Natural Sources of Coenzyme Q10

close-up of a piece of cooked meat garnished with fried onions
Beef is a natural source of coenzyme Q10. (Image: Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Coenzyme Q10, also known as CoQ10 and ubiquinone, is a fat-soluble antioxidant found naturally in the body. CoQ10 is a powerful protection unit built into the body, removing free radicals, DNA damage, and other forms of oxidative damage according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. CoQ10 also plays a critical role in the energy-producing component of cells called the mitochondria. It helps to develop adenonsine triphospate, or ATP, which is responsible for all muscle contractions. Coenzyme Q10 is often supplemented in doses of 100 to 300 milligrams daily. While you won't find foods with those amounts, there are some foods that are richer sources than others.

Red Meat

Coenzyme Q10 is found highest in red meats, and is particularly high in organ meats such as liver and heart. Over cooking the meat reduces the amounts of CoQ10, boiling and frying appear to have the greatest negative impact on the CoQ10 content of the meats. The Linus Pauling Institute reports that 3 ounces of fried beef contains 2.6 milligrams of Coenzyme Q10.

Oily Fish

Oily fish such as salmon, tuna, fresh sardines and mackerel also contain a relatively large amount of coenzyme Q10. A 3-ounce serving of marinated herring contains 2.3 milligrams. As with red meats, overcooking the fish diminishes the amount of ubiquinone contained within the fish. Some people prefer eating raw fish as a way to maintain levels of CoQ10.

Plant Sources

CoQ10 can also come from many plant-based products such as soybean oil, rapeseed oil and sesame oil. Other plant-based products containing CoQ10 include walnuts, peanuts, soybeans, spinach, azuki beans, wheat germ and whole grains. A 1/2-cup serving of boiled, chopped broccoli contains 0.5 milligrams. Eating these foods raw provides the greatest amounts of coenzyme Q10, as heating changes the qualities of the enzyme.

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