Coenzyme Q10: absorption, antioxidative properties, determinants, and plasma levels

Free Radic Res. 2002 Apr;36(4):389-97. doi: 10.1080/10715760290021234.


The purpose of this article is to summarise our studies, in which the main determinants and absorption of plasma coenzyme Q10 (Q10, ubiquinone) have been assessed, and the effects of moderate dose oral Q10 supplementation on plasma antioxidative capacity, lipoprotein oxidation resistance and on plasma lipid peroxidation investigated. All the supplementation trials carried out have been blinded and placebo-controlled clinical studies. Of the determinants of Q10, serum cholesterol, serum triglycerides, male gender, alcohol consumption and age were found to be associated positively with plasma Q10 concentration. A single dose of 30 mg of Q10, which is the maximum daily dose recommended by Q10 producers, had only a marginal elevating effect on plasma Q10 levels in non-Q10-deficient subjects. Following supplementation, a dose-dependent increase in plasma Q10 levels was observed up to a daily dose of 200 mg, which resulted in a 6.1-fold increase in plasma Q10 levels. However, simultaneous supplementation with vitamin E resulted in lower plasma Q10 levels. Of the lipid peroxidation measurements, Q10 supplementation did not increase LDL TRAP, plasma TRAP, VLDL+LDL oxidation resistance nor did it decrease LDL oxidation susceptibility ex vivo. Q10 with minor vitamin E dose neither decreased exercise-induced lipid peroxidation ex vivo nor muscular damage. Q10 supplementation might, however, decrease plasma lipid peroxidation in vivo, as assessed by the increased proportion of plasma ubiquinol (reduced form, Q10H2) of total Q10. High dose vitamin E supplementation decreased this proportion, which suggests in vivo regeneration of tocopheryl radicals by ubiquinol.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Absorption
  • Administration, Oral
  • Aged
  • Antioxidants / metabolism
  • Antioxidants / pharmacokinetics*
  • Arteriosclerosis / drug therapy*
  • Cholesterol / blood
  • Coenzymes
  • Creatine Kinase / blood
  • Cytoprotection
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Exercise
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lipid Peroxidation / drug effects*
  • Lipoproteins, LDL / blood
  • Lipoproteins, LDL / drug effects
  • Lipoproteins, VLDL / blood
  • Lipoproteins, VLDL / drug effects
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects
  • Running
  • Ubiquinone / analogs & derivatives*
  • Ubiquinone / blood
  • Ubiquinone / pharmacokinetics*
  • Vitamin E / blood
  • Vitamin E / pharmacokinetics


  • Antioxidants
  • Coenzymes
  • Lipoproteins, LDL
  • Lipoproteins, VLDL
  • Ubiquinone
  • Vitamin E
  • Cholesterol
  • Creatine Kinase
  • coenzyme Q10