Coenzyme Q10 for the treatment of heart failure: a review of the literature

Open Heart. 2015 Oct 19;2(1):e000326. doi: 10.1136/openhrt-2015-000326. eCollection 2015.


Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is an endogenously synthesised and diet-supplied lipid-soluble cofactor that functions in the mitochondrial inner membrane to transfer electrons from complexes I and II to complex III. In addition, its redox activity enables CoQ10 to act as a membrane antioxidant. In patients with congestive heart failure, myocardial CoQ10 content tends to decline as the degree of heart failure worsens. A number of controlled pilot trials with supplemental CoQ10 in heart failure found improvements in functional parameters such as ejection fraction, stroke volume and cardiac output, without side effects. Subsequent meta-analyses have confirmed these findings, although the magnitude of benefit tends to be less notable in patients with severe heart failure, or within the context of ACE inhibitor therapy. The multicentre randomised placebo-controlled Q-SYMBIO trial has assessed the impact of supplemental CoQ10 on hard endpoints in heart failure. A total of 420 patients received either CoQ10 (100 mg three times daily) or placebo and were followed for 2 years. Although short-term functional endpoints were not statistically different in the two groups, CoQ10 significantly reduced the primary long-term endpoint-a major adverse cardiovascular event-which was observed in 15% of the treated participants compared to 26% of those receiving placebo (HR=0.50, CI 0.32 to 0.80, p=0.003). Particularly in light of the excellent tolerance and affordability of this natural physiological compound, supplemental CoQ10 has emerged as an attractive option in the management of heart failure, and merits evaluation in additional large studies.

Keywords: HEART FAILURE; coenzyme Q10.

Publication types

  • Review