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New data review confirms Co-Q10’s role in fatigue reduction

Tuesday February 12, 2019
New data review confirms Co-Q10’s role in fatigue reduction

Feeling tired, or even exhausted? Whether due to illness, over-work or the side-effects of medication, a new scientific literature review has revealed that a simple supplement can revive your energy levels.

Multiple studies on the supplementation of co-enzyme Q10 (CoQ10) have suggested that it’s use may play a significant role in the reduction of statin side-effects and help relieve energy-deficit conditions including fibromyalgia and multiple sclerosis.

A Systematic Review published by Mehrabani & Arab, 2019 selected 16 high quality studies to give an overview of the most current findings to date.  Interestingly, the studies that showed significant beneficial effects of CoQ10 supplementation on fatigue status, were among fibromyalgia, statin-related fatigue, multiple sclerosis or end-stage heart failure subjects.

Firstly, let’s define fatigue; suggestions range from “a problem in starting or maintaining voluntary activity”, or describing short-term fatigue as “reversible motor weakness and whole-body tiredness that were predominantly brought on by muscular exertion and was relieved by rest”.  


Yet long term fatigue was described as “a result of acute (short term) fatigue accumulation, and it may sometimes be irreversible”.  Furthermore, fatigue can also be classified as physical and mental.  While the causes of fatigue can be diverse, common contributors may include; illness, excessive physical exertion and stress.

“As physical fatigue can reduce the quality of life in healthy people, athletes and patients (…), we decided to conduct a systematic review of interventional studies to investigate the effect of CoQ10 supplementation on fatigue among adolescent and adult population”.

Mehrabani & Arab, 2019



Co-enzyme Q10 for Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is described as a rheumatic condition characterised by muscular or musculoskeletal pain with stiffness and localised tenderness at specific points on the body.  It often may manifest with a lack of mental clarity, fatigue and/or gastrointestinal upset.

In the review, five studies assessed 100mg to 400mg CoQ10 daily on a total of 150 female and 39 male fibromyalgia patients from 40 days to three months.  The fibromyalgia subjects (ranged in ages that included adolescents, adults and the elderly) completed a questionnaire to assess their level of fatigue.  All five studies reported a significant reduction in fatigue after the CoQ10 treatment period.

The impaired processes that are thought to be the basis of fibromyalgia include; oxidative stress, mitochondrial dysfunction (in ability to product energy in the cell efficiently), issues with the energy production pathway and inflammation.  These systems all employ an enzyme called AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK).  AMPK’s role is to maintain cellular energy balance and is reported to be down-regulated in fibromyalgia patients, which subsequently contributes to the onset and longevity of fatigue.


Interestingly, several studies show that CoQ10-induced AMPK activation improved the clinical symptoms of fibromyalgia patients.  Based on these findings, Mehrabani & Arab suggest that 300 mg daily of CoQ10 is appropriate for patients with fibromyalgia.

Co-enzyme Q10 for Statin Prescriptions

It is well known that individuals prescribed statins (to lower cholesterol) can experience fatigue and muscle pains, commonly thought to be due to the interruption of the pathway by which the body synthesises CoQ10 by the statin drug.  Subsequently, CoQ10 food supplementation is deemed useful.

In the review two studies evaluated 200mg and 240mg of CoQ10 daily on a total of 48 male and 62 female statin users for a duration of three and 22 months respectively.  Both studies reported a significant reduction in tiredness.

To what extent statins impair normal body mechanisms are still unclear. A possible explanation consists of a decrease of cholesterol in the sheath that covers the muscle resulting from the statin therapy.  This is thought to lead to a cascade of events that include the reduction of CoQ10 in the mitochondria, otherwise known as the powerhouses of the cells and subsequent fatigue.  

Based on these findings, Mehrabani & Arab state that it seems CoQ10 supplementation at 200mg daily is a good benchmark for patients receiving statin therapy to prevent or relieve the associated pain and fatigue.

Co-enzyme Q10 for Multiple Sclerosis

The brain and spinal cord are the targets of multiple sclerosis and this can cause problems with vision, balance, arm or leg movements and sensation.

The final study evaluated the use of 500mg CoQ10 on four male and 41 female Multiple Sclerosis patients for three months.  They reported a significant improvement of fatigue as scored by a validated questionnaire.

In Multiple Sclerosis the lack of research makes it difficult to draw a firm link between the condition and CoQ10.  Inflammation might be an explanation for disease-related fatigue as it has been shown that increased inflammation is an energy demanding response and patients often experience fatigue.  


Oxidative stress occurs with inflammation and so the fact that CoQ10 has a quelling effect may substantiate its use in Multiple Sclerosis.  However, with this limited information a recommended amount cannot be estimated, and it may be decided on a case by case basis by a healthcare professional.



The reported findings are the potential life changing effects that may be attributable to CoQ10.  The far-reaching findings published in this review may suggest that supplemental CoQ10 not only is beneficial for the diseases discussed in the blog but may extend to other chronic conditions that exhibit characteristics that imply oxidative damage, inflammation and low energy.


Furthermore, if you are free from illness but fatigued, and wonder if CoQ10 could work for you, it would be useful to employ some stress management techniques, a varied wholefoods diet and a dose of 30mg to 100mg of CoQ10 daily with food.  


See your local health store for recommendations. 


Author: Jenny Carson is a Nutritional Practitioner and Technical Advisor at Viridian Nutrition. She holds a BSc honours degree in Nutritional Science and is currently studying for MRES in Public Health.



K. Folkers, S. Vadhanavikit, S.A. Mortensen, (1985), Biochemical rationale and myocardial tissue data on the effective therapy of cardiomyopathy with coenzyme Q10, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 82:901-904.
S. Mehrabani & A. Arab, (2019) Effect of Coenzyme Q10 Supplementation on Fatigue: A systematic review of interventional studies, Complementary Therapies in Medicine. [Ahead of publishing] ISSN 0965-2299.
K. Mizuno, M. Tanaka, S. Nozaki, et al. (2008) Antifatigue effects of coenzyme Q10 during physical fatigue, Nutrition, 24(4):293-9.


The information contained in this article is not intended to treat, diagnose or replace the advice of a health practitioner. Please consult a qualified health practitioner if you have a pre-existing health condition or are currently taking medication. Food supplements should not be used as a substitute for a varied and balanced diet.


TAGS: Energy and FatigueEnergy, Fatigue


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