Skip Navigation

Search Knowledgebase

Coenzyme Q10 for Sports & Fitness

Why Use

Coenzyme Q10

Why Do Athletes Use It?*

Some athletes say that coenzyme Q10 helps improve edurance.

What Do the Advocates Say?*

Because CoQ10 plays a major role in fat and energy metabolism, it may be beneficial to athletes who are expending a lot of calories. However, CoQ10 has not been fully investigated in regards to its effect on athletic performance.

*Athletes and fitness advocates may claim benefits for this supplement based on their personal or professional experience. These are individual opinions and testimonials that may or may not be supported by controlled clinical studies or published scientific articles.

Dosage & Side Effects

Coenzyme Q10

How Much Is Usually Taken by Athletes?

Strenuous physical activity lowers blood levels of coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10).1 However, the effects of CoQ10 on how the healthy body responds to exercise have been inconsistent, with several studies finding no improvement.2 , 3 , 4 , 5 A few studies, using at least four weeks of CoQ10 supplementation at 60 to 100 mg per day, have reported improvements in measures of work capacity ranging from 3 to 29% in sedentary people and from 4 to 32% in trained athletes.6 However, recent double-blind and/or placebo-controlled trials in trained athletes, using performance measures such as time to exhaustion and total performance, have found either no significant improvement or significantly poorer results in those taking CoQ10.7 , 8 , 9

Side Effects

Congestive heart failure patients who are taking CoQ10 should not discontinue taking CoQ10 supplements unless under the supervision of a doctor.

An isolated test tube study reported that the anticancer effect of a certain cholesterol-lowering drug was blocked by addition of CoQ10.10 So far, experts in the field have put little stock in this report because its results have not yet been confirmed in animal, human, or even other test tube studies. The drug used in the test tube is not used to treat cancer, and preliminary information regarding the use of high amounts of CoQ10 in humans suggests the possibility of anticancer activity.11 , 12 , 13

Interactions with Supplements, Foods, & Other Compounds

At the time of writing, there were no well-known supplement or food interactions with this supplement.

Interactions with Medicines

Certain medicines interact with this supplement.

Types of interactions: Beneficial Adverse Check

Replenish Depleted Nutrients

  • Amitriptyline

    A number of tricyclic antidepressants have been shown to inhibit enzymes that require coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), a nutrient that is needed for normal heart function.14 In addition, treatment with amitriptyline has been associated with a reduction in CoQ10 levels.[REF] It is therefore possible that CoQ10 deficiency may be a contributing factor to the cardiac side effects that sometimes occur with tricyclic antidepressants. Some practitioners advise patients taking tricyclic antidepressants to supplement with 30–100 mg of CoQ10 per day.

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Amoxapine

    A number of tricyclic antidepressants have been shown to inhibit enzymes that require coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), a nutrient that is needed for normal heart function.15 It is therefore possible that CoQ10 deficiency may be a contributing factor to the cardiac side effects that sometimes occur with tricyclic antidepressants. Some practitioners advise patients taking tricyclic antidepressants to supplement with 30–100 mg of CoQ10 per day.

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Atorvastatin

    In a group of patients beginning treatment with atorvastatin, the average concentration of coenzyme Q10 in blood plasma decreased within 14 days, and had fallen by approximately 50% after 30 days of treatment.16 In a preliminary study, supplementation with 100 mg of CoQ10 per day reduced the severity of muscle pain by 40% in people with muscle pain caused by a statin drug.17 However, in a double-blind trial, CoQ10 in the amount of 60 mg twice a day for one month was not more effective than a placebo for relieving muscle pain.18  Although there is no clear evidence that supplementing with CoQ10 relieves statin-induced muscle symptoms, many doctors recommend CoQ10 supplementation to prevent the drug-induced decline in CoQ10 levels.

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Clomipramine

    A number of tricyclic antidepressants have been shown to inhibit enzymes that require coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), a nutrient that is needed for normal heart function.19 It is therefore possible that CoQ10 deficiency may be a contributing factor to the cardiac side effects that sometimes occur with tricyclic antidepressants. Some practitioners advise patients taking tricyclic antidepressants to supplement with 30–100 mg of CoQ10 per day.

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Desipramine

    A number of tricyclic antidepressants have been shown to inhibit enzymes that require coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), a nutrient that is needed for normal heart function.20 It is therefore possible that CoQ10 deficiency may be a contributing factor to the cardiac side effects that sometimes occur with tricyclic antidepressants. Some practitioners advise patients taking tricyclic antidepressants to supplement with 30–100 mg of CoQ10 per day.

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Doxepin

    A number of tricyclic antidepressants have been shown to inhibit enzymes that require coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), a nutrient that is needed for normal heart function.21 It is therefore possible that CoQ10 deficiency may be a contributing factor to the cardiac side effects that sometimes occur with tricyclic antidepressants. Some practitioners advise patients taking tricyclic antidepressants to supplement with 30–100 mg of CoQ10 per day.

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Fluvastatin

    In a randomized, double-blind trial, blood levels of coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) were measured in 45 people with high cholesterol treated with lovastatin or pravastatin (drugs related to fluvastatin) for 18 weeks.24 A significant decline in blood levels of CoQ10 occurred with either drug. One study found that supplementation with 100 mg of CoQ10 prevented declines in CoQ10 when taken with simvastatin (another HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor drug).25 Many doctors recommend that people taking HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor drugs such as fluvastatin also supplement with approximately 100 mg CoQ10 per day, although lower amounts, such as 10–30 mg per day, might conceivably be effective in preventing the decline in CoQ10 levels.

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Gemfibrozil

    In a randomized study of 21 men with combined hyperlipidemia, ten to twelve weeks of gemfibrozil therapy reduced coenzyme Q10 blood levels to the levels seen in healthy men.26 The clinical significance of this finding is unknown.

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Imipramine

    A number of tricyclic antidepressants have been shown to inhibit enzymes that require coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), a nutrient that is needed for normal heart function.27 It is therefore possible that CoQ10 deficiency may be a contributing factor to the cardiac side effects that sometimes occur with tricyclic antidepressants. Some practitioners advise patients taking tricyclic antidepressants to supplement with 30–100 mg of CoQ10 per day.

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Lovastatin

    It has been clearly documented that HMG Co-A reductase inhibitors, including lovastatin,28 deplete coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) levels in the blood, an effect that may be responsible for other side effects of the drug, such as abnormal liver function. In a double-blind trial, blood levels of CoQ10 were measured in 45 people with high cholesterol treated with lovastatin (20–80 mg per day) or pravastatin (10–40 mg per day) for 18 weeks.29 A significant decline in blood levels of CoQ10 occurred with both drugs. Supplementation with 90–100 mg per day CoQ10 has been shown to prevent reductions in blood levels of CoQ10 due to simvastatin.30 , 31 In a preliminary study, supplementation with 100 mg of CoQ10 per day reduced the severity of muscle pain by 40% in people with muscle pain caused by a statin drug.32

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Nortriptyline

    A number of tricyclic antidepressants have been shown to inhibit enzymes that require coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), a nutrient that is needed for normal heart function.33 It is therefore possible that CoQ10 deficiency may be a contributing factor to the cardiac side effects that sometimes occur with tricyclic antidepressants. Some practitioners advise patients taking tricyclic antidepressants to supplement with 30–100 mg of CoQ10 per day.

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Protriptyline

    A number of tricyclic antidepressants have been shown to inhibit enzymes that require coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), a nutrient that is needed for normal heart function.36 It is therefore possible that CoQ10 deficiency may be a contributing factor to the cardiac side effects that sometimes occur with tricyclic antidepressants. Some practitioners advise patients taking tricyclic antidepressants to supplement with 30–100 mg of CoQ10 per day.

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Rosuvastatin

    In a randomized, double-blind trial, blood levels of coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) were measured in 45 people with high cholesterol treated with lovastatin or pravastatin (drugs related to fluvastatin) for 18 weeks.37 A significant decline in blood levels of CoQ10 occurred with either drug. One study found that supplementation with 100 mg of CoQ10 prevented declines in CoQ10 when taken with simvastatin (another HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor drug).38 Many doctors recommend that people taking HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor drugs such as fluvastatin also supplement with approximately 100 mg CoQ10 per day, although lower amounts, such as 10–30 mg per day, might conceivably be effective in preventing the decline in CoQ10 levels.

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Trimipramine

    A number of tricyclic antidepressants have been shown to inhibit enzymes that require coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), a nutrient that is needed for normal heart function.41 It is therefore possible that CoQ10 deficiency may be a contributing factor to the cardiac side effects that sometimes occur with tricyclic antidepressants. Some practitioners advise patients taking tricyclic antidepressants to supplement with 30–100 mg of CoQ10 per day.

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.

Reduce Side Effects

  • Doxorubicin

    Pretreating people with the antioxidant coenzyme Q10 before administration of doxorubicin has reduced cardiac toxicity22 —an action also reported in animals.23 Some doctors recommend 100 mg per day.

  • Perphenazine

    Phenothiazine drugs similar to perphenazine can cause changes in heart activity in some people, which might be prevented by supplementing with coenzyme Q10.34 , 35 Therefore, some health practitioners may recommend coenzyme Q10 supplementation to people taking perphenazine.

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Thioridazine

    Phenothiazine drugs like thioridazine can cause changes in heart activity in some people, which might be prevented with coenzyme Q10 supplementation.39 Therefore, some doctors and pharmacists may recommend coenzyme Q10 supplements to individuals taking thioridazine.

  • Timolol

    In a group of 16 glaucoma patients treated with a timolol eye preparation, six weeks of oral coenzyme Q10 (90 mg per day) was reported to reduce timolol-induced cardiovascular side effects without affecting intraocular pressure treatment.40

Support Medicine

  • none

Reduces Effectiveness

  • Warfarin

    Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is structurally similar to vitamin K and may affect blood coagulation.42 Four case reports describe possible interference by CoQ10 with warfarin activity.43 , 44 , 45 It remains unknown how common or rare this interaction is. Those taking warfarin should only take CoQ10 with the guidance of their doctor.

Potential Negative Interaction

  • none

Explanation Required

  • Pravastatin

    In double-blind trials, treatment with pravastatin and other HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors has resulted in depleted blood levels of coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10).46 , 47 Supplementation with 90–100 mg CoQ10 per day has been shown to prevent reductions in blood levels of CoQ10 due to simvastatin, another drug in the same category as pravastatin.48 , 49 In a preliminary study, supplementation with 100 mg of CoQ10 per day reduced the severity of muscle pain by 40% in people with muscle pain caused by a statin drug.50

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Propranolol

    Propranolol inhibits enzymes dependent on coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10). In one trial, propranolol-induced symptoms were reduced in people given 60 mg of CoQ10 per day.51

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Simvastatin

    In patients with high cholesterol, simvastatin therapy results in decreased serum coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) levels.52 , 53 Several trials, including double-blind trials, have confirmed this effect of simvastatin and other HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors, such as lovastatin and pravastatin.54 , 55 , 56 Supplementation with 100 mg per day or 10 mg three times daily of CoQ10 has been shown to prevent reductions in blood levels of CoQ10 due to simvastatin.57 , 58 In the latter study, people taking CoQ10 along with simvastatin increased their blood CoQ10 concentration by 63%. In a preliminary study, supplementing with 100 mg of CoQ10 per day reduced the severity of muscle pain by 40% in people with muscle pain caused by a statin drug.59 However, in a double-blind trial, supplementation with 200 mg of CoQ10 per day did not improve muscle symptoms or tolerance to simvastatin.60 Because low CoQ10 levels are undesirable in people who have or are at risk for developing heart disease, many doctors recommend that people taking HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor drugs such as simvastatin also supplement with approximately 100 mg CoQ10 per day, although lower amounts, such as 10 to 30 mg per day might conceivably be effective in preventing the decline in CoQ10 levels.

More Resources

Coenzyme Q10

Where to Find It

CoQ10 is found primarily in fish and meat, but the amounts in food are far less than what can be obtained from supplements.

Resources

See a list of books, periodicals, and other resources for this and related topics.

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.