Coenzyme Q10, also known as ubiquinone, is ubiquitous in human tissues, although its level is variable (1). As I’ll discuss in this article, CoQ10 not only is important when it comes to thyroid health, but it also plays an important role in adrenal health, and some studies show that it can help with other conditions. After reading this you should have a better understanding as to why some people with thyroid and autoimmune thyroid conditions can benefit from supplementing with CoQ10.
So what is the function of CoQ10? The primary biochemical action of CoQ10 is as a cofactor in the electron-transport chain, in the series of redox reactions that are involved in the synthesis of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) (2). As most cellular functions are dependent on an adequate supply of Adenosine triphosphate (ATP), CoQ10 is essential for the health of virtually all human tissues and organs (2). In addition to its well-established function as a component of the mitochondrial respiratory chain, CoQ10 also functions in the reduced form (ubiquinol) as an antioxidant (3). Ubiquinol protects membrane phospholipids and serum low-density lipoproteins from lipid peroxidation, as well as mitochondrial proteins and DNA from free-radical induced oxidative damage (3). Some studies suggest that as people age, decreases in CoQ10 content may occur in mitochondria and that decreases of CoQ10 below the physiological levels can potentially affect mitochondrial respiratory function (4).
CoQ10 In Hyperthyroid and Hypothyroid Conditions
Both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism are associated with enhanced oxidative stress involving enzymatic and non-enzymatic antioxidants (5). Hyperthyroidism is especially linked with reduced circulating levels of CoQ10 (6). A study looked at the circulating levels of CoQ10 in both hypothyroid and hyperthyroid conditions, and found that these levels are higher in people with hypothyroidism (7). This same study shows that the values of CoQ10 in hyperthyroid patients are among the LOWEST in different human diseases. In addition, another study shows that thyroid hormones have a profound effect on mitochondrial oxidative activity, and that hyperthyroid muscular tissues undergo several biochemical changes that predispose them to free radical-mediated injury (8). Yet another study confirmed that serum CoQ10 levels in hyperthyroidism were significantly lower than that of euthyroid subjects, while in hypothyroidism, serum CoQ10 levels did not show any significant difference from that of euthyroid subjects (9).
These studies would suggest that there is a greater need for CoQ10 supplementation in people with hyperthyroidism and Graves’ Disease. Truth to be told, when I was diagnosed with Graves’ Disease I wasn’t told to take CoQ10. And so I can’t say that taking CoQ10 is essential for someone looking to restore their health back to normal. However, based on these studies it’s probably a good idea for people with hyperthyroid conditions to consider taking CoQ10.
This especially is true for those people with hyperthyroid conditions who are on beta blockers. Numerous studies have shown that beta blockers such as Propranolol can inhibit mitochondrial CoQ10 enzymes (10) (11). As a result, anyone who is taking beta blockers might want to consider taking CoQ10. In addition to beta blockers, it is well known that statins (cholesterol lowering medication) also interferes with the synthesis of CoQ10 (12). And so people taking statins might also want to consider taking CoQ10. In fact, one study showed that CoQ10 supplementation prevents both plasma and platelet CoQ10 decrease, without affecting the cholesterol lowering effect of the drug (13).
CoQ10 and Adrenal Health
While thyroid hormone levels have an important role in modulating CoQ10 levels, some studies also show evidence that the adrenals can play a role in CoQ10 production. One study showed that CoQ10 levels were significantly lower in isolated hypoadrenalism than in patients with adrenal hyperplasia and multiple pituitary deficiencies (14). The same study concluded that secretion of adrenal hormones in some way relate to CoQ10 levels.
CoQ10 and Other Conditions
In addition to playing a role in thyroid and adrenal health, CoQ10 is also important for the optimal health of other areas of the body. There are many studies which talk about the role of CoQ10 in cardiac disease and hypertension. One study mentioned that significant improvement has been observed in clinical and hemodynamic parameters and in exercise tolerance in patients given adjunctive CoQ10 in doses from 60 to 200 mg daily in the various trials conducted in patients of heart failure, hypertension, ischemic heart disease and other cardiac illnesses (15). The same study stated that CoQ10 has been found to be an independent predictor of mortality in congestive heart failure. Another study demonstrated that the addition of coenzyme Q10 to conventional therapy significantly reduces hospitalization for worsening of heart failure and the incidence of serious complications in patients with chronic congestive heart failure (16). Yet another study showed that Coenzyme Q10 administered orally has favorable actions in the described cardiovascular conditions and appears to be safe and well tolerated in the adult population (17). However, the same study warned us that CoQ10 should not be recommended as monotherapy or first-line therapy in any disease state. With regards to high blood pressure, one study concluded that CoQ10 has the potential in hypertensive patients to lower systolic blood pressure by up to 17 mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure by up to 10 mm Hg without significant side effects (18).
Clinical studies also show that CoQ10 supplementation might help with certain neurodegenerative diseases (19). This includes Parkinson’s Disease, Huntington’s disease, Friedereich’s ataxia, and possibly even Alzheimer’s disease.
In summary, CoQ10 plays a very important role in the body, as it is involved in the synthesis of ATP, and is essential for the health of every tissue and cell in the body. It also plays a role as an antioxidant. With regards to thyroid health, CoQ10 is frequently deficient in those people with hyperthyroid conditions, and its synthesis can also be interfered with by certain medications, such as beta blockers and statins. However, since hypothyroid conditions are also associated with enhanced oxidative stress then it also makes sense for some people with hypothyroidism to take this as well. In addition, the adrenal hormones also relate to CoQ10 levels, and CoQ10 plays an important role in cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and neurodegenerative conditions.
How much should one supplement with?
How much should be taken on a daily basis? Can eating chicken heart provide the necessary requirement? I have started eating chicken liver and heart pate’ on a daily basis in hopes to increase my vitamin A and coq10 intake.
Dr. Eric says
When I recommend CoQ10 to my patients I usually recommend at least 100mg/day, and frequently 200mg/day for those with hyperthyroid conditions.
As for eating chicken hearts, this does provide a good amount of CoQ10, as one chicken heart probably provides about 100mg/day of CoQ10, although this of course depends on the size.
How much daily? Any specific one or are they all the same?
Grace Ho says
Thank you for the information on CoQ10.
Since it is good for people with hyperthyroid conditions,
what about astaxanthin If yes, what is the quantity to take per day.
Thank you for this information. I had Thyroid Cancer with a Total Thyroidectomy. As a result, I have to be on Thyroid Cancer Suppression Therapy, likely for life. Because of the hyperthyroid side effects of the suppression therapy, I get chest pain (angina), occasional atrial fibrillation and palpitations, amongst other hyperthyroid symptoms. As a result, I am on a beta-blocker also. I live in an area where there is no endocrinologist and it takes a long time to get an appt. Perhaps I should have seen a heart specialist. My lipid profile has been elevated at times, I think depending on my synthroid dose. I’ve been way hypo and way hyper and everywhere in between. It took 3 years to find a dose that I could tolerate and be hyperthyroid at the same time and use beta blockers,etc. to treat the side effects of the cancer suppression therapy. CoQ10 might very well help me out.
Dr. Eric says
I’m not sure if CoQ10 is the solution to all of your problems (although I’m sure you already know this), but I agree that it’s something you might want to look into. This is especially true since you’re taking a beta blocker.
Thanks for publishing an article about COQ10 and it’s relationship to thyroid health. I just received my NutrEval results back and my doctor told me they I had the lowest level he’s ever seen. I had a hunch it was related to the thyroid. I have high antibodies for both Hashimoto’s and Grave’s disease. I started supplementation today.
Maija Piittari says
It was interesting, that when my hyperthyroid condition started in september, I got rid at the same time from quite a severe pain in my back thighs and lower back I had suffered a couple of years before. and which was a bit different pain from polymyalgia rheumatitis I had been cured of until then.
Maybe my mithocondrias got a kick from temporary excessive thyroid boost. And that relief was before I started the Prednisolon to treat the subacute thyroiditis I suffered from. But I did take Qoentsyme Q 100mg at first and when my heart was racing I took 200mg/a day. I feel great now, have no need to deeep breaths, as in the beginning of the condition. And my CRP (3) hasn’t been that good in 6 years. I think I can now return in 100mg UbiQ.
