CoQ10 belongs to a group of substances known as ubiquinones. These molecules are known to have cardioprotective, cytoprotective, and neuroprotective properties. The antioxidant characteristic of CoQ10 works in the mitochondria—the power plants—and in the membranes of cells, where it prevents oxidation. It also inhibits the oxidation of LDL cholesterol, which plays a significant role in atherosclerosis.
CoQ10 is made by the body and shares a common pathway with cholesterol. Levels of CoQ10 decline as humans age. Additionally, some drugs, such as the statins used to control cholesterol levels, inhibit the body's manufacture of the enzyme.
Absorption of CoQ10 is relatively low, especially if a supplement is taken on an empty stomach. For that reason it is best taken with food, preferably containing some fat. Normally, it takes several weeks of CoQ10 supplementation to reach maximal serum concentrations. Thereafter, daily dosing will maintain the plateau.