Nutrition Notes

The Potential Link Between CoQ10 and Endocrine Health

The endocrine system involves a complex and dynamic balance of hormones, cell signals, and other agents to support optimal hormone production and function. The production of hormones in the body often requires critical cofactors or other molecules to help support cellular energy and mitochondrial health. Recent studies have explored the potential supportive role of coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) in endocrine health.

A review by Mantle and Hargreaves explored recent literature regarding CoQ10’s potential to support endocrine function. CoQ10 (also known as ubiquinol or ubiquinone) helps support cell membrane stability, cellular energy production, and antioxidative status. It also plays a critical role in cellular energy production and helps stabilize calcium-dependent channels. It has been studied extensively in the clinical setting for its role in cardiovascular health. It has been shown to help protect mitochondrial membranes from oxidative damage. It may also help support healthy aging, periodontal health, and many other body systems. 

Decreased plasma levels of CoQ10 have been observed in thyroid-related endocrine conditions including hyperthyroidism. This is thought to be attributed to increased oxidative stress associated with hyperthyroidism. In addition, decreased biosynthesis may occur due to increased competition for certain building blocks. Preclinical and clinical studies have indicated that supplementation with CoQ10 may help support certain aspects of cardiac health in individuals with hyperthyroidism. However, more evidence is needed, particularly in larger populations in the clinical setting, before conclusions can be made. 

Evidence suggests that CoQ10 may also help support certain aspects of endocrine health related to blood sugar metabolism. The pathogenesis of certain conditions related to glucose metabolism has been attributed partly to oxidative stress, chronic inflammation, and mitochondrial dysfunction. Reduced blood levels of CoQ10 have been observed in individuals with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). Several randomized controlled clinical studies involving CoQ10 supplementation in individuals with T2DM have reported improvements in markers related to blood glucose metabolism and homeostasis. 

Additional research indicates that CoQ10 may also help support certain aspects of ovarian health. Several clinical trials have explored its potential role in individuals with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Improvements in endothelial function, glucose homeostasis, and inflammatory markers were reported in individuals with PCOS receiving 100 to 200 mg of CoQ10 supplementation for two to three months. 

Healthy CoQ10 status has been shown to have a positive role in supporting certain aspects of fertility. A clinical study involving supplementation with 200 mg CoQ10 daily for one month reported improvements in oocyte quality and increases in antioxidant capacity of follicular fluid in older individuals receiving IVF; however, the sample size was relatively small. In addition, improvements in sperm morphology, motility, and concentration have been observed in certain clinical studies involving CoQ10 supplementation in individuals who have been diagnosed with male infertility. 

CoQ10 is a molecule that supports cellular integrity, mitochondrial function, and cardiovascular health. It may also help support thyroid function, fertility, glucose metabolism, and other aspects of endocrine health. Dietary sources of CoQ10 include meat, fish, nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables, eggs, and dairy products.  

By Dr. C. Ambrose, ND, MAT