Since its introduction by Kaneka Nutrients in 2007, Ubiquinol has been on the rise as an alternative to conventional CoQ10 supplements. From featured segments on The Dr. Oz Show to its presence on a growing number of shelves in local pharmacies and grocery stores, it might not be long until Ubiquinol is as much a household name as "fish oil" or "Omega-3."
Put simply, CoQ10 is like the fuel that drives the energy-producing action of the body's mitochondria. Ubiquinol is found in every cell of the body, and it is known to protect against oxidative stress (a prime result of—and possible catalyst for—the aging process). It also helps promote and maintain healthy levels of energy production. But how else does CoQ10 benefit health, and how does Ubiquinol differ from conventional CoQ10 supplements? Here are 11 facts you may not know about CoQ10 and Ubiquinol.
1. CoQ10 exists in three forms.
CoQ10 is produced naturally in the body and exists in three ever-shifting states. The shift occurs when the molecule gains or loses electrons. The three forms of CoQ10 are:
- Ubiquinone — fully oxidized
- Ubisemiquinone — partially oxidized
- Ubiquinol — non-oxidized, or "reduced," and the active, antioxidant form of the nutrient
2. Ubiquinol is more bioavailable than CoQ10.
Just as a square is a rectangle, but not every rectangle is a square, Ubiquinol is always CoQ10, but not every form of CoQ10 is Ubiquinol. Structurally, Ubiquinol is converted from CoQ10 by the addition of two electrons. This seemingly small addition of electrons makes Ubiquinol more "bioavailable" to your body than CoQ10 in its non-reduced, fully oxidized Ubiquinone form. If we think of CoQ10 as crude oil, Ubiquinol is the refined fuel that we can actually use in our cars.
3. In a healthy adult, CoQ10 assumes the Ubiquinol form at least 95 percent of the time.
The conversion of CoQ10 from Ubiquinone into Ubiquinol is a natural process that healthy bodies perform. In fact, the body must convert Ubiquinone into Ubiquinol before being able to put it to use. That's why, at any given time, the vast majority of CoQ10 in the human body is in the form of Ubiquinol. A few factors, however, can compromise the body's ability to transform CoQ10 into Ubiquinol. These factors include aging, certain medications, and chronic disease states.
4. Ubiquinol is the only form of CoQ10 that exists as an antioxidant.
Only the Ubiquinol form of CoQ10 acts as an antioxidant, which is a molecule that inhibits the oxidation of other molecules. While oxygen, of course, is a good thing, too much of it in the wrong places can result in cellular deterioration and cell death and can produce free radicals, which are unbalanced molecules that go around stealing electrons from healthy cells. Ubiquinol protects against this occurrence by "mopping up" free radicals.
5. Ubiquinol is the only known lipid-soluble antioxidant synthesized in the body.
Lipid solubility refers to the ability of a molecule to become absorbed by the protective, fatty structure found in organelles such as the mitochondria. While some vitamins, particularly Vitamins A and E, are also lipid soluble, Ubiquinol is more effective than either of these in fighting free radicals and in protecting against lipid peroxidation, which is a type of degradation that results in cell damage.
6. Ubiquinol promotes optimum heart health.
CoQ10 supports heart health in normally aging individuals. However, Ubiquinol is more bioavailable than CoQ10—meaning it is easier for the body to absorb and use—because, unlike CoQ10, the body doesn’t have to convert Ubiquinol before using it.1 For individuals taking statins, CoQ10 ubiquinol may be reduced. Supplementing with Ubiquinol can help restore those levels.2,3
Read more: Statins & Ubiquinol
7. Kaneka Nutrients has produced Ubiquinol that is bio-identical to the Ubiquinol found in the body.
The active, antioxidant form of Ubiquinol produced by Kaneka Nutrients and found in Ubiquinol supplements is chemically the same—or bioidentical—to the nutrient produced in the body. Because of Ubiquinol's unique absorption properties, it is ideal for aging populations. For anyone over the age of 40, and maybe even younger, Ubiquinol is a good choice because the body may have begun to lose its ability to convert CoQ10 from Ubiquinone into the active, antioxidant form of Ubiquinol.
8. Is there a recommended amount or dosage of Ubiquinol to consume?
If you’re wondering how much Ubiquinol you should take, the best place to start is talking to your doctor or healthcare provider about the amount of Ubiquinol that’s right for you. Depending on many factors - from your age, to health status, lifestyle, and more - you may require an amount higher than 100 mg per day, which is the amount generally recommended on Ubiquinol supplement labels. This is also the case if you’re new to taking Ubiquinol or if you’ve taken a statin. Your doctor may recommend you take a higher daily amount of Ubiquinol in the beginning and then level out your dosage over time.
9. CoQ10 and Ubiquinol side effects are minimal.
Your dose of Ubiquinol can be taken morning or night, depending on your preference. However, some individuals have reported a difference in their sleep quality or ability to fall asleep when they take Ubiquinol at night. When beginning to take a daily Ubiquinol supplement, it’s important to monitor your sleep quality and how you feel overall. Then, discuss any changes you’ve noticed with your doctor and make adjustments so you can feel and function at your best.
As with any supplement, some people might experience minor gastrointestinal discomfort.
10. The name Ubiquinol comes from the word "ubiquitous."
The name Ubiquinol comes from the words "ubiquity" or "ubiquitous," both of which derive from the Greek term for "being everywhere at once." That's because Ubiquinol is everywhere in your body. Literally. Ubiquinol is found in every single cell in the human body. In fact, it's in nearly every cell, tissue and organ in mammals.
11. CoQ10 and Ubiquinol research is ongoing.
The extent of the benefits of CoQ10 and Ubiquinol are still being studied. Stay tuned as more research is conducted on these substances.