Lower plasma coenzyme Q10 concentrations in healthy vegetarians and vegans compared with omnivores


  • Kazunori Hosoe
  • Takao Yamaguchi MSc
  • Iwao Funahashi




Coenzyme Q10, antioxidant, biomarker, ageing, age-related disease


Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is an essential component of the mitochondrial electron transport chain and an antioxidant. CoQ10 levels in tissues and organs decline with age and are reduced in individuals with age-related chronic disease. Supplementation with CoQ10 may alleviate the symptoms of ageing and age-related chronic disease. This study examined whether dietary habits affect plasma concentrations of CoQ10 and its redox status. In the present study, 60 healthy Japanese men and women aged between 20 and 65 years were categorized into vegetarian/vegan and omnivore groups based on a brief self-administered diet history questionnaire and evaluated for CoQ10 levels. Plasma CoQ10 levels and its redox status were compared by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. Plasma concentrations of total CoQ10 were found to be significantly lower in the vegetarian/vegan group compared with the omnivore group (0.79±0.23 vs 1.03±0.36 μg/mL, p=0.003). In contrast, the ubiquinol/total CoQ10 ratio was significantly higher in the vegetarian and vegan group (97.13±0.41 vs 96.84±0.56%, p=0.027). No differences were observed in plasma concentrations of iron, zinc, and calcium between the groups. Although it is unknown whether the lower total CoQ10 plasma concentration in the vegetarian/vegan group predicts an increased risk associated with age-related diseases, further studies with extended markers, scale, and timespan may identify convenient biomarkers to predict such risks.