Coenzyme Q10, also known as Ubiquinol and CoQ10, is a fat-soluble substance that is stored within the tissues of the body (1). Although it is somewhat related to a vitamin, it is not strictly described as such because the body is able to synthesize it.
CoQ10 exists within the eukaryotic cells in the body, primarily within the mitochondria. Here it is used in the synthesis of energy in the form of Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) (2). This cellular respiration process produces 95 percent of the total energy reserve within the human body, so coenzyme Q10 it is a vital element in the optimal functioning of cells in the body.
A reduced level of coenzyme Q10 causes symptoms such as muscle weakness, tiredness, reduced stamina and premature ageing of the skin and hair, just to name a few.
Food Sources Of Coenzyme Q10
Coenzyme Q10 is found in significant amounts in vegetable oils (especially in soybean oil, olive oil and grape seed oil which can reduce hair loss in their own right); nuts, or legumes (particularly peanuts); avocado; sesame seeds; organ meats; cruciferous vegetables including broccoli and cauliflower; and in the herbal plants parsley and perilla.
Cooking at high temperatures significantly decreases the amount of Coenzyme Q10 in food.
Ageing and Coenzyme Q10
The level of CoQ10 in the body decreases with age and is especially low in people who suffer from conditions such as heart disease, Parkinson’s syndrome, muscular dystrophy, and HIV.
The most bioactive form of coenzyme Q10 is Ubiquinol and it is recommended that this form be taken for the best results, particularly for people who are older or are suffering from ill health.
The Role Of Coenzyme Q10 in Hair Growth
Let’s take a closer look at how CoQ10 supplementation may aid hair growth.
1: It Boosts the Production of Keratin
Coenzyme Q10 (Ubiquinol) has an anti-ageing effect on hair health, as it boosts the process of gene expression which is involved in the synthesis of keratin (a protein found in hair), especially the proteins that are compromised by the ageing process.
A clinical trial was conducted to evaluate a coenzyme Q10-enriched tonic formula, which was used every day, over the course of four days, by a group of volunteers over the age of 40 (3).
The results showed a proliferation of the protein keratin in the hair roots of the participants who had used the shampoo.
2: It Works as an Antioxidant
Coenzyme Q10 in the form of Ubiquinol is also a strong antioxidant, which neutralizes the free radicals that cause oxidative damage to the body’s DNA and cells (4).
It is also able to restore the body’s supply of vitamin C and vitamin E to their bioactive forms. Vitamin C and E are also antioxidants.
This double antioxidant effect protects the cells in the hair follicle from the damage caused by pollution and toxins, as well as the damage associated with the ageing process.
3: It Plays an Important Role in the Metabolism of Energy
A lack of Coenzyme Q10 can affect the production of ATP, because coenzyme Q10 plays an important part in the electron transfer process in aerobic cellular respiration. This is where cellular energy in the form of ATP (adenosine triphosphate) is synthesized.
If suitable levels of ATP are not met, the body will use testosterone to produce cellular energy.
This results in the production of DHT (dihydrotestosterone), which has been proven to cause hormone-related hair loss. Take a look at this clinical trial which discusses the role of DHT in pattern baldness (androgenic alopecia) in humans.
4: It Increases Oxygen Flow to the Scalp
A sufficient supply of oxygen is required to formulate cellular energy in the structure of ATP and a lack of oxygen in the blood results in the weakening of the hair follicles. This renders them more liable to break and fall out.
Hair Restoration Success Stories Using Coenzyme Q10
One member of a hair loss forum called Hairsite.com had shared a hair restoration success story about his elderly parents, both in their eighties. For a period of two months, they had each been taking a 400mg supplement of coenzyme Q10 (he did not specify the frequency of the supplementation). He reported that after the two month period both of his parents began to grow dark hair.
His mother’s hair had previously been thinning and was completely white in color, while his father had been experiencing male-pattern hair loss, with a bald spot increasing in size at the top of his head, ever since the age of 30. After supplementing with the coenzyme Q10 for two months, his mother began to grow dark hair all over her head and his father began to grow dark hair over his bald spot.
The person reporting this story, aged 51, also shared his own results with using coenzyme Q10, stating that he had been taking 100mg for two months and he noticed that his hair had grown in length and his eyebrows had also become thicker.
Glynis Barber, a 59 year old, British actress has been widely acknowledged for her youthful looks, including glowing skin and a healthy head of hair, which many people think make her look 20 years younger than her actual age.
In a Daily Mail Online interview, she describes the daily health regimen that keeps her looking youthful and feeling full of vitality.
In this article she attributes her intake of coenzyme Q10, among other supplements and vitamins, as one of the contributing factors to her youthful appearance.
There is some evidence that Coeznyme q10 does not protect hair follicles though (6).
Side Effects and Contraindications
There have been no significant side effects attributed to oral CoQ10 supplementation in doses as high as 3,000 milligrams per day for up to eight months (7).
A risk of mild side effects, including nausea, diarrhea, and abdominal pain, is possible in doses greater than 200 milligrams. As such, it’s recommended that doses greater than 100 milligrams per day are divided into two or three daily doses.
The use of CoQ10 during the first trimester of pregnancy has not been studied. There is evidence to suggest, however, that CoQ10 is safe to use after the twenty-week mark. There is no evidence on the efficacy of CoQ10 while nursing, so you should avoid supplementation if you’re breastfeeding.
Before you begin use of CoQ10, it’s important to speak with your doctor about possible drug interactions.
There are known interactions between CoQ10 and both Coumadin (warfarin) and statins. You should speak with your doctor about further contraindications, however.
Is Coenzyme Q10 Right for You?
It’s unlikely that supplementation with Coenzyme Q10 alone will solve your hair loss problems. But if you’re lacking this essential coenzyme, then you may want to consider adding and oral supplement to your daily routine.
The use of CoQ10 may help to boost keratin product. It can also protect against free radical damage, help to metabolize energy, and even increase oxygen flow to the scalp. When combined, these effects may have a decent impact on hair growth.
Do you have questions about CoQ10? Have you used CoQ10 for hair growth? Please share your questions and experiences below.