Does ubiquinol intensify thyroid hormone in the body? I took about 300mg for about a month and my TSH went from 0.5 to 0.01, wasn’t taking anything else so is there a known clinical connection? Also, I had a complete thryoidectomy before I began taking synthroid and had the ubiquinol situation.
Joe, I can testify to the fact that CoQ10 definitely intensifies thyroid hormone!! I took 100mg of store bought CoQ10 for about a 1.5 weeks and became significantly metabolicly charged. I dropped 4 pounds in week – unheard of with my Hashimotos thyroid condition – while increasing my eating to 4 big meals a day, and still feeling hungry. I stopped the CoQ10 because it eventually produced racy heart and arrhythmic sensations. Three months after the fact, I have had to reduce 100mg of Synthroid down to about 70mg as a therapeutic dosage.
Wilma Febbraro says
Would COQ10 be beneficial for someone who has had their thyroid removed due to a non cancerous goiter?
Dr. Eric says
CoQ10 isn’t just beneficial for thyroid health, as it is important for the health of the mitochondria. And so everyone can benefit from CoQ10, although this doesn’t mean that everyone needs to take a CoQ10 supplement.
My husband’s TSH has gone from 12.9 to 40 in 7 months. FT3 is 1.8, in the normal range but really reaching the low margins. We are on low dose T3 supplement 25mcg. Don’t want to rely on thyroid meds so much as this would lead to only an ever increasing dose of thyroid meds. Working on kick starting his adrenals now with Alive multivitamins, good fats and good salts. Would coQ10 be able to help? He’s having irregular heartbeats. Thank you so much for your input.
Dr. Eric says
Improving the health of the adrenals should help, and having him take CoQ10 might also be beneficial. With regards to the adrenals, high cortisol levels can affect the conversion of T4 to T3, although other factors can cause this too, such as a selenium deficiency, liver issues, and even gut dysbiosis. This is assuming T4 is normal, and I’m not sure if he had the thyroid antibodies tested, as this is also something to consider.
I am currently taking 75 mg of thyroxine for an under active thyroid gland. I have been on the same dose for many years with no problems. I am 71 yrs old and have no other medical issues. I have been taking 30 mg daily of CQ 10. I would like to increase this but I am not sure if it would interact favourably with the thyroxine. Could you give me any advice on what dosage would be suitable. I am in good health and want to remain that way for as long as I can but I don’t want to interfere with my thyroxine medication.
Many thanks Angie.
I am a 36 year old diagnosed last November with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. My symptoms started with heart palpitations, and after some testing it was determined that my TSH was high… around 5 or so I think it was. I am now on .075 mg of Levothyroxine which helped lower my TSH to 1.9 at last check (Feb 22) and my palpitations were gone. However, in the last week or so the palpitations have returned. I was wondering if this is perhaps due to the coq10 I have resumed taking. I take 100 mg/day. I also took this before I was diagnosed with the thyroid disorder because I heard it was good for vitiligo which I also have. Could there be a connection between my heart palpitations and the use of coq10?
Dr. Eric says
Taking CoQ10 does affect cardiovascular health, but it usually doesn’t cause an increase in heart palpitations. In fact, some studies show a decrease in heart palpitations upon taking CoQ10. With that being said, if you noticed the palpitations beginning after taking the CoQ10 it is possible that this is responsible, but the only way to know for certain is to stop taking it for a few days and see if the palpitations disappear, and if it does happen to disappear then you can reintroduce the CoQ10 again and see if the palpitations come back. Keep in mind that if you are taking a supplement with a lot of fillers then it’s possible that it’s not the CoQ10 which caused the palpitations, but one of the other ingredients.
My son is 24 and takes 1 Thyroxine tablet 75mg daily.If he takes CoQ10
Could he try comming of the medication.His symptom is he feels tied
Thank you jenny
Dr. Eric says
I wouldn’t recommend to replace the thyroxine with the CoQ10, as you want to address the cause of the problem, and while having a CoQ10 deficiency is possible, it probably isn’t the cause of your son’s condition.
Michael Romano says
I am currently on 88 mcg Synthroid for hypothyroidism.
I would like to start taking CoQ10 to control my blood pressure. I am not on blood pressure medication since only my systolic blood pressure is a little high.
