Coenzyme Q10

The family of coenzyme Q is a co-enzyme family that is found in all the animals and bacteria. In human, coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is the most common member of this family.

It is a nutrient that is not only synthesized in our body but also can be obtained from dietary supplementations. It is anti-oxidant in nature, plays an important part in metabolic actions of body and protects against the harmful effects of reactive oxygen species (ROS). They include hydrogen peroxide, single oxygen atoms and hydroxyl radicals which are abundantly produced in the body. ROS are extremely dangerous to the cell, producing oxidative damage to the lipids, proteins and DNA component of the living cell [1, 2].


The family of co-enzyme Q is fat-soluble, which closely resembles the vitamins. They are synthesized and present in the mitochondria of almost all the eukaryotic animals. It is a component of reactions which produce ATP (which is the source of energy in the living organism, around 95% of energy in the body is produced by it).

Co-enzyme Q10 is a 1, 4-benzoquinone. The name actually imply to the chemical structure of this coenzyme, where Q represent the fact that it is Quinone in nature and 10 refers to the number of isoprenyl units attached to the tail. 

The organs with highest demand and concentration of Co-enzyme Q10 are heart, liver, skin and kidney. [3,4,5]


The release of ROS and free radicals are responsible for damage to the components of cells including lipids, protein and DNA. As the cell ages, more ROS is produced as a result of changes in cellular respiration [6,7,8]. In the skin, the production of reactive oxygen species can also results due to the exposure of ultraviolet radiations [9]. This results in impaired energy metabolism in skin which then results in aging of the skin [10].

CoQ10 is known as an anti-oxidant which can cope up with the damages of UV radiations on the skin. However, the rate of Q10 decrease with the increasing age [11] as well as UV radiations may cause oxidative damage to the skin cells which reduces the Q10 levels in the skin [12]. There is various significance of CoQ10 on skin which are discussed as under:


Co-enzyme Q10 acts as an antioxidant in the skin with its quantity around 10 times higher in epidermis than it is in the dermis [13]. The epidermal layer of skin in exposed to the ultraviolet radiations of sun on daily basis however, CoQ10 helps in reducing the oxidative stress induced by the UV radiations.

According to one study, ultraviolet A radiations are likely to disturb the potential of the mitochondrial membrane [14] which is important because CoQ10 is synthesized there, and damage to the mitochondrial membrane can affect the production of CoQ10. The study concluded that CoQ10 when applied topically exerts a beneficial effect by reducing the damage to the mitochondrial membrane, and may act as an anti-oxidant in human cells from young as well as old individuals [15].


Two aging processes i.e. chronological and photo aging are observed in the skin. However both are different.  Chronological aging is the genetically determined and inherited process with some interaction of various hormones and genetically determined and possibly with some hormonal influence [16, 17]. Photo aging, on the other hand, is solely caused by ultraviolet A and B radiations.

An experiment conducted on the skin concluded that Coenzyme Q10 can reduce the hazardous effects of ultraviolet A (UVA) radiations on the dermal fibroblast (they are a type of cells which secrete extracellular matrix and collagen, provide the structural framework and stability to the skin and plays a critical role in wound healing) and maintain the dermal matrix [15]


According to the study, the ultra-weak photon emission (UPE) was calculated after ultraviolet A irradiation in two age groups, Group A was aged 18–25 years whereas, Group B was aged 60–72 years. The concentration of UPE was increased in the skin of individuals from Group B and a reduction in the levels of anti-oxidants was also observed to be decreased by around 33%. This revealed that antioxidant levels are decreased in the skin of older individuals. 

CoQ10 was then applied to the skin of individuals from both the groups for few weeks and after that, they were again exposed to UVA radiations but this time the areas treated with CoQ10 shown to have lower levels of UPE and higher levels of antioxidants. Therefore this study concluded that coenzyme Q10 can efficiently work as an antioxidant and protect against the hazardous effects of ultraviolet radiations of the sun [15].


To demonstrate if there is any effect of coenzyme Q10 on the wrinkling of skin, an experiment was conducted on 20 elderly individuals in which they were asked to apply CoQ10 on the skin for several days. It was concluded by photography that skin of the elderly individual had shown deep wrinkles (associated with photo aging) and fine wrinkles (associated with chronological aging). After the application, the photographs reveal a drastic reduction in the deep wrinkles of the participants whereas, fine wrinkles which are associated with chronological aging Photographs of the skin before treatment shows deep wrinkles and fine wrinkles to be evident on the skin. Whereas, photographs after the application of CoQ10 reveals that the depth of deep wrinkles was drastically reduced however, fine wrinkles which were associated with chronological aging were still present. From the above mentioned experimentation it can be concluded that CoQ10 not only protect against the oxidative stresses but also helps in delaying the aging process in the skin and significantly reduce the deep wrinkles of the skin [15]. 


Coenzyme Q10 can be obtained from diet and oral supplementation [18] which can help to increase the total concentration of Q10 levels in the plasma of the blood [19] however, the oral supplementations were not able to increase the levels of coenzyme Q10 in outermost layer of the skin [20]. 

CoQ10 is found in integration with skin surface lipids which are part of corneum stratum and the waterproof barrier of the skin. CoQ10 is also important as this location since this layer is continuously being exposed to the UV radiations, air pollutions, chemical oxidants and micro-organisms [21]. The CoQ10 levels of the skin are prone be decreased with continuous oxidative stress as mentioned previously.

However, when CoQ10 administered topically can produce a powerful antioxidant effects on the skin. With the topical administration, short term stress induced by the environment as well as age related stress. 

In young individuals, Q10 may help to neutralize the oxidative stress and make the skin healthy and young. Whereas, in the older individuals the levels of CoQ10 which were previously reduced might be replenished. Thus, regular use of Q10 on skin can significantly protect the outermost skin layer in all the age categories [22]. 


The production of this co-enzyme may decrease with the increasing age. The other factors which may result in decreased co-enzyme are vitamin B6 deficiency, mitochondrial diseases, side effects of antihypertensive drugs (statins) and genetic defects in production or utilization of Coenzyme Q10. 

It plays a significant role in many organs of the body which are discussed as under. 


In many heart diseases such as coronary artery disease, heart failure and high blood pressure; the levels of CoQ10 are significantly reduced. Many studies suggest that treatment from CoQ10 may improve the symptoms and improve the heart conditions [23,24].

CoQ10 treatment assists in reducing the oxidative stress in the heart and restores the energy levels of heart [25].


Various studies suggest that supplementation with CoQ10 may improve the age related decrease in quality and quantity of eggs in female and improve the activity, motility and quality of sperms by protecting against the reactive oxygen species [26, 27].


Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) like asthma and emphysema have shown to have low levels of CoQ10. 

Many studies are conducted which conclude that supplementations with CoQ10 might decrease the inflammation in asthma and improve the exercise performance in such individuals. [28, 29,30, 31, 32]


The brain is very prone to oxidative stress, which might affect the memory and functioning of brain and result in diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

CoQ10 may be helpful in delaying the progress of these diseases and remove the oxidative species from the brain. [33, 34,35, 36]


Coenzyme Q10 protects the living cells from oxidative stress; promote the health, survival and cellular energy productions [37]. Low levels of CoQ10 have been shown to be associated with around 50% higher risk of developing cancer. [37, 38,39]

It have been concluded in studies that supplements with Coenzyme Q10 may reduce the reoccurrence of cancer. [40]


Coenzyme Q10 is a fundamental molecule in the body of human. It has been revealed by many studies that it is anti-oxidant in nature combating against the oxidative reactions of the skin and protecting the living cells against the harmful radiations of the sun. 

It is present most abundantly in liver, heart and kidneys, and help in protecting various organs against various diseases and insults. For instance, as described above it may help in many cardiac, pulmonary and brain diseases. It may also help in delaying the aging process of the body and combat against the development of cancer.

While talking about the skin, it protect the lipids, fibroblasts, skin cells and water proof barrier against the insult of harmful radiations, toxins and pathogens. Not only limiting to that, it produce anti-oxidant effect on skin as well and is also found to provide a significant role in reducing the aging of skin and prevent its wrinkling.

Topical administration to the skin can replenish the levels of CoQ10 back to normal and protect it against the hazardous radiations therefore; daily administration can make the skin healthy, fresh and induce anti-aging effects as well. Oral supplementations are also preset however; they have no effect on CoQ10 level of the skin. 


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