Co-enzyme Q10 hot in demand in China amid sharp jump in COVID-19 cases

By Tingmin Koe

- Last updated on GMT

Co-enzyme Q10 supplements have been in hot demand across China recently. © Getty Images
Co-enzyme Q10 supplements have been in hot demand across China recently. © Getty Images

Related tags Kaneka Co-enzyme Q10

Co-enzyme Q10 dietary supplements are the latest hot-selling item in China following a sharp jump in COVID-19 cases across the country.

Local media Yicai​ reported on January 13 that some of the supplement brands were sold out and more investors of health supplement companies were enquiring about the ingredient.

One of the companies, Kingdomway, had responded to investors that orders for co-enzyme Q10 had gone up. Earlier on January 6, the Shenzhen stock exchange listed company replied to investors that it was the largest co-enzyme Q10 supplier within China, with a production capacity of 600 tonnes and it foresaw that the sales of co-enzyme Q10 raw material and supplement would increase.

The China version of Radio France Internationale, ​on the other hand, reported that online search for the supplement has increased on e-commerce platforms such as Tmall and Taobao – with the latter seeing over 2,500 per cent increase in co-enzyme Q10 search volume.

One of the reasons for the surge in demand, is due to the belief that co-enzyme Q10 could prevent myocarditis – the inflammation of the heart muscle – in individuals who have recovered from COVID-19.

Responding to queries from NutraIngredient-Asia, ​Japan-headquartered Kaneka Corporation, a supplier of co-enzyme Q10, said that the ingredient could be used to support wellbeing, cardiovascular health, and energy production.

“The demand for Ubiquinol, which is the active form of CoQ10, has been increasing from customers who are selling at cross-border e-commerce in China, particularly since the pandemic, with the rise of focus on mitochondrial energy to support energy and the impact of fatigue,” ​said Gillian Fish, CEO, The 6AM Agency, Australia, on behalf of Kaneka Corporation.

Data shared from the largest B2C platform, Tmall, showed that the market for CoQ10, especially in the ubiquinol format, is trending upwards,​she added.

She explained that this was partly because healthcare practitioners have recommended the ingredient to support mitochondrial energy production to support optimal wellbeing, cardiovascular health, and energy production during a time of post-pandemic fatigue.

Social media has also become integral in consumer education.

She said that influencers have “highly recommended” ​the ingredient as a basic nutrient to maintain general health, heart health, energy production, cholesterol support, and male fertility because of its role in maintaining mitochondrial health.

The science

Ubiquinol is a critical co-factor to generate ATP – an “energy molecule” found in all life forms.

A study published in Frontiers​ last October found that ubiquinol supplementation played a significant role in accelerating the recovery of mitochondrial health in patients with post COVID-19.

Thirty-six patients who recovered from COVID-19 and 15 healthy volunteers were involved in the study.

The COVID-19 patients were randomised into two groups, one attending a mountain spa rehabilitation program in a resort at Slovakia for 16 to 18 days, the other group also attended the program but was given two ubiquinol capsules containing 100mg each per day. The supplementation continued for another 12 to 14 days after leaving the spa resort.

Ubiquinol supplementation during mountain spa rehabilitation program accelerated regeneration of mitochondrial health in patients with post COVID-19, which was associated with better clinical outcome of patients.

Findings showed that various clinical symptoms, such as overall fatigue, muscle and joint pain, and heart palpitation have improved in both groups attending the spa program.

However, dry cough had improved more markedly in patients supplemented with COVID-19 and the supplementation also markedly increased the concentration of co-enzyme Q19 in blood platelets, whole blood, and plasma, which in turn significantly accelerated the regeneration of mitochondrial function.       

Research showed that platelet mitochondrial function and endogenous coenzyme Q10 levels are reduced in patients after COVID-19.

“Mitochondria are the energy powerhouses in our cells that exist within our major organs and play a key role in cellular metabolism and immune responses. Study findings show that mitochondria have been implicated in antiviral defence,” ​Fish said.

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