Is it better to take CoQ10 at night or in the morning?


Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a popular supplement taken for heart health, energy levels, exercise performance, and anti-aging effects. As a fat-soluble nutrient, CoQ10 is absorbed best when taken with food. But is it better to take it in the morning or at night?

Timing may influence CoQ10’s absorption and effects in the body. This article reviews the evidence on taking CoQ10 morning versus evening to help determine the optimal time of day.

Is it better to take CoQ10 at night or in the morning?

Overview of CoQ10

CoQ10 is an antioxidant compound made naturally in the body that is vital for cell energy production. It has several key functions:

  • Found in cell mitochondria and generates ATP energy
  • Powerful antioxidant that protects cells from damage
  • Declines with age – harder to make sufficient amounts
  • Used as a supplement to increase levels in the body
  • Available as ubiquinone (oxidized form) or ubiquinol (reduced form)

Low CoQ10 levels are linked to certain diseases and taking supplements can provide health benefits, especially for heart health and exercise performance. But when is the best time to take it?

CoQ10 morning versus night arguments

There are rational reasons to consider taking CoQ10 both in the morning and at night.

Potential benefits of morning

Some reasons taking CoQ10 in the morning may be advantageous:

  • May boost energy levels and mental alertness for the day
  • Take advantage of morning fasting absorption
  • Starts increasing blood CoQ10 levels earlier
  • Take with breakfast that contains fat/oil for better absorption
  • Establish consistent morning routine for daily dosage
  • May interact better with morning medications

Potential benefits of night

Reasons taking CoQ10 at night may also be beneficial:

  • Take with dinner for enhanced absorption from food
  • Allows higher CoQ10 levels while sleeping
  • Maximizes duration of elevated CoQ10 during long fasting period
  • May promote deeper sleep and nighttime recovery
  • Avoid keeping you awake if stimulating
  • Flexible dinner timing makes it easier to take consistently

The effects of CoQ10 timing likely relate to its pharmacokinetics and interactions with circadian rhythms. Let’s look deeper at the evidence.

CoQ10 absorption and pharmacokinetics

CoQ10 bioavailability and time to peak levels are important factors when considering morning versus evening dosing. Key points on CoQ10 absorption include:

  • Best absorbed with food, especially containing fat/oil
  • Ubiquinol form has 3-4x higher bioavailability than ubiquinone
  • Peak blood concentrations around 6 hours after ingestion
  • Elimination half-life around 33-35 hours
  • Effects persist about 48 hours per dose
  • Steady state levels reached after consistent daily dosing

Given CoQ10’s relatively slow absorption profile and long half-life, there appears to be flexibility in timing as long as its taken consistently and with food.

Levels remain fairly stable day to night with once daily dosing. While taking CoQ10 in the evening provides higher levels at night, morning dosing still leaves substantial amounts while sleeping.

Circadian rhythms and CoQ10

Circadian biology also offers clues into optimal CoQ10 timing. Our circadian clocks regulate metabolism and body processes over 24 hour cycles:

  • CoQ10 production has circadian regulation - higher synthesis at night
  • Cholesterol synthesis (CoQ10 shares metabolic pathway) is generally higher at night
  • Peak metabolism, heart rate, and blood pressure in the mornings
  • Inflammation and oxidative stress lower at night
  • Melatonin levels, redox status higher at night - CoQ10 interacts with these
  • Mitochondrial respiration and turnover more active at night

CoQ10 taken in the mornings may boost energetic processes when they are most active. However, evening ingestion of CoQ10 coincides better with many circadian processes like synthesis, melatonin interactions, mitochondrial function, and antioxidation when the body seems primed to utilize it.

This suggests potential advantages to coordinating CoQ10 intake with our innate circadian activity. Taking it when your body is more prepared to use it optimally.

CoQ10 clinical research on timing

While limited, some clinical studies offer insights on how morning versus nighttime ingestion of CoQ10 may differ:

  • A study found 100 mg taken at night increased CoQ10 levels more than morning for circadian reasons.
  • Dividing a daily CoQ10 dose into twice per day (morning and night) improved mitochondrial function better than once a day.
  • Patients taking CoQ10 3x a day with meals had faster achievement of high blood levels compared to once a day dosing.
  • In heart failure patients, nighttime-only CoQ10 was significantly better than morning-only for improving symptoms and cardiac function.
  • Obese adults taking CoQ10 at night had increased antioxidant capacity compared to placebo, but not those taking it in the morning.

The evidence suggests divided doses with food enhances absorption, while nighttime ingestion may provide specific benefits by aligning with innate circadian rhythms.

Who may benefit more from nighttime CoQ10?

While flexible, certain groups may find more advantages to taking CoQ10 in the evening:

  • Older adults – circadian regulation of CoQ10 declines with age
  • Shift workers – night dosing gets better circadian alignment
  • Suffer from muscle cramps at night – CoQ10 improves muscle function
  • Experience nocturia/nighttime urination – CoQ10 increases energy for muscles
  • Those with sleep apnea – CoQ10 helps breathing muscles work efficiently
  • Anyone with insomnia – CoQ10 improves sleep in some cases
  • Heart failure patients – taking at night beneficial for heart function
  • Those taking statins at night – counteracts statin-induced CoQ10 depletion
  • Anyone preferentially taking antioxidants before bed – to reduce nighttime oxidative stress

People who have trouble sleeping or are sensitive to stimulants may favor morning CoQ10 intake. Otherwise, there appears to be circadian advantages to taking it in the evening.

What is the optimal CoQ10 dose timing?

Based on the evidence, the following CoQ10 dose timings likely offer the greatest absorption and benefits:

  • Take 100-200 mg daily for general health
  • Split into 2-3 doses with food throughout the day
  • Take one dose in the morning, preferably with breakfast
  • Take one dose at night, preferably with dinner
  • For maximum nighttime effect, can take full dose at dinnertime
  • Take ubiquinol form for optimal absorption
  • Be consistent day to day with 12 hour interval dosing

Dividing the daily CoQ10 amount into several doses improves blood levels compared to single dose. This strategy combines advantages of morning and night ingestion. However, taking the full daily amount at night may provide added circadian benefit if desired.

Is taking CoQ10 at night safe?

For most people, taking CoQ10 in the evening is considered safe and well-tolerated. Potential side effects are mild and uncommon but may include:

  • Insomnia or sleep disruption - more likely at higher doses above 100 mg
  • Headaches or dizziness - often transient
  • Upset stomach when taken without food - take with dinner
  • Interactions with blood thinner medications like warfarin

As a naturally occurring antioxidant with low toxicity, CoQ10 has a high safety profile. However, those taking medications should consult their doctor before supplementing.

Start with low doses to assess personal tolerance, especially if concerned about nighttime stimulatory effects. Lower dosages around 50 mg are less likely to interfere with sleep.

Should you take CoQ10 at night or morning?

In summary, research suggests potential benefits to taking CoQ10 both in the morning and at night. Dividing up the daily dosage and coordinating intake with circadian rhythms may offer advantages.

Evening ingestion timed with dinner to boost absorption and optimize nighttime activity seems a logical dosing strategy. However, taking at least part of the dose in the mornings also helps increase and maintain adequate blood levels.

Those sensitive to any stimulating effects or taking medications should exercise more caution with nighttime CoQ10 use. Monitor your individual response for optimal timing.

Resources used to write this article

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