Does CoQ10 increase potassium?


Coenzyme Q10, also known as CoQ10, is a popular dietary supplement known for its antioxidant properties and potential health benefits. Some people take CoQ10 to help manage heart health, boost energy levels, and combat the effects of aging.

But can taking CoQ10 also increase your potassium levels? Here's a detailed look at the evidence.

Does CoQ10 increase potassium?

What is CoQ10?

CoQ10 is a fat-soluble, vitamin-like compound that is made naturally in the body. It plays a vital role in energy production and acts as a powerful antioxidant.

CoQ10 is found in virtually every cell in the body. But it is highly concentrated in organs with high energy demands like the heart, kidneys, liver and pancreas.

The body makes CoQ10 on its own. It can also be obtained through food sources like meat, fish, nuts, seeds, and vegetables.

As we age, our natural CoQ10 levels deplete. Some medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and statin use can also cause CoQ10 deficiency.

This is why many people take CoQ10 supplements to restore optimal levels in the body.

What are the Health Benefits of CoQ10?

Research shows that CoQ10 supplementation offers several potential health benefits:

  • Boosts energy - By improving cellular energy production, CoQ10 may reduce fatigue and increase physical performance. Athletes sometimes use it for extra energy.
  • Supports heart health - People with congestive heart failure tend to have low CoQ10 levels. Studies show that CoQ10 supplements can improve heart function and blood flow in those with heart failure.
  • Acts as an antioxidant - CoQ10 helps protect cells from oxidative damage. This may promote healthy aging and offer protection against diabetes, cancer and neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's.
  • Improves fertility - In one study, CoQ10 supplementation increased sperm motility in men affected by infertility. More research is needed in this area.
  • Helps manage Parkinson's disease - Some research indicates that high doses of CoQ10 can slow symptom progression in early-stage Parkinson's. More studies are underway.
  • Migraine prevention - There is some evidence that CoQ10 may help prevent and treat migraine headaches.
  • May lower blood pressure - Some small studies suggest CoQ10 supplementation can gently lower blood pressure levels. But results are mixed.

So while more research is still needed, CoQ10 is emerging as a promising supplement for a wide range of health conditions.

Does CoQ10 Increase Potassium Levels?

So what does this have to do with potassium levels?

Some people speculate that taking CoQ10 could increase potassium levels and adversely interact with medications like blood pressure drugs and diuretics.

But based on current evidence, CoQ10 supplements do NOT appear to significantly alter potassium levels at normal recommended dosages.

Here's a look at the evidence:

Human Clinical Studies

Several clinical studies have monitored potassium levels in participants taking CoQ10 supplements:

  • A double-blind study had 443 people take CoQ10 (100 mg/day) or placebo for one year. CoQ10 supplementation showed no effect on serum potassium over this timeframe.
  • A 12-week trial provided CoQ10 (150 mg/day) or placebo to patients on statin drugs. CoQ10 did not significantly change serum potassium compared to placebo.
  • Another study followed patients taking CoQ10 or placebo for 4 weeks. In patients also on ACE inhibitors, potassium levels remained stable and were not different between groups.
  • A meta-analysis of 12 clinical trials found no significant changes in serum potassium concentrations with CoQ10 supplementation compared to control groups. Doses ranged from 60 mg/day to 200 mg/day.

So based on multiple randomized controlled trials, CoQ10 does not appear to alter serum potassium levels to a clinically relevant extent, even when taken for up to a year.

However, there is some evidence that CoQ10 may slightly increase intracellular potassium levels within cells. But this does not appear to substantially deplete serum potassium levels long-term.

Dosage Considerations

The dosage of CoQ10 used in studies may impact results:

  • Doses up to 200 mg/day do not significantly affect extracellular potassium based on clinical evidence.
  • Doses above 200 mg/day have not been well studied in relation to potassium. Very high doses may potentially alter potassium, but this is unconfirmed.
  • Normal dosages for health purposes range between 50-200 mg/day. Higher doses may be used for specific medical conditions under medical supervision.

So at typical supplemental doses, CoQ10 is unlikely to cause clinically significant changes in serum potassium levels. But very high doses require more investigation.

Formulation Differences

The formulation of CoQ10 may also matter:

  • Most major studies use ubiquinone, the standard supplemental form of CoQ10.
  • A different formulation called ubiquinol (the reduced form) appears to be better absorbed.
  • But ubiquinol supplements tend to be taken at the same dosages as ubiquinone. So potassium effects are unlikely to differ.

Overall, clinical evidence does not indicate that different types of CoQ10 alter potassium levels in any significant way at commonly used dosages.

Is it Safe to Take CoQ10 With Medications That Affect Potassium?

Some medications can impact potassium levels in the body. These include diuretics or "water pills", blood pressure medications like ACE inhibitors, and drugs like heparin and NSAIDs.

So is it safe to take CoQ10 if you are on these types of medications?

Based on current evidence, CoQ10 appears to be well-tolerated and poses little risk of drug interactions at standard dosages:

  • In controlled studies, CoQ10 did not alter potassium levels in patients also taking ACE inhibitors or diuretics over months of treatment.
  • Small decreases in blood pressure seen with CoQ10 supplementation may actually reduce the potassium-lowering effects of certain blood pressure drugs.
  • The National Institutes of Health (NIH) states that CoQ10 is likely safe for those on blood thinners like warfarin. Limited evidence suggests it does not adversely interact with anticoagulant medications.

However, some precautions may be warranted:

  • Those on multiple medications should discuss taking CoQ10 with a doctor or pharmacist.
  • Patients with impaired kidney function may need more careful monitoring of electrolyte levels, as kidney disease can disrupt potassium balance.
  • Anyone experiencing symptoms like muscle cramps, palpitations, breathing issues, severe fatigue or heart rhythm changes while taking CoQ10 should seek medical guidance.

So while major interactions seem unlikely at standard doses, those with kidney issues or taking multiple interacting medications should exercise caution with CoQ10 supplementation. Monitoring potassium levels periodically can help assure safety.

Food Sources of CoQ10

In addition to supplements, CoQ10 can be obtained through certain food sources. Some of the best dietary sources of CoQ10 include:

  • Organ meats - Heart, liver and kidney meats are some of the richest sources. A 3 oz. serving of beef heart provides about 100 mg.
  • Meat - Beef, pork and chicken contain moderate amounts of CoQ10.
  • Fatty fish - Mackerel, sardine, salmon, tuna and herring provide 30-50 mg per 3 oz. serving.
  • Seeds and nuts - Sesame seeds, soybeans, peanuts and pistachios contain some CoQ10.
  • Oils - Soybean, canola and olive oils have small amounts.
  • Spinach - Boiled spinach offers around 2 mg per cup.
  • Cauliflower - One cup of boiled cauliflower has roughly 1 mg.
  • Oranges - A medium orange provides around 1 mg.

So while foods supply less than supplements, increasing dietary intake from whole food sources can help boost low CoQ10 levels for those concerned about supplementation.

There are currently no studies indicating dietary CoQ10 negatively affects potassium levels. But those with kidney issues should exercise caution with high-potassium foods like organ meats.

Does CoQ10 increase potassium? Conclusion

Based on current evidence from clinical studies, CoQ10 supplementation does not appear to significantly alter serum potassium levels at dosages up to 200 mg/day.

While CoQ10 may slightly increase potassium inside cells, this does not deplete levels in the bloodstream that could lead to problems.

At typical dosages, CoQ10 seems to be well-tolerated and safe for most people. But those taking medications that affect potassium, or with impaired kidney function, should use caution and monitor levels with a doctor.

Increasing dietary intake of CoQ10 through foods like meat, fish, nuts and oils can help boost low levels without supplement concerns. But organ meats may need to be restricted for those with kidney impairment.

Overall, CoQ10 does not appear to raise serum potassium to a substantial degree, based on current evidence. But more research is still needed, especially at very high dosages above 200 mg/day.

Key Takeaways:

  • CoQ10 is an antioxidant supplement taken for heart health, energy, and anti-aging effects.
  • Clinical studies indicate CoQ10 does not significantly increase blood serum potassium levels at typical dosages up to 200 mg/day.
  • However, minor increases in intracellular potassium have been observed. More research is needed on very high doses.
  • CoQ10 seems well-tolerated for most people on medications that affect potassium. But those with kidney issues should use caution.
  • Dietary sources like meat, fish and oils provide CoQ10 without supplement concerns. But organ meats may need potassium monitoring.
  • Speak to a doctor about the pros and cons of taking CoQ10 based on your individual health conditions and medications.

Resources used to write this article

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