Q10 is one way you might be able to boost your body’s energy production and stave off the loss of vigor that comes with age. It may offer protective effects against heart disease and degenerative brain disorders.
On top of that, it might be able to boost your physical performance by supercharging the energy production of your muscles—results have been good in research on sedentary people, but it’s unknown whether someone who is physically fit will get the same benefits.
If you would like to use CoQ10 as an adjunctive treatment for a medical condition, make sure you talk with your doctor first. CoQ10 may interact with certain medications, including warfarin, a blood thinner. In most cases, though, you should be able to try out CoQ10 to see if it helps you feel younger, healthier, and more energetic.
For BodyNutrition‘s #1 CoQ10 recommendation, click here.