Quercetin vs. CoQ10 | Overview, Benefits and Differences

Quercetin and Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) are two popular supplements that offer a variety of health benefits, especially related to heart health and longevity. The two compounds share many of the same health effects but are two different compounds with different mechanisms of action.

This article provides a deep dive into the dietary flavonoids quercetin and coenzyme Q10, discussing their benefits and differences and how they complement one another.

Benefits of Quercetin

Quercetin is derived from various foods, especially apples, berries, red grapes, onions, tomatoes, cherries, certain varieties of tea, and many seeds and nuts (1).

The body can absorb and utilize it better from certain foods like onions than others and when consumed alongside other flavonoids, vitamin C, and folate.

It has strong antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic anti-carcinogenic, and cardioprotective properties. Quercetin has also been shown to inhibit the growth of certain types of cancer cells. Owing to these properties, quercetin supplementation offer many health benefits.

Here are the most beneficial effects of flavonoid quercetin supplements:

Supports Heart Health

Quercetin supports various aspects of heart health through its effects on blood pressure and lipids.

To this point, a review of ten trials demonstrated that quercetin reduces blood pressure in prehypertensive patients. A significant reduction in systolic but not diastolic blood pressure was also seen in those with normal blood pressure (2).

Concerning blood lipids, a review of 16 trials demonstrated that quercetin treatment significantly decreased total cholesterol and LDL (bad) cholesterol in patients with various metabolic conditions, including obesity, diabetes, and high cholesterol. However, no effect was seen for other lipids like triglycerides or HDL (good) cholesterol (3).

Quercetin supplementation may also support heart health through its positive effects on blood sugar and insulin levels (4, 5, 6).

Manages Inflammation

Inflammation is the body's first line of defense against injury or infection. This normal inflammatory response may be acute or chronic, with acute inflammation lasting a couple of days, and chronic inflammation lasting several weeks or longer.

While acute inflammation is beneficial, chronic inflammation can be harmful and damage your tissues and organs. To this point, chronic inflammation underlies many chronic health diseases.

Quercetin has strong anti-inflammatory properties and supplementation has been shown to reduce C-reactive protein (CRP) and interleukin 6 (IL-6) — major markers of inflammation — in people with certain diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and metabolic syndrome. However, these anti-inflammatory effects were not seen in otherwise healthy individuals (7).

Quercetin's anti-inflammatory effects are linked with its ability to inhibit the production of inflammation-producing enzymes and by limiting lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced inflammation via certain pathways (1).

Quercetin's potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties have also been shown to reduce muscle damage and muscle soreness, helping to enhance recovery after intense exercise (8).

Offers Anti-Aging Effects

Quercetin has strong anti-aging properties related to its ability to manage inflammation, but these properties are also related to its ability to alleviate neuronal damage and neuroinflammation, offering protection against age-related cognitive decline and neurodegenerative diseases like dementia (9).

Quercetin is a scavenger of damaging free radicals, making it a potent antioxidant. It also increases levels of the powerful antioxidant glutathione and decreases levels of malondialdehyde (MDA), a biomarker of oxidative stress. By combating oxidative damage, quercetin offers protection against various age-associated diseases and skin damage (9).

Benefits of Coenzyme Q10

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), also known as ubiquinone, is a vitamin-like molecule present in cell membranes, especially in the mitochondrial membranes where it supports energy production (10).

Meats, fish, nuts, and some oils are the richest sources of CoQ10, with small amounts found in most dairy products, vegetables, fruits, and cereals. Your body can also produce the molecule.

CoQ10 has strong antioxidant properties and offers numerous known health benefits. Here are a few of the most notable benefits of CoQ10 supplementation:

May Reduce Fatigue

Fatigue can have many causes and relate to your lifestyle, mental health, or the presence of medical conditions. Owing to CoQ10's important role in energy production, patients with chronic fatigue syndrome have been shown to have lower plasma levels of CoQ10 compared with healthy people, and there is a known inverse relationship between CoQ10 levels and fatigue severity (11).

To this point, a review of 13 trials found significant reductions in fatigue symptoms in those who supplemented with CoQ10. These effects were demonstrated in patients with fatigue-associated diseases and healthy people with or without fatigue (11).

Manages Inflammation

CoQ10's anti-inflammatory effects are related to its ability to reduce the production of pro-inflammatory proteins. It also acts as a strong antioxidant by combating cellular oxidative stress and by positively affecting plasma antioxidant vitamin E and C compounds (12).

