We’ve covered what Ubiquinol and Ubiquinone are, and now we’re discussing how they’re different. Although both are forms of CoQ10, your body uses each nutrient differently to perform vital functions.
Just as your car is powered by gas, your heart and other organs are powered by cellular energy.
To create this energy, Ubiquinone, also known as the regular CoQ10, travels down a path in your cells called the Electron Transport Chain. As it’s moving along the chain, the Ubiquinone accepts an electron, and this added electron turns Ubiquinone into Ubiquinol.
