CoQ10, also called coenzyme Q10, is an antioxidant synthesized by your body and a cofactor in metabolic reactions. Some foods contain CoQ10, and it's also available in supplement form. Your tissue levels of CoQ10 decrease with age, but diet and body synthesis help prevent deficiency. Your doctor may prescribe CoQ10 to treat deficiency or various health problems including heart disease and diabetes. Some people take CoQ10 as a weight-loss supplement, although human studies on CoQ10 and weight loss are lacking.
CoQ10 and Your Metabolism
CoQ10 is essential for energy and metabolism because it helps form adenosine triphosphate, also known as ATP, in your body. ATP is the form of energy you get from carbohydrates and fat for use by your cells. In 2011, a study appeared in "Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition" showing that obese men and women had significantly lower CoQ10 levels than normal-weight subjects. Researchers associated deficiency of CoQ10 with a less efficient energy metabolism but didn't investigate whether supplementation of CoQ10 led to weight loss.
CoQ10's Possible Fat-Burning Potential
Authors of a study published in 2007 in "Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology" studied the effect of supplemental CoQ10 on 11 healthy men ages 25 to 27 years old at rest and during low-intensity exercise. Researchers found subjects had increased fat oxidation -- they burned more fat -- during low-intensity exercise after taking the CoQ10 supplement than they did after taking a placebo. This study supports the idea that CoQ10 may increase fat-burning potential and justifies the need for more research.
Deficiency May Increase Fat Cells
Authors of an animal study published in 2009 in "International Journal of Obesity" investigated CoQ10 supplementation on obese mice. Their findings suggested that CoQ10 prevents fat tissue weight gain and increases fat oxidation. Later researchers, some of whom participated in the 2009 investigation, conducted a study on CoQ10 at the cellular level in vitro -- outside of a living animal or human. In this study, published in 2011 in "Antioxidants and Redox Signaling," they found that inhibited CoQ10 synthesis triggered an increase in the formation of fat cells, while a long-term increase in CoQ10 led to decreased fat-cell formation. These studies support the need for more research on CoQ10 as a weight-loss supplement.
Getting More CoQ10
Always speak with your doctor and dietitian before changing your diet to increase CoQ10 for weight loss, because more research is necessary. The National Institutes of Health has set no daily limit for CoQ10, and according to the Linus Pauling Institute, general therapeutic supplemental doses of CoQ10 are significantly higher, ranging from 30 to 100 milligrams, than the normal daily intake of less than 10 milligrams. The foods highest in CoQ10 are meat, poultry, fish and canola and soybean oils, with 1 milligram or more per serving. One ounce of peanuts or pistachios contains 0.8 and 0.6 milligrams, respectively. Fruits such as 1/2 cup of strawberries or 1 medium orange, vegetables such as 1/2 cup of broccoli or cauliflower, and eggs also contain CoQ10, but in moderate amounts of 0.5 milligrams or less per serving.
- Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology: Influence of CoQ10 on Autonomic Nervous Activity and Energy Metabolism During Exercise in Healthy Subjects
- Journal of Diabetes & Metabolic Disorders: Mitochondrial Dysfunction in Obesity: Potential Benefit and Mechanism of Co-enzyme Q10 Supplementation in Metabolic Syndrome
- International Journal of Obesity: Coadministration of Coenzyme Q Prevents Rosiglitazone-Induced Adipogenesis in ob/ob Mice.
- Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition: Correlation Between Vitamin A, E, Coenzyme Q(10) and Degree of Insulin Resistance in Obese and Non-Obese Subjects.
- Antioxidants and Redox Signaling: Coenzyme Q As An Antiadipogenic Factor.
- Medline Plus: Coenzyme Q-10
- Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University: Coenzyme Q10