Is is safe for me to take CoQ10 while on Synthroid.
Dr. Eric says
Of course everyone is different, but I’ve had many patients take CoQ10 and also take Synthroid (and other types of thyroid hormone medication) without a problem.
I take a Statin and ever since I started with CoQ10 about a week ago, my joint pain was reduced to almost none. I am also on Synthroid (i’m hypo) and blood pressure medicine (without it my BP was 160/100. I feel better — any concerns?
I am 49 and was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism over 20 years ago after the birth of my first child. I experienced heart palpitations most of my adult life until a few years ago when I started taking CoQ10. I didn’t realize until reading this article that there may be a connection between coQ10 and hypothyroidism. I started taking it because I heard of other benefits, and it unexpectedly cured my heart palpitations.
art dave says
i take levothroxie25 microgram daily my tsh is 6-my a1c is 6-so i take metformin 250mg and 10mg of levostatin. my ldl is normal
currently i take coq10 100mg qunol daily
i decided to take coq10 because i do not eat meat, fish or chicken. i have also reduced milk products, cheese. so, i get very little coq10- i take fishoil supplements-multivitamins-curcumin
should i worry about taking cooq10 with levothroxine? i take coq10 because i am 62, i do not consume natural sources of coq10, i take metformin and stain (small doseage) which will deplete coq10.
I take Lipitor and my Thyroid was surgically removed due to cancer (Hypothyroidism). I have night time cramps every night that are unbearable. About a year ago a Doctor recommended that I take Alpha Lipoic Acid, it helped the cramps but drove my tsh level up past 11. A friend of mine recommended cooq10, how does this work with being hypo.
Dr. Eric says
Vince, everyone is different, but I’ve had many people with hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s take CoQ10 over the years, and it shouldn’t have a negative effect on one’s thyroid health.
I recently had blood tests that indicate I have a parathyroid condition. My blood calcium levels are about 12% higher than normal and my PTH score is over double what it should be. C Reactive Protein score is 22, which is way higher than what it should be. I am waiting to see a specialist in Australia, as I there are none where I live ( Indonesia )
I recently started taking 200mg of Ubiquinol and felt a little more energetic. Can I continue taking the Ubiquinol?
Dr. Eric says
Marissa, although I can’t give specific recommendations to you since you’re not a patient, chances are you would be fine if you continued to take 200mg of ubiquinol per day. I agree that the CRP is very high, and while sometimes making some basic dietary and lifestyle changes will help to lower this, sometimes it’s more challenging, and when this is the case further detective work is required.
Pierre Aribaut says
So the ubiquinone form as supplément is ok?
Dr. Eric says
Pierre, some people prefer ubiquinol, which is fine to take, although most of the research is based on ubiquinone.
CynthiaG L says
Thanks for this helpful post. I’ve been reading more about COQ10 and hyperthyroidism — and had no idea that my levels could be low. I have been on 7.5mg of methamazole for thyroid nodules and also tend to have high blood pressure and cholesterol … So I am concerned about this. I was on a beta blocker for 4 months, but am now tapering off. My question to you: I have read about liver issues with COQ10, and since I am on methamazole, I wonder if it is safe for me to take COQ10? With heart disease in my family, I feel this would be a good supplement for me, but I don’t want to damage my liver. I have had no problem with liver enzymes in the past, and have my lab work done regularly — but I have read some things online about COQ10 and liver issues. Thanks for your input.
Dr. Eric says
While I’ve worked with many patients over the years who had elevated liver enzymes when taking antithyroid medication, I can’t say that I’ve seen this with CoQ10. I’m not saying that it’s not possible, as everyone is different, but everything comes down to risk vs. benefits, and I think the risks of taking CoQ10 is minimal in most cases…even when taken with methimazole.
Estoy tomando synthroid de 25 mg y atorvastatin de 10 mg. No soy diabético y mi presión arterial es normal. Tengo osteopenia hace 10 años pero no tomo calcio sólo trato de que la alimentación sea saludable. Tengo 70 años, camino y.
tomo vitamina D semanalmente. Cree que debo tomar CoQ10 para mejorar mis dolores de espalda?