NADH + CoQ10: How Supplementing With This Coenzyme Duo Creates Cellular, Physical, and Mental Energy
Every cell in our bodies requires a continual supply of energy input in the form of ATP (adenine triphosphate) to function correctly. Within just a few seconds without any ATP, our bodies would shut down. Simply put, it’s a vital compound for the survival and function of all of our organs, tissues, and cells.
But, ATP production can decline with age or disease, partly because certain molecules that help boost the production of ATP also drop as we grow older. Two such molecules, NADH and CoQ10, are essential for creating cellular energy from food. With the decline of NADH and CoQ10 levels comes a subsequent decrease in ATP production, leading to a lack of physical and mental stamina and cognitive function, among other things. Therefore, adding a daily supplement of combined NADH and CoQ10 can help to bolster ATP production, which supports increased energy levels, mood, and mental focus as we age.
NAD+ Vs. NADH: What’s the Difference?
While we’ve certainly talked a lot about the importance of NAD+ (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide), less has been mentioned about its cousin, NADH, which has a hydrogen molecule attached. While these two molecules are chemically similar, they aren’t exactly the same.
To start, let’s clarify that NAD (without the “+”) encompasses all of the different forms that NAD can become in the body. NAD+ and NADH are two forms of NAD, and they are two sides of a redox couple — this means that one form is “reduced” and one form is “oxidized.” NAD+ is used to describe the oxidized form of NAD, which means it is in a state that has lost an electron.
When NAD+ is converted into NADH (the reduced form of NAD), it gains a charged hydrogen molecule (H+) and two electrons. However, if you go back to your high school chemistry days, you may recall that electrons are negatively charged, and the combination of the positively charged NAD+, H+, and two electrons cancels each other out. This neutralizes the molecule and results in just NADH without the “+” next to it.
These seemingly minor differences actually matter quite a bit when it comes to how they work in our cells. Because NAD+ is oxidized and doesn’t have that hydrogen hanging on, you can imagine it as an empty bus or car that has room to spare. This extra room allows NAD+ to accept and shuttle electrons into the mitochondria for the process of producing energy. (This is a key mechanism in the electron transport chain pathway during aerobic cellular respiration — how our cells make energy in the form of ATP from food.)
To stick with the shuttle bus metaphor, NADH is like a filled-up cargo truck — there’s no room for anything else. NADH then carries its cargo to mitochondrial enzymes, where they keep busy making more ATP. Once NADH drops off its load, it becomes NAD+ again and is ready to reload and do it all over again. So, both NAD+ and NADH are crucial components of making energy — we need the two sides of the redox coin to get the job done.
A Perfect Coupling of Coenzymes With CoQ10 and NADH
So, where does CoQ10 come in? As its full name (Coenzyme Q10) suggests, this compound is a coenzyme — a “helper” molecule that activates and assists other enzymes with functioning properly to make energy from food. NADH is also a coenzyme; both NADH and CoQ10 are essential for the cellular respiration pathways that make ATP.
CoQ10 also functions as an antioxidant, scavenging for free radicals that harm cells by damaging membranes and proteins. While we often make enough (or consume enough in the diet) of CoQ10 when we’re young and healthy, CoQ10 concentrations steadily decline with age, taking energy production and cell damage mitigation down along with it. In addition to supporting healthy energy levels, CoQ10 may also support the brain and cardiovascular system.
Just like NAD, CoQ10 also has a few different oxidation states. In this NADH + CoQ10 supplement, we use ubiquinone, which is the fully oxidized form. As part of the mitochondrial electron transport chain mentioned earlier, CoQ10 accepts electrons created during fat and sugar metabolism and then transfers them back to electron acceptors, causing a gradient that releases energy.
Recent Research On NADH + CoQ10
People who are chronically fatigued (the kind that doesn’t get better with rest and is made worse by expending physical and mental effort) may benefit from NADH + CoQ10 supplements. One recent study found that chronically fatigued people who supplemented with 200 mg of CoQ10 and 20 mg of NADH for 12 weeks experienced significant improvements in measures of cognitive fatigue, health-related quality of life, sleep duration, and sleep efficiency.
Another similar study found that the same dosage of NADH + CoQ10 supplements for eight weeks significantly reduced scores of total fatigue and boosted cellular measures of NAD+/NADH ratios, CoQ10 levels, and ATP production. Overall, this research suggests that supplementing with NADH and CoQ10 may be valuable for supporting physical and mental energy, which then supports quality of life and sleep.
In this combo NADH + CoQ10 supplement, ProHealth uses a patented delayed-release capsule to protect these delicate coenzymes from stomach acid. These innovative capsules are designed to release their contents into the small intestine instead of the stomach, where the coenzymes can be most readily absorbed and utilized by our cells to support energy production..
The Bottom Line
NADH and CoQ10 are crucial coenzymes for producing cellular energy. Both of these molecules decline as we age, bringing a subsequent reduction in ATP production that manifests as a lack of physical and mental energy, stamina, and cognitive function. Supplementing with combined NADH and CoQ10 has been reported in research to support energy levels, and ProHealth’s unique and patented delayed-release capsules help these vital compounds get where they need to go to support energy at any age.
Castro-Marrero J, Cordero MD, Segundo MJ, et al. Does oral coenzyme Q10 plus NADH supplementation improve fatigue and biochemical parameters?. Antioxid Redox Signal. 2015;22(8):679-685. doi:10.1089/ars.2014.6181
Castro-Marrero J, Segundo MJ, Lacasa M, Martinez-Martinez A, Sentañes RS, Alegre-Martin J. Effect of Dietary Coenzyme Q10 Plus NADH Supplementation on Fatigue Perception and Health-Related Quality of Life: A Prospective, Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial. Nutrients. 2021;13(8):2658. Published 2021 Jul 30. doi:10.3390/nu13082658
Zozina VI, Covantev S, Goroshko OA, Krasnykh LM, Kukes VG. Coenzyme Q10 in Cardiovascular and Metabolic: Current State of the Problem. Curr Cardiol Rev. 2018;14(3):164-174. doi:10.2174/1573403X14666180416115428