Coenzyme Q10, or ubiquinone, is a coenzyme produced by the body that regulates cholesterol. It contributes to healthy cellular functioning, but levels of the substance tend to decrease with age. Low levels of the coenzyme tend to be a common feature for a variety of maladies from heart disease, cancer and diabetes to muscular dystrophy, Parkinson’s disease and HIV/AIDS. Taking coenzyme Q10 can help restore levels of the coenzyme as well as result in some side effects.
Digestive upset with a number of related gastrointestinal problems present a common side effect of taking coenzyme Q10. The side effects range from mild cases of loss of appetite, nausea and heartburn to more irritating symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhoea. The user may also experience constipation and bloating. These symptoms arising from a gastronomic upset side effect usually subside after a brief period of time and therefore aren’t serious enough for the patient to need further medical intervention.
Birth defects can be a side effect if coenzyme Q10 is taken by a pregnant mother. Since the changes in hormones during pregnancy negate the possible therapeutic effects of the substance on cholesterol levels, it has no treatment value during pregnancy. Sperm may also be affected in the newborn through breastfeeding. Therefore it is advised that the coenzyme be discontinued during both pregnancy and breastfeeding since there isn’t enough research to support the safe continuation of the substance.
Those taking coenzyme Q10 may experience flu-like symptoms as a side effect. Besides some gastrointestinal side effects common with flu, symptoms such as headache, dizziness, irritability and fatigue have also been experienced by those who take the substance.