CoQ10's powerful anti-inflammatory effects have been demonstrated in a review of 31 trials in which supplementation significantly reduced levels of various inflammatory biomarkers, including CRP, IL-6, and tumor necrosis factor (13).

Through its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, CoQ10 supplementation has also been shown to significantly lower markers of liver inflammation in both clinical and healthy populations. What's more, CoQ10 may inhibit certain age-related diseases (12).

May Increase Fertility

Infertility is an inability to conceive after one year of unprotected, frequent sex. It affects about 15% of couples in the United States and at least 180 million worldwide. While fertility issues are commonly believed to be a female issue, men contribute to 50% of infertility cases overall (14, 15).

The cause of infertility is multifactorial, but CoQ10 supplementation by both men and women may enhance fertility. For example, one study in women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) — a common cause of infertility — demonstrated improvements in insulin resistance and sex hormone levels. Supplementation may also increase the odds of a pregnancy in women receiving assisted reproduction technologies (16, 17).

In another study, men who supplemented with CoQ10 demonstrated improvements in various aspects of sperm health, but it's unknown whether these improvements increase pregnancy rates (18).

Supports Metabolic Health

CoQ10 possesses strong antioxidant properties, demonstrating decreases in MDA, a biomarker of oxidative stress, and increases in total antioxidant capacity and superoxide dismutase (SMD) activity, an important antioxidant defense enzyme (19).

These antioxidant properties tend to be more beneficial in people with chronic health conditions where oxidative stress and inflammation are present, such as heart disease, kidney disease, and diabetes (20).

For example, CoQ10 supplementation has been shown to significantly lower total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol in patients with chronic kidney disease, improve glucose control and liver function in patients with metabolic syndrome, and lower blood pressure in patients with diabetes and dyslipidemia (21, 22, 23).

In patients with diabetes, CoQ10 significantly reduced fasting blood sugar levels, fasting insulin, and hemoglobin A1c, an average measure of a person's blood sugar over the previous three months (24).

Moreover, a review of 50 trials involving both clinical and healthy populations demonstrated significant improvements in total, LDL, and HDL cholesterol and triglycerides (25).

Taking Quercetin and Coenzyme Q10 Together

Combining certain supplements can have a powerful synergistic effect, providing greater health benefits than either could provide alone. Thus, you might wonder whether the same is true for quercetin and CoQ10. While human trials examining their combined effects are nonexistent, preclinical trials suggest quercetin may behave like CoQ10 in protecting against mitochondrial dysfunction (26).

Still, both offer strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, beneficial for overall health and chronic disease management. Through these properties, quercetin and CoQ10 may also provide anti-aging effects, protecting the body's cells from oxidative damage that contributes to aging and disease.

Whether combining them could offer greater antioxidant and anti-inflammatory potential and therefore provide greater health benefits than taking either alone remains unknown.

But, combining them could provide benefits that the other might not provide. For instance, CoQ10 offers benefits related to increasing fertility and alleviating fatigue whereas quercetin doesn't. CoQ10 supplementation may also reduce the duration and frequency of migraine attacks in susceptible individuals whereas the same can't be said for quercetin (26).

Both appear to have a strong safety profile with few adverse effects reported, though incidences of mild and short-lived digestive symptoms and nausea have been reported with supplementation (28, 29).

Conclusion

Quercetin and Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) are distinct yet complementary supplements known for their significant health benefits, particularly in promoting heart health and combating oxidative stress.

Quercetin, a polyphenol found in many fruits and vegetables, offers strong antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and cardioprotective properties, while CoQ10, a vital molecule for energy production, reduces fatigue, manages inflammation, and supports metabolic health.

Together, they may provide enhanced health benefits due to their synergistic effects, although more research is needed to fully understand their combined impact. Both supplements are generally safe with few reported side effects.

FAQs

Can CoQ10 and Quercetin be Taken Together?

Combining CoQ10 and quercetin can provide complementary benefits but it's unknown whether taking them together provides additive or synergistic effects. From a safety standpoint, it is likely safe to take CoQ10 and quercetin together.

Is Quercetin Better than CoQ10?

Quercetin isn't necessarily better than CoQ10 nor is the opposite true. Each provides powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, though CoQ10 may offer a greater range of benefits related to fertility and fatigue.

Quercetin vs. Resveratrol: What's the Difference?

Quercetin and resveratrol are polyphenols found in similar foods, including berries and red grapes. While different compounds, they offer similar antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

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