ME/CFS and Supplements: 3. Coenzyme Q10

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a substance found everywhere in our bodies and thought to be a vital ingredient in our cellular energy production.  It seems our mitochondria need CoQ10 to produce ATP and release energy. It is also thought to be an important antioxidant. CoQ10 is usually synthesised by the body given the right raw materials. However, Dr Myhill suggests that even when we have the raw materials available, ME/CFS sufferers may not be able to make their own CoQ10 in sufficient quantities.
Initially I misunderstood the importance of this substance as relating purely to the muscles. Because, this time round, my muscle symptoms have been quite mild and pretty manageable I had initially decided not to prioritise this supplement. If I pace myself properly and don’t over exert I can usually remain symptom free muscle-wise. I had also decided that my healthy diet provides me with plenty of useful fresh antioxidants. And anyway, we would have to have a very generous income to be able to try everything that is thought to be helpful, and I certainly don’t!
A few months ago I read this ProHealth article which inspired me to give this supplement a go.The article explains that there are two forms of this supplement, ubiquinol and ubiquinone and it seems that once we are over 40 or suffering from a chronic illness our bodies find it more difficult to process the latter form. Armed with this information I set about trying to get the best deal I could on the internet for some ubiquinol, unfortunately at some point in the process I lost track of what I was doing and ending up buying a fast absorption coenzyme Q10 that said nothing about which form it was offering! (I blame the brain fog on my inability to focus on two aspects of a product at once!) I only realised my mistake once the product had arrived and because I didn’t know of anybody I could give it away to, I decided to give it a try anyway. The instructions suggested it is best absorbed if taken with a fatty meal so just to be sure, I decided to up my dose of hemp oil from a teaspoon to a table spoon, during my breakfast supplement routine.
Because of this I can’t be sure whether it’s the coenzyme Q10, the extra hemp oil or the combination of both but I have most definitely seen an improvement to my energy levels and my general health which has been sustained over several weeks so far. My baseline of sustainable activity has definitely been raised a notch. I am able to concentrate for longer. I’m finding that I have enough energy to want to go out for a walk, I’m no longer having to make myself do it just because I know it will be good for me! I’m even managing my yoga classes a lot better and haven’t had a ‘yoga crash’ (48 hours after my weekly class) since I started this new regime. So for me this experiment has been definitely worthwhile. Because I suspected that I was taking a supplement that my body wasn’t even going to be able to process well, I find these results even more impressive. The benefits outweighed any ‘nocebo’ effect of my negative expectations, although perhaps the fact that I chose to take them anyway belies that I still held hope!
Please remember that this post is not intended as a recommendation. We are all different and different supplements are likely to have a different value for each of us. We must each take responsibility for our own decisions about which ones might be worth investing in, making sure that they are adequately informed. If in doubt consult your doctor or alternative health practitioner, and always consult your doctor if you have any other conditions and/or are taking any kind of medication.
Again, I would recommend that when you choose to take a supplement you introduce each new one, one at a time. I would also suggest that you record your symptoms and general state of wellbeing before and after to observe if and how they make a difference. Every few months, if you are well enough to experiment with not taking it, it’s a good idea to cut it out for a few weeks and see if there are any ill effects. If there are you can resume taking it with confidence, if not you might want to economise.
What’s your experience with Coenzyme Q10?

8 thoughts on “ME/CFS and Supplements: 3. Coenzyme Q10”

  1. Your blog about CoQ10 very interesting. I started taking it about 3 weeks ago and could not tell if it was doing anything noticable. Yesterday, I woke up feeling better than I had in years and was able to maintain feeling well for most of the day. Today, I also seemed to be a bit better than normal (normal in the eyes of an ME sufferer.) Was it the CoQ10? I am not sure. How long did it take for you to notice a difference from it? Also, what is the strength? (Mine is 100mg.)

    Thanks for a great blog!

    • Thanks for commenting! I hope you are still feeling a little better. For me it was about 2 weeks before I started to notice an improvement in my functioning. I think we are all different though. Are you taking yours with a fatty meal or with essential fatty acid supplements?

      It is very hard to tell what our improvements are down to. To try to get a better understanding I will take this for a few months and then come off it for a while and see if my improvement continues.

      Good luck! I wish you continuing improvements to your health!

  2. I’ve had good experiences with this supplement similar to yours…I find it helps my brain fog immensely &a feeling if being more alert! Hoping to try the other form, see what happens 🙂

  3. Thank you. Muscles are the priority i gues as that it where the most pain comes from.
    I’m confused though, Ubiquinol orr ubiquinonel?

  4. Hi Julie,
    I know this is a very old post but wondering if you still use CQ10 and if there’s any in particular that you would recommend? D-Ribose helps me a lot & I’ve often read it’s useful to take both supplements together however when I’ve tried CQ10 before (years ago) I didn’t really feel any effects. Thanks

    • Hi Paula,

      Yes I’m still using it, but I now have a combined supplement which also includes PQQ and Glutathione, which I’ve found to be even more helpful. I have also seen improvements to my gut health since I’ve been taking it. It’s made by a company called Vitablossom.


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