Nutrition Notes

CoQ10 Status and Glucose Homeostasis: Is There a Link?

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is an antioxidant found in the mitochondrial inner membrane of human cells. It is involved in the production of cellular energy and other critical functions for optimal health. It has been shown to help support cardiovascular function, antioxidative status, and healthy metabolism. Recent research suggests that CoQ10 may also help support certain aspects of blood sugar metabolism. 

A systematic review and meta-analysis by Liang and colleagues investigated the potential link between CoQ10 supplementation and biomarkers related to metabolic health and blood sugar homeostasis in individuals with hyperglycemia-related diseases. The meta-analysis consisted of 40 controlled clinical studies involving more than 2,000 adults. 

Statistically significant reductions in fasting glucose, fasting insulin, homeostatic model assessment for insulin resistance (HOMA-IR), and hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) were reported with overall findings in the meta-analysis. In subgroup analysis, improvements in fasting glucose levels were observed more in studies involving CoQ10 supplementation that lasted for equal to or longer than 12 weeks. Statistically significant improvements in HbA1c were observed in 31 of 40 studies included, and subgroup analysis indicated a border statistical significance at the 12-week mark regarding study duration. Reductions in fasting insulin were also reported to be better in studies that lasted longer than 12 weeks.

A recently published randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study by Sangouni and colleagues explored the potential efficacy of supplementation with CoQ10 and/or curcumin on parameters related to glucose and lipid metabolism in individuals with metabolic syndrome. The study involved 88 participants randomized to four groups: (1) 200 mg of curcumin plus placebo, (2) 60 mg of CoQ10 plus a placebo, (3) a double placebo, or (4) a combination of curcumin plus CoQ10 daily for 12 weeks. Statistically significant improvements in lipid profiles were observed only in the curcumin treatment groups. However, non-statistically significant changes in parameters related to fasting blood glucose and lipid metabolism were observed in both CoQ10 groups. Current data regarding the effect of CoQ10 on certain aspects of lipid metabolism remain incongruent. More clinical research is needed before clinical conclusions can be made, particularly in many types of populations and variations in health status and those with consistently administered treatment periods and clinically relevant amounts of CoQ10. 

Evidence suggests that CoQ10 may help support cellular health, antioxidative status, and cellular energy production. Research also indicates that CoQ10 may also help support certain aspects of cardiovascular and metabolic health. However, more studies are needed before clinical conclusions can be made.

By Dr. C Ambrose, ND, MAT