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Analyses Performed

168 analytical tests on 22 best-selling CoQ10 supplements in the United States.
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Must-see Statistic

Lab-tested CoQ10 content ranged from 89.5 mg to 302.4 mg per serving.

Unconventional Wisdom

Products in general nearly met their label claims for CoQ10, deviating from label claims by an average of 4.6%.

Testing Summary

Labdoor analyzed 22 best-selling coenzyme Q10 (also known as: CoQ10, ubiquinone, ubiquinol) supplements in the United States for coenzyme Q10 content and heavy metal (arsenic, silver, bismuth, cadmium, lead, antimony) contamination.

Products in this batch analysis measured an average of 136.2 mg of CoQ10 per serving, ranging from 89.5 mg to 302.4 mg. Products deviated from label claims by an average of 4.6%. 18 of 22 products recorded at least 100 mg of CoQ10 per serving, the dose at which clinical study suggests possible efficacy for hypertension and migraines. Higher doses have the potential to help with other diseases like Parkinson’s and diabetic neuropathy. Currently, research has not linked CoQ10 use to serious adverse effects, even at doses up to 1200 mg.

Every product in this analysis passed all 6 heavy metal screens, indicating that products measured less than 2 PPM of each heavy metal. 5 products contained titanium dioxide, a whitening agent classified as “Generally Recognized as Safe” by the US Food & Drug Administration despite being linked to cancer and neurological damage.

Analytical Chemistry Methods: HPLC (High Performance Liquid Chromatography) to quantify CoQ10 levels; ICP-OES (Inductively Coupled Plasma - Optical Emission Spectrometry) to quantify heavy metal (arsenic, silver, bismuth, cadmium, lead, antimony) load.

Label Accuracy

Small bottle with magnifying glass Lab-tested CoQ10 content ranged from -29.4% to +8.3% as compared to products’ stated label claims.

Products in this batch performed well in label accuracy overall. Measured CoQ10 content deviated from label claims by an average of 4.6%. 16 of 22 products recorded CoQ10 levels within 5% of their label claims. Products ranged from having only 70.6% of their label claim for CoQ10 to exceeding their label claims by 8.3%. Vitafusion CoQ10 recorded the worst underage with only 141.2 mg of its claimed 200 mg of CoQ10 per serving.

Product Purity

Microscope All 22 products passed heavy metal screens for arsenic, lead, cadmium, bismuth, antimony, and silver (<2 PPM).

Samples of every CoQ10 product in this batch analysis passed all 6 heavy metal screens, indicating that samples contained less than 2 PPM (parts per million) each of arsenic, lead, cadmium, bismuth, antimony, and silver.

Nutritional Value

Fruits CoQ10 products averaged a 9.99 (out of 10) in Nutritional Value scores.

CoQ10 products in this batch generally recorded minimal quantities of calories, fats, carbohydrates, and sugars. Only 3 of 22 products measured any calories, ranging from 5-20 calories per serving. Vitafusion CoQ10 measured 3 g of sugar per serving, which contributed to its 20 calorie per serving load.

Notes: Labdoor’s Nutritional Value calculations are based on a comparison of macronutrient load to established daily intake guidelines in supplement products that would not benefit from these added macronutrients. Assessed macronutrients include calories, total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, carbohydrates, and refined sugar content.

Ingredient Safety

Caution sign 8 of 22 products recorded ingredients linked in research to allergy, cancer, and Alzheimer’s.

Currently, CoQ10 does not have an established Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL). CoQ10 appears to be safe even up to 1200 mg per day, with no reported serious side effects in clinical study. Most commonly noted side effects include gastrointestinal upset, rashes, headache, low blood pressure, and low blood sugar. Please be aware that CoQ10 may adversely interact with certain blood pressure and blood-thinning medications, and certain over-the-counter pain relievers.

3 products used caramel color in their formulations, which could act as an allergen for some people. 5 products were found to contain titanium dioxide, an insoluble whitening agent. Although “Generally Recognized as Safe” by the US Food and Drug Administration, titanium dioxide has been linked in research to cancer and neurological damage.

Notes: Labdoor’s Ingredient Safety calculations are based on penalties for 2 concerns - 1) meeting or exceeding the published UL for the product’s active ingredient, and 2) the presence and severity of added excipients, including artificial sweeteners, artificial coloring agents, and potentially harmful preservatives. ULs are defined by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as the “maximum daily intake unlikely to cause adverse health effects.”

Projected Efficacy

Line with arrow going up The average product was found to contain 136.2 mg of CoQ10 per serving.

Measured CoQ10 content per serving ranged from 89.5 mg in Now Foods CoQ10 to 302.4 mg in Kirkland Signature CoQ10. Products recorded an average of 136.2 mg of CoQ10 per serving.

USES: Humans need CoQ10 to create energy, which sustains our everyday biochemical processes. CoQ10 also acts as an antioxidant that protects our tissues from free radicals and oxidative damage. 18 of 22 products exceeded 100 mg of CoQ10 per serving, the threshold dose for possibly helping with hypertension and migraines. 7 products had more than 150 mg of CoQ10 per serving, the dose typically administered for CoQ10 deficiency, a known side-effect of taking certain cholesterol-lowering medications and a possible risk factor for gum disease.

Higher doses have been found in clinical study to slow functional decline in individuals with Parkinson’s disease and diabetic neuropathy. Manufacturers sometimes claim that CoQ10 is effective for osteoarthritis, eye diseases, and exercise performance, but supporting research is currently limited.

FORMULATIONS: CoQ10 products in this batch analysis came in 2 forms: ubiquinone and ubiquinol. Research is inconclusive on which form more effectively reaches our circulation. Most of the studies claiming to find a difference in their bioavailabilities were manufacturer-funded, which may have introduced bias. In terms of preparations, soft-gel capsules tend to be better absorbed than hard-shell capsules. Because CoQ10 itself is fat-soluble, it is best absorbed when taken with a meal containing fats.

Notes: Labdoor’s Projected Efficacy score is calculated by mapping where a product’s bioavailable nutrient content falls on a graph of that nutrient’s pharmacokinetic (PK) profile. Bioavailability indicates the fraction of a nutrient’s dose that reaches systemic circulation. A PK profile is a quantitative representation of how an administered substance is absorbed, distributed, metabolized, and excreted. If a product contains other beneficial components like additional vitamins and minerals, those components are also factored into algorithms to project overall product efficacy.