MitoQ is special among antioxidants because it can concentrate in the mitochondria, the source of most free radicals. In animal trials, it delayed aging and protected the heart, liver, and brain. However, clinical evidence hasn’t yet supported these preliminary findings. Read on to learn the potential MitoQ benefits, along with suggested dosage, user reviews, and side effects.
What is MitoQ?
MitoQ (mitoquinone) is a CoQ10 lookalike, an antioxidant that is attracted to the source of most free-radicals: the mitochondria. Unlike most other antioxidants, it can concentrate hundreds of times in the mitochondria [1, 2, 3, 4].
The health of our mitochondria is vital. They provide energy to our hardest-working cells, including those in the heart, liver, and brain. And when they are stressed by inflammation or free radicals, they can kill the cell they live in (apoptosis) [5, 6].
Mitochondrial damage is a problem in many conditions, from heart and liver disease to Alzheimer’s. It is also seen in aging, osteoporosis, and hair loss [2, 7].
When free radicals are removed in the mitochondria (by catalase) mouse lifespan is increased by 10%. It is proposed that MitoQ might achieve similar results in humans, but clinical trials to back this up are lacking .
- Supports mitochondrial function
- Combats oxidative stress
- May delay aging
- May protect the brain and heart
- May improve metabolism
- Clinical evidence is scarce and not reliable
- Health claims seem promotional
- Long-term safety unknown
- May not help with Parkinson’s
- May increase cell acidity
MitoQ vs. CoQ10
CoQ10 is a mitochondrial antioxidant, but the body does not easily absorb it. When taken as a supplement, a lot of it does not reach the mitochondria. MitoQ might solve these problems, though it is not quite as powerful an antioxidant as CoQ10 [9, 4].
It also does not replace CoQ10‘s essential role in making energy .
No valid clinical evidence supports the use of MitoQ for any of the conditions in this section. Below is a summary of up-to-date animal studies, cell-based research, or low-quality clinical trials which should spark further investigation. However, you shouldn’t interpret them as supportive of any health benefit.
2) Liver Protection
MitoQ reduced liver enzymes in a trial of 30 patients with hepatitis C. However, the authors didn’t report the effects on liver function and disease progression .
However, we should take the results with a huge grain of salt because :
- The study was funded by a pharmaceutical company that owns MitoQ
- Some study authors are connected to the company and hold share options
In a study on rats, MitoQ protected the liver from damage due to alcohol (by lowering free radicals and HIF1α) .
MitoQ prevented liver fibrosis from free radicals in mice .
Animal and Cellular Research (Lacking Evidence)
No clinical evidence supports the use of MitoQ for any of the conditions listed in this section. Below is a summary of the existing animal and cell-based studies; they should guide further investigational efforts but should not be interpreted as supportive of any health benefit.
Free-Radical Damage, Cell Death, and Aging
A meta-analysis of 27 animal studies summarized the effects of MitoQ on aging-related biomarkers. The authors concluded it “may be of some benefit in alleviating oxidative stress related to aging” .
MitoQ raises glutathione and prevents DNA damage and cell death (apoptosis) from free radicals in human cells [9, 1, 15, 4].
It also protects fats from free radicals in rat cells .
In human cells, MitoQ is 800 times stronger than idebenone (another CoQ10 analog) at preventing cell death from free radicals .
According to a review of preclinical trials, MitoQ prevents mitochondrial DNA damage from UV better than resveratrol, curcumin, or NAC .
In studies on rats, MitoQ prevented heart failure from cocaine or chemotherapy use by decreasing free radicals, preserving energy production, and lowering inflammation (TNF-alpha) [19, 20, 21].
During shock, MitoQ protected heart muscle in rats and mice .
Blood Flow and Blood Pressure
MitoQ lowered high blood pressure in a study on rats .
The blood vessels harden as we age. In mice, MitoQ improved blood flow by increasing the elasticity of blood vessels and protecting them from free radical damage (by raising MnSOD) .
In mice, MitoQ prevented inflammation caused by low oxygen by IBD [24, 25, 26].
In a study on rats, MitoQ helped with infections by decreasing inflammation and helping cells make enough energy .
Scientists observed its potential to decrease inflammation from infections in human cells .
In mice models of Alzheimer’s, MitoQ prevents cognitive decline, nerve loss, injury from free radicals, and build-up of amyloid-beta .
In worms with Alzheimer’s-related genes, it extended lifespan by 14%. However, it did not do so in normal worms .
MitoQ slowed disease progression, reduced inflammation, and saved spinal cord neurons in a multiple sclerosis mouse model .
Weight Gain and Metabolic Syndrome
In studies on rats and mice on high-fat diets, scientists examined the potential of MitoQ to decrease weight gain and lower blood insulin and sugar levels [32, 33].
Cardiolipin is crucial for the health of mitochondria. Free radicals can destroy cardiolipin in aging, diabetes, heart failure, thyroid disease, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) [34, 35, 36].
MitoQ increases cardiolipin in the livers of rats on high-fat diets .
MitoQ increased lifespan and reduced telomere shortening in human fibroblast cells under oxidative stress, but did not help in normal conditions .
MitoQ extended lifespan in transgenic worms with Alzheimer’s genes but did not do so in normal worms. It also didn’t extend life in normal flies [30, 39].
It’s important to note that the observations made in test-tube studies have no clinical significance because they may not translate to living organisms. Additionally, the amount of MitoQ in such studies was often 10-100 times more than the dose used in humans or animals. Thus, some effects are not comparable .
MitoQ (40 – 80 mg/day for 12 months) did not improve the symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease in a trial of 128 patients. Study authors explained that patients have already lost 80% of their dopamine by the time they are diagnosed, and this treatment may have come too late .
MitoQ Side Effects & Precautions
Keep in mind that the safety profile of MitoQ is relatively unknown, given the lack of well-designed clinical studies. The list of side effects below is not a definite one, and you should consult your doctor about other potential side effects, based on your health condition and possible drug or supplement interactions.
In two clinical trials conducted so far, MitoQ was safe and well-tolerated [41, 11].
MitoQ did not harm healthy mice when given at high doses for 28 weeks. It caused no DNA damage, free radical damage, or major changes in metabolism .
It decreases water and food intake in obese mice .
MitoQ may acidify cells, increase mitochondrial calcium, and cause cells to make less energy [44, 40, 45].
It can also increase free radicals under certain conditions (pro-oxidant effects) [46, 9, 44].
All in all, the long-term safety profile of MitoQ is relatively unknown. Caution is warranted.
Since MitoQ is not approved by the FDA for any condition, there is no official dose. Users and supplement manufacturers have established unofficial doses based on trial and error. Discuss with your doctor if MitoQ may be useful as a complementary approach in your case and which dose you should take.
In one clinical trial, patients with Parkinson’s disease tolerated 40-80 mg/day for 12 months .
MitoQ.com recommends 10 mg/day, but there’s no clinical data to back this up.
The opinions expressed in this section are solely from the users who may or may not have a medical background. SelfDecode does not endorse any specific product, service, or treatment. Do not consider user experiences as medical advice. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice because of something you have read on SelfDecode.
Users reported the following beneficial effects:
Most common benefit: increased energy.
Improved energy, focus, clarity, and calm; less fatigue, brain fog, depression, chronic pain; increased dreaming; improved energy in Fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, and Lyme disease.
Most common disease: multiple sclerosis.
In multiple sclerosis: better mobility and cognition, more energy, a significant change in symptoms, “an improvement in my ability to complete a sentence”, better coordination and strength, help with brain fog, fatigue, and mental processing problems; alertness; and improved balance.
Fewer heart palpitations.
Users reported the following lack of effects or side effects:
Not feeling different after months or years of use.
Failure to heal multiple sclerosis or treat the symptoms of multiple sclerosis except for increased energy.
Acne; headaches when MitoQ is combined with Niagen; racing heart and possible kidney harm (raised creatinine) which resolved after discontinuation; EKG changes (QTc);
Here’s what Joe, SelfDecode CEO, has to say about it: “I took MitoQ for a bit and I liked it, but I found that you needed to take 20-40mg to notice a difference. I think it’s a good supplement for people experiencing oxidative stress.”