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Coenzyme Q10 supplementation in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease: an overview

02 April 2020
Volume 2 · Issue 4


Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is the most common liver disorder in the UK, for which little effective conventional treatment is available. Mitochondrial dysfunction, oxidative stress and inflammation have been implicated in the pathogenesis of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. This article focuses on the role of the vitamin-like substance coenzyme Q10 in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, since coenzyme Q10 plays a key role in mitochondrial function, as well as having antioxidant and anti-inflammatory action. Coenzyme Q10 levels are depleted in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, and studies in animal models and human subjects have indicated that supplementation with coenzyme Q10 can significantly reduce oxidative stress and the inflammation characteristic of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. In addition, Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease patients are at increased risk of developing heart failure, and supplementary coenzyme Q10 may help to reduce this risk. Supplementary coenzyme Q10 is generally well tolerated, with no significant adverse effects reported in long-term use.

The liver is a complex organ that performs a wide range of essential functions to maintain normal health, including digestion, immune function and detoxification. There are more than 100 types of liver disease, ranging from common disorders, such as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and alcohol-related liver disease (ARLD), to less common inherited disorders, such as haemochromatosis and primary biliary cholangitis. The liver has a high functional reserve, and, usually, liver disorders do not cause any obvious symptoms until the liver has suffered a substantial amount of tissue damage; typical symptoms include loss of appetite, weight loss and jaundice (Fan, 2010). The liver has a high capacity to regenerate damaged tissue, but it can eventually be compromised by permanent scarring (cirrhosis), which represents a common final stage of the different types of liver disease (Fan, 2010). Typically, cirrhosis is preceded by the deposition of fat within liver tissue, which can occur in individuals whether or not they consume alcohol. At present, there is little effective treatment for NAFLD. This article focuses on the role of coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) deficiency and supplementation in NAFLD.

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