CoQ10 may benefit cholesterol via gene expression: Study

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Ldl cholesterol levels Gene expression Atherosclerosis

The potential benefits of co-enzyme Q10 (CoQ10) on LDL cholesterol levels may be linked to changes in the expression of specific genes, suggests a new study from Germany.

Scientists from the Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel and the University of Witten/Herdecke report that daily supplements of Kaneka’s reduced form of the co-enzyme – Q10-H2 – may impact various gene networks associated with inflammation and cell differentiation.

Using Kaneka’s ubiquinol ingredient, the German researchers also report that supplementation produced a reduction in LDL cholesterol levels, and that “this effect was especially pronounced in atherogenic small dense LDL particles”​, they wrote in IUBMB Life​.


CoQ10 has properties similar to vitamins, but since it is naturally synthesized in the body it is not classed as such. With chemical structure 2,3-dimethoxy-5-methyl-6-decaprenyl-1,4-benzoquinone, it is also known as ubiquinone because of its 'ubiquitous' distribution throughout the human body.

The coenzyme is concentrated in the mitochondria - the 'power plants' of the cell - and plays a vital role in the production of chemical energy by participating in the production of adenosince triphosphate (ATP), the body's co-called 'energy currency'.

There is an ever-growing body of scientific data that shows substantial health benefits of CoQ10 supplementation for people suffering from angina, heart attack and hypertension. The nutrient is also recommended to people on statins to off-set the CoQ-depleting effects of the medication. Other studies have reported that CoQ10 may play a role in the prevention or benefit people already suffering from neurodegenerative diseases.

New data

For the new study, the German scientists recruited 53 health men with an average age of 30 and an average BMI of 24 kg/m2 were randomly assigned to receive daily supplements of the reduced form of CoQ10 (Ubiquinol, Q10H2, 150mg/day) for two weeks. No placebo or control group was used.

Results showed a 4.8 fold increase in CoQ10 plasma levels, compared to levels at the start of the study. In addition, an induction in gene expression patterns involved in inflammation, cell death and cell differentiation were observed, said the researchers.

Regarding LDL cholesterol levels, two weeks of supplementation with the CoQ10 ingredient were associated with a 12.7 percent reduction in LDL levels, a reduction that is “comparable to the described effects of plant sterols in different cohorts”​, added the scientists.

“It has been shown that a usual daily intake of 2–2.5 g plant sterols or stanols results in an average reduction of LDL cholesterol levels of about 14 percent,” ​they added.

“Q10H2 induces characteristic gene expression patterns, which are translated into reduced LDL cholesterol levels and altered parameters of [red blood cell production or] erythropoiesis in humans,”​ they concluded.

Source: IUBMB Life
Volume 63, Issue 1, Pages 42–48
“Ubiquinol-Induced Gene Expression Signatures are Translated into Altered Parameters of Erythropoiesis and Reduced Low Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol Levels in Humans”
Authors: C. Schmelzer, P. Niklowitz, J.G. Okun, D. Haas, T. Menke, F. Doring

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