Does CoQ10 change hormones?
CoQ10 is an antioxidant that plays a vital role in energy production and cellular health. Research shows CoQ10 supplementation can provide benefits for heart function, brain health, exercise performance and more. But some wonder if taking CoQ10 impacts hormone levels in the body. This article reviews the evidence on effects of CoQ10 on hormones.
- Overview of CoQ10
- CoQ10 and Estrogen
- Effects on Testosterone
- Influence on Thyroid Hormones
- Impact on Adrenal Hormones
- Influence on Growth Hormone (GH)
- Effects on Insulin and Blood Sugar
- Impact on Melatonin
- Potential Anti-Inflammatory Effects
- Hormonal Effects Summary
- Dosage Considerations
- Effects on Male vs Female Hormones
- Timing of Supplementation
- Potential Benefits for Hormonal Conditions
- Safety and Side Effects
- Key Considerations
- Does CoQ10 change hormones? Conclusion
- Resources used to write this article
Overview of CoQ10
CoQ10 is a compound made naturally by the body and found in some foods. Here are some key facts:
- It helps generate ATP energy that powers cell function.
- It also acts as a potent antioxidant in cell membranes.
- Your body's production starts declining around age 40.
- Food sources include meat, fish, nuts, seeds, oils and spinach.
- Statin medications can also deplete CoQ10 levels.
- Supplements may restore deficient levels for health benefits.
Now let’s take a look at how CoQ10 interacts with hormones in the body.
CoQ10 and Estrogen
Estrogen is the primary female sex hormone. There is some preliminary evidence that CoQ10 may influence estrogen levels:
- In one study, CoQ10 supplementation increased estrogen in postmenopausal women compared to placebo.
- Another trial found CoQ10 restored age-related declines in estrogen in older females.
- Estrogen promotes mitochondrial energy production, while CoQ10 enhances mitochondrial function.
- This synergistic interaction may explain how CoQ10 improves estrogen bioavailability and activity.
However, larger studies are still needed to confirm effects on estrogen and determine clinical relevance. Overall impact appears small and likely dependent on estrogen status.
Effects on Testosterone
Testosterone is the primary male sex hormone. Current research on CoQ10’s interactions with testosterone shows:
- One study found that 200 mg/day of CoQ10 increased testosterone levels in infertile men by over 100% after 3-6 months.
- Another trial showed 300 mg per day boosted testosterone in men with low sperm counts.
- CoQ10 may improve testicular mitochondrial function involved in testosterone synthesis.
- It also acts as an antioxidant to reduce damage to sperm and testes.
Again, more studies are warranted. But CoQ10 does appear to support healthy testosterone levels, especially in infertile men.
Influence on Thyroid Hormones
Thyroid hormones T3 and T4 regulate metabolism. Limited evidence suggests CoQ10 may affect levels:
- One study reported CoQ10 supplementation stabilized T4 levels in patients with low thyroid function.
- Another trial found CoQ10 restored thyroid hormone balance in those with autoimmune thyroiditis.
- Effects may result from supporting antioxidant systems that protect thyroid function.
However, robust data on effects in hypothyroid patients is still lacking. Additional research is needed with larger controlled studies.
Impact on Adrenal Hormones
The adrenal glands produce vital hormones like cortisol. Research on CoQ10’s interactions is limited but shows:
- One study found CoQ10 did not change cortisol levels at rest or during exercise in young athletes.
- Data in animals reveals CoQ10 did not alter adrenal steroidogenesis (hormone production).
- Significant effects on adrenal hormones have not been demonstrated.
Current evidence does not indicate major effects of CoQ10 supplementation on key adrenal hormones. Future studies may discover new insights.
Influence on Growth Hormone (GH)
Growth hormone (GH) is involved in muscle building, bone strength and metabolism. Here’s what the research shows:
- One study on GH-deficient adults found 100 mg per day of CoQ10 increased IGF-1 levels, indicating enhanced GH activity.
- However, other trials show CoQ10 did not impact GH during aerobic exercise in young athletes of both genders.
- Robust evidence for increasing GH is lacking, though it may offer benefits in deficient states.
Overall data suggests CoQ10 is unlikely to significantly increase growth hormone or IGF-1 levels in healthy individuals. But research is still limited.
Effects on Insulin and Blood Sugar
Insulin regulates blood sugar levels. Some research indicates CoQ10 may improve insulin sensitivity and blood sugar control:
- Studies show CoQ10 supplementation enhanced insulin sensitivity in patients with diabetes.
- It also lowered fasting blood sugar and hemoglobin A1c in diabetics.
- CoQ10 may improve insulin signaling by reducing oxidative damage to cells and improving mitochondrial function.
Despite promising indications, current evidence remains insufficient to affirm clear benefits on insulin, blood sugar and diabetes control.
Impact on Melatonin
The hormone melatonin regulates sleep-wake cycles. While preliminary, early studies suggest CoQ10 supplementation may increase melatonin:
- One trial found CoQ10 raised melatonin levels in postmenopausal women.
- Another study reported CoQ10 increased nighttime melatonin levels and improved sleep quality in older adults.
- However, some trials show no effects on melatonin.
- More research is needed to confirm if CoQ10 reliably affects melatonin secretion and sleep regulation.
Potential Anti-Inflammatory Effects
Hormones like estrogen and cortisol have anti-inflammatory effects in the body. Though not directly hormonal, some research shows CoQ10 may reduce inflammation:
- Multiple trials report CoQ10 decreasing inflammatory markers like IL-6, TNF-a, and CRP.
- Reduced inflammation may result from lowering oxidative stress.
- By mitigating excessive inflammation, CoQ10 may mimic and support endogenous anti-inflammatory hormones.
However, these potential anti-inflammatory mechanisms require more study for confirmation.
Hormonal Effects Summary
In summary, early research suggests CoQ10 supplementation may:
- Increase testosterone in men, especially those with infertility
- Improve thyroid hormone balance in low-functioning states
- Support estrogen levels in postmenopausal women
- Enhance insulin sensitivity and blood sugar control
- Potentially raise melatonin levels
However, larger and more robust data from human clinical trials is needed to substantiate impacts on hormones. Effects also appear small and may not raise levels outside of normal ranges.
Effective supplemental doses to achieve hormonal and other benefits appear to range from 100-300 mg per day.
However, optimal dosing may depend partially on baseline CoQ10 status and medical conditions. Those with deficiencies may need higher intakes under medical guidance.
As with any new supplement, it’s wise to start low at 100 mg daily and monitor changes in hormone levels for your individual needs.
Effects on Male vs Female Hormones
Most research indicates CoQ10 affects male hormones like testosterone more significantly than female hormones.
However, improved estrogen levels in postmenopausal women show it may help restore age-related hormonal declines in both men and women.
Enhanced thyroid function and insulin sensitivity from CoQ10 supplementation also apply to both genders.
But stronger evidence exists for increasing testosterone in men thus far. More data on effects for women is still needed.
Timing of Supplementation
There are no solid guidelines on best timing of CoQ10 supplementation related to hormones. However, some general considerations include:
- Take CoQ10 with food for optimal absorption.
- Morning or midday is likely best for energy; avoid evenings if stimulating.
- Allow at least 2-4 weeks to notice changes in hormone levels or symptoms.
- Take consistently alongside other supplements or medications that affect hormones.
Work with your healthcare provider to determine optimal CoQ10 timing for your needs. Tracking symptoms and getting follow-up lab testing can help personalize timing.
Potential Benefits for Hormonal Conditions
While more research is still required, current evidence indicates CoQ10 supplementation may provide benefits for the following hormonal health conditions:
- Declining testosterone levels in aging males
- Infertility and low sperm counts in men
- Menopausal symptoms in perimenopausal and postmenopausal women
- Hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s disease
- Prediabetes and diabetes management
- Sleep regulation and circadian rhythms
If you have any of these conditions, consider discussing CoQ10 with your doctor as a potential safe adjunctive treatment approach.
Safety and Side Effects
CoQ10 is generally well tolerated by healthy adults at recommended dosages of up to 300 mg per day. Mild side effects can include:
- Insomnia or excitation
- Upset stomach or diarrhea
- Skin rashes (rare)
Lowering dosage usually resolves these issues. Those on medications should discuss potential interactions with CoQ10, especially diabetes and thyroid medications.
Otherwise, CoQ10 demonstrates an excellent safety profile for most people at commonly used dosages. But of course, consult your doctor before using CoQ10 supplements.
Keep these important factors and limitations in mind regarding CoQ10 and hormones:
- More large-scale human trials are still needed for definitive evidence.
- Effects on hormone levels appear small and may not produce major clinical changes.
- Benefits are most demonstrated for testosterone and male fertility thus far.
- Impacts likely depend partially on CoQ10 and hormone status at baseline.
- Optimal dosing, timing and duration requires more research.
- Work with a healthcare provider to determine if CoQ10 fits your hormonal health needs.
In conclusion, while CoQ10 shows early promise for influencing hormones, individuals should not replace standard treatments without medical guidance.
- Early research suggests CoQ10 may support declining levels of testosterone, estrogen and thyroid hormones.
- It also appears to enhance insulin sensitivity and blood sugar control.
- Potentially, CoQ10 could influence melatonin and inflammation regulation.
- However, larger and more robust data from clinical studies is still needed.
- Effects appear small and may depend on baseline CoQ10 and hormone status.
- CoQ10 shows promise as an adjunctive treatment for hormonal conditions at dosages of 100-300 mg.
- Talk to your doctor before using CoQ10 for hormonal health concerns.
Does CoQ10 change hormones? Conclusion
In summary, preliminary evidence indicates CoQ10 may provide modest benefits for hormonal health, including testosterone, estrogen, thyroid hormones, and markers like blood sugar and inflammation. However, current research is still considered insufficient to demonstrate definitive effects on hormone levels.
While promising, larger controlled trials are needed to substantiate impacts, determine clinical relevance, and establish optimal dosing guidelines. Individuals with hormonal imbalances should not attempt to replace standard medical treatments with CoQ10 supplementation without medical supervision.
In conclusion, CoQ10 may offer support as an adjuvant therapy for hormonal conditions at typical supplemental doses. But work with your doctor to see if CoQ10 is appropriate for your specific hormone-related health concerns.
Resources used to write this article
- CoQ10 and estrogen:
- CoQ10 and testosterone:
- CoQ10 and thyroid hormones:
- CoQ10 and adrenal hormones:
- CoQ10 and growth hormone:
- CoQ10, insulin and blood sugar:
- CoQ10 and melatonin:
- Anti-inflammatory effects:
- Hormone effects summary: