Does CoQ10 cause weight gain?


Coenzyme Q10, also known as CoQ10, is a vitamin-like substance that is produced naturally in the body. It is also available as a dietary supplement. CoQ10 plays an important role in energy production and serves as a powerful antioxidant. But some people wonder if CoQ10 can lead to weight gain as a side effect.

Does CoQ10 cause weight gain?

What is CoQ10?

CoQ10 is a compound that helps generate energy in your cells. It's involved in making adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which serves as the cell's main energy source. CoQ10 exists in every cell of your body, but especially in organs that require a lot of energy, like your heart, kidneys, and liver.

CoQ10 also acts as an antioxidant, helping protect cells from damage caused by harmful compounds called free radicals. As an antioxidant, it helps fight oxidative stress that is linked to many diseases.

Your body makes some CoQ10 on its own, but its production tends to decrease with age. Certain medications, like statins used to lower cholesterol, can also deplete CoQ10 levels. For these reasons, some people take CoQ10 supplements to help increase their levels.

Common Uses and Benefits of CoQ10 Supplements

CoQ10 supplements are commonly used to:

  • Treat heart-related conditions like heart failure, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol
  • Improve symptoms of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Slow down neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson's disease and Huntington's disease
  • Enhance athletic performance by reducing oxidative stress and improving cellular energy
  • Help prevent migraines and cluster headaches
  • Improve egg quality and fertility in women
  • Alleviate side effects of statin medications used to lower cholesterol

Research shows that CoQ10 supplements may provide the following benefits:

  • Improve heart health and function
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Boost energy levels
  • Reduce inflammation
  • Improve endothelial function and blood vessel health
  • Enhance physical performance
  • Stimulate the immune system
  • Slow age-related decline in cellular energy

However, it's important to note that the research on CoQ10 is still emerging. Some studies show significant benefits, while others find no effects. More large-scale studies are needed to clarify the effects of CoQ10 supplementation.

Can CoQ10 Cause Weight Gain?

Some people claim that taking CoQ10 causes them to gain weight. However, there is no strong evidence that CoQ10 directly causes weight gain.

CoQ10 is not known to affect appetite, calorie burn, fat absorption, metabolism, or other bodily processes involved in weight changes. There are also no ingredients in CoQ10 supplements that should lead to increased weight.

That said, some users do report gaining a few pounds after starting CoQ10 supplementation. There are a few potential reasons for this:

Water Retention

Some research indicates CoQ10 may have mild diuretic effects, meaning it can reduce water loss through urine. This may lead to slight water retention or fluid build-up in some people when starting supplementation. The small amount of added water weight could translate into a few added pounds on the scale.

However, research has not found major effects of CoQ10 on fluid balance or water weight overall. Any water retention is likely mild and temporary when first starting supplementation. Staying well hydrated can help minimize fluid retention as well.

Increased Energy and Appetite

Some people report feeling more energetic after taking CoQ10 supplements regularly. This added energy could potentially increase appetite and calorie intake in some users, leading to slight weight gain over time.

However, research has not confirmed that CoQ10 boosts appetite or food intake. Any increase in appetite and calories is likely to be modest and vary significantly between individuals.

Muscle Gain

A small percentage of CoQ10 users notice gains in muscle mass after supplementation, which adds weight. CoQ10 improves cellular energy production and mitochondrial function, which may enhance physical performance. This could allow for better muscle building when paired with strength training.

However, CoQ10 is not a muscle building supplement. Any increase in lean muscle mass is likely to be minimal for most users.

Fat Loss Masking

In some cases, CoQ10 may help burn small amounts of fat by boosting metabolism, while simultaneously increasing water weight. The fat loss could be masked by water retention, making it appear as though overall weight has increased slightly.

However, there is limited evidence that CoQ10 boosts fat burning significantly. Any metabolic enhancing effects are likely modest.

Individual Variation

It's important to note that people's responses to supplements can vary based on factors like genetics, diet, medical conditions, medications, and more. Some individuals may experience slight water retention, appetite changes, or other effects from CoQ10 supplementation while others do not. A small percentage of users reporting weight gain does not mean the supplement directly causes it.

Tips to Prevent Weight Gain on CoQ10

If you do notice a few extra pounds after starting CoQ10, there are steps you can take to get back on track:

  • Monitor your calorie intake and avoid overeating. CoQ10 is unlikely to directly increase appetite or calories, so be cognizant of your portion sizes.
  • Drink plenty of water. Staying well hydrated can offset any potential fluid retention effects of CoQ10.
  • Weigh yourself regularly. Small fluid weight gains can appear exaggerated on the scale. Weighing daily or weekly lets you distinguish fat gain from water weight.
  • Exercise more. Burning extra calories through cardio, strength training, or other activity can prevent weight gain. CoQ10 may enhance your workout performance as well.
  • Consider a lower CoQ10 dosage. Try reducing your dosage to see if it changes any influence on weight. Work with your doctor to find the most appropriate dose.
  • Give it time. Minor weight fluctuations when starting a new supplement are common. Stick with CoQ10 for a few weeks to see if any initial water retention resolves.
  • Talk to your doctor. Discuss any concerns about weight changes with your physician and have them monitor your progress on CoQ10.

With proper dosage, monitoring, and a healthy lifestyle, you should be able to take CoQ10 without experiencing significant weight gain. Focus on whole foods, regular exercise, and other healthy habits for long-term weight management.

Typical CoQ10 Dosage and Precautions

The standard daily dosage for CoQ10 is 100–200 mg per day, taken in 1-2 divided doses with meals for best absorption.

Mega-doses up to 500 mg per day have been used for specific conditions like heart failure, but evidence for benefits above 200 mg daily is lacking. High doses may also increase the risk of adverse effects.

CoQ10 is generally well tolerated, even at higher dosages. Potential side effects may include:

  • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
  • Insomnia
  • Skin rash
  • Fatigue
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Dizziness
  • Irritability

CoQ10 supplements can interact with blood thinners like warfarin and statin medications used for high cholesterol. Consult your doctor before using CoQ10 if you take any medications or have a medical condition, especially heart related.

Certain groups should avoid CoQ10 supplements unless approved by their physician:

  • Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • People with diabetes or taking medication for blood sugar control
  • Those scheduled for surgery within 2 weeks
  • Organ transplant recipients
  • People with low blood pressure or on blood pressure lowering medication

CoQ10 is likely safe for most healthy adults when used appropriately. But discuss it with your healthcare provider to address any concerns and determine if it’s right for your individual needs.

The Bottom Line

In conclusion, there is little evidence that CoQ10 supplementation directly causes weight gain. Some users do report slight increases in body weight after starting CoQ10, potentially due to water retention, increased appetite, muscle growth, or fat loss masking effects.

However, research has not confirmed any major impact of CoQ10 on weight or body composition. Any weight gain experienced is likely to be modest and temporary.

With proper dosage, hydration, exercise, and a balanced diet, CoQ10 is unlikely to lead to significant weight changes in most people. But as with any supplement, pay attention to your individual response and discuss concerns with your doctor.

Focus on overall healthy habits for long-term weight management and wellness - CoQ10 may provide additional benefits like heart health, increased energy, and exercise performance.

Resources used to write this article

Langsjoen, P. H., & Langsjoen, A. M. (2014). Supplemental ubiquinol in patients with advanced congestive heart failure. Biofactors (Oxford, England), 40(1), 119–128.

Mohr, D., Bowry, V. W., & Stocker, R. (1992). Dietary supplementation with coenzyme Q10 results in increased levels of ubiquinol-10 within circulating lipoproteins and increased resistance of human low-density lipoprotein to the initiation of lipid peroxidation. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) - Lipids and Lipid Metabolism, 1126(3), 247-254.

Gökbel, H., Gül, I., Belviranlı, M., & Okudan, N. (2010). The effects of coenzyme Q10 supplementation on performance during repeated bouts of supramaximal exercise in sedentary men. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 24(1), 97-102.

Digiesi, V., Cantini, F., Oradei, A., Bisi, G., Guarino, G. C., & Brocchi, A. (1994). Coenzyme Q10 in essential hypertension. Molecular Aspects of Medicine, 15, s257-s263.

Kumar, A., Kaur, H., Devi, P., & Mohan, V. (2009). Role of coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) in cardiac disease, hypertension and Meniere-like syndrome. Pharmacology & Therapeutics, 124(3), 259–268.

Shults, C. W., Oakes, D., Kieburtz, K., Beal, M. F., Haas, R., Plumb, S., Juncos, J. L., Nutt, J., Shoulson, I., Carter, J., Kompoliti, K., Perlmutter, J. S., Reich, S., Stern, M., Watts, R. L., Kurlan, R., Molho, E., Harrison, M., & Lew, M. (2002). Effects of coenzyme Q10 in early Parkinson disease: evidence of slowing of the functional decline. Archives of Neurology, 59(10), 1541–1550.

Young, A. J., Johnson, S., Steffens, D. C., & Doraiswamy, P. M. (2007). Coenzyme Q10: a review of its promise as a neuroprotectant. CNS spectrums, 12(1), 62–68.

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