The Paradox of Coenzyme Q10 in Aging

Nutrients. 2019 Sep 14;11(9):2221. doi: 10.3390/nu11092221.


Coenzyme Q (CoQ) is an essential endogenously synthesized molecule that links different metabolic pathways to mitochondrial energy production thanks to its location in the mitochondrial inner membrane and its redox capacity, which also provide it with the capability to work as an antioxidant. Although defects in CoQ biosynthesis in human and mouse models cause CoQ deficiency syndrome, some animals models with particular defects in the CoQ biosynthetic pathway have shown an increase in life span, a fact that has been attributed to the concept of mitohormesis. Paradoxically, CoQ levels decline in some tissues in human and rodents during aging and coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) supplementation has shown benefits as an anti-aging agent, especially under certain conditions associated with increased oxidative stress. Also, CoQ10 has shown therapeutic benefits in aging-related disorders, particularly in cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. Thus, we discuss the paradox of health benefits due to a defect in the CoQ biosynthetic pathway or exogenous supplementation of CoQ10.

Keywords: aging-related diseases; anti-aging; antioxidant; diet; mitochondria; mitohormesis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aging*
  • Animals
  • Antioxidants
  • Ataxia*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans
  • Diet
  • Female
  • Hormesis / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Middle Aged
  • Mitochondria / physiology
  • Mitochondrial Diseases*
  • Muscle Weakness*
  • Rats
  • Ubiquinone / analogs & derivatives*
  • Ubiquinone / deficiency*
  • Young Adult


  • Antioxidants
  • Ubiquinone
  • coenzyme Q10

Supplementary concepts

  • Coenzyme Q10 Deficiency