Does CoQ10 help with inflammation?


Inflammation is a natural biological response involved in healing and protection. But chronic inflammation can contribute to numerous diseases and unwanted health effects. This has many people looking for ways to reduce inflammation naturally, including supplements like CoQ10.

But what does the research say about whether CoQ10 actually helps alleviate inflammation? Let's take a detailed look.

Does CoQ10 help with inflammation?

What is CoQ10?

Before examining the link between CoQ10 and inflammation, let's first cover some basics about what CoQ10 is:

  • CoQ10 is an antioxidant compound made naturally in the body.
  • It is concentrated in cell mitochondria where it assists energy production.
  • It also protects cells from oxidative damage.
  • Food sources include meat, fish, nuts, seeds, and oils.
  • Levels start to decline around age 40.
  • CoQ10 supplements help restore decreasing levels.

By optimizing CoQ10 status, the intent is to gain benefits like:

  • Increased energy and stamina
  • Improved heart health
  • Neuroprotection
  • Slowed aging
  • Reduced oxidative stress

But could regulating inflammation also be a key benefit? Let's review the current research.

What Causes Inflammation?

Inflammation is the immune system's response to harmful stimuli like pathogens or damaged cells. It's triggered by the release of proteins called cytokines that recruit immune cells to remove the threat.

Some common causes of inflammation include:

  • Bacterial or viral infections
  • Chronic stress
  • Injuries and wounds
  • Toxins like air pollution or smoke
  • Poor diet high in processed foods
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Obesity

Inflammation can become problematic when it persists long term or becomes systemic throughout the body. This type of chronic inflammation is linked to several diseases.

Diseases Associated With Inflammation

Research shows chronic inflammation contributes to many unwanted conditions:

  • Heart disease
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Arthritis and joint pain
  • Fatty liver disease
  • Lupus and autoimmunity
  • Cancer
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Allergies

Bringing inflammatory markers back into a healthy range is important for preventing and managing these and other inflammation-related diseases.

How Might CoQ10 Help With Inflammation?

Studies suggest a few key mechanisms by which CoQ10 may help regulate inflammation:

Increases ATP energy production

Inflammation places high energy demands on cells. By enhancing mitochondrial ATP synthesis, CoQ10 may help meet increased energy needs that can otherwise promote oxidative stress and inflammation.

Reduces oxidative stress

CoQ10 is a proven antioxidant. By neutralizing excessive free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS), CoQ10 may mitigate oxidative damage that initiates and amplifies inflammation.

Lowers pro-inflammatory cytokines

Research indicates CoQ10 can reduce levels of inflammatory cytokines like IL-6, IL-1β, and TNF-α. Lowering production of these proteins may lessen systemic inflammation.

Regulates gene expression

CoQ10 is involved in gene regulation. It may influence expression of genes that control inflammation, potentially promoting an anti-inflammatory environment.

Improves mitochondrial function

Damaged, poorly functioning mitochondria can trigger inflammation. As a key player in mitochondrial bioenergetics, CoQ10 may optimize mitochondrial health and performance.

In these ways, CoQ10 supplementation may counter inflammation through its antioxidant, bioenergetic and genetic activities according to emerging research.

What Do Studies Show About CoQ10 and Inflammation?

While still an active area of research, some key studies demonstrate CoQ10's anti-inflammatory potential:

  • CoQ10 decreased inflammatory markers CRP, IL-6, and TNF-α in chronic heart failure patients. It also increased anti-inflammatory cytokines like IL-10 [1].
  • CoQ10 reduced inflammation in the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex regions of the brain, with lower IL-6 and TNF-α [2].
  • CoQ10 lessened oxidative stress and inflammation in the kidneys of diabetic rats, with lower IL-6 and more antioxidant enzymes [3].
  • In mice fed an unhealthy diet, CoQ10 lowered IL-1β, helped preserve mitochondrial DNA, and reduced oxidative stress [4].
  • CoQ10 protected endothelial cells from glucose-induced inflammation by reducing ROS formation and inflammatory gene expression [5].
  • Periodontal patients taking CoQ10 had decreased gingival inflammation, indicating reduced local inflammation [6].

While human research is still limited, these preliminary findings suggest promise for CoQ10's anti-inflammatory properties. Larger scale human studies are warranted.

CoQ10's Anti-Inflammatory Effects by Condition

In addition to direct research on inflammation, some studies show CoQ10 helps inflammatory aspects of specific diseases:

Heart Disease

CoQ10 reduces chronic inflammation implicated in atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease [7].


CoQ10 lowers inflammation and insulin resistance linked to type 2 diabetes [8].

Neurodegenerative Disease

CoQ10 counters neuroinflammation that contributes to cognitive decline and neuronal damage [9].


CoQ10 improves inflammatory markers and symptoms in fibromyalgia, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune conditions [10].

Metabolic Disease

CoQ10 decreases circulating pro-inflammatory cytokines and oxidative stress associated with obesity, fatty liver disease and metabolic syndrome [11].

Lung Diseases

CoQ10 demonstrates anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects in asthma and COPD animal models [12].

So while not conclusively proven in humans yet, CoQ10 shows promising anti-inflammatory potential across a wide range of inflammatory diseases.

Anti-Inflammatory Lifestyle Tips

While CoQ10 supplementation may help, reducing inflammation also requires comprehensive lifestyle measures:

  • Follow an anti-inflammatory diet - load up on omega-3s, antioxidants, fiber, and plant foods while limiting sugar, saturated fats, and processed foods.
  • Exercise regularly - aim for 150 minutes per week of moderate activity to lower inflammation.
  • Lose weight if overweight - excess fat, especially visceral fat, drives chronic inflammation.
  • Don't smoke and avoid environmental toxins.
  • Manage stress levels through relaxing practices like yoga, meditation, or nature exposure.
  • Get enough sleep and rest - chronic sleep loss activates inflammatory pathways.
  • Take targeted anti-inflammatory supplements like curcumin, fish oil, vitamin C, and green tea extract under medical supervision.

A holistic approach combines CoQ10 with nutrition, exercise, stress relief, and other lifestyle factors that influence inflammation.

Does CoQ10 help with inflammation? Conclusion

Research suggests CoQ10 has the potential to reduce problematic inflammation based on its antioxidant and bioenergetic properties. Studies demonstrate lower inflammatory markers across a variety of diseases when taking a CoQ10 supplement.

However, larger scale human trials are still needed to better evaluate effectiveness specifically for inflammation. Talk to your doctor to see if CoQ10 is appropriate for your health needs.

Dosages used in studies range from 100mg to 600mg daily. It’s also vital to follow an anti-inflammatory diet and lifestyle regimen.

While not a miracle cure, CoQ10 may provide added anti-inflammatory activity on top of broader lifestyle interventions. But work with your healthcare provider to determine if it could be a beneficial supplement to help manage inflammation.

Resources used to write this article

On inflammation overview:

On diseases linked to inflammation:

On potential mechanisms of CoQ10 for inflammation:

On research studying CoQ10 and inflammation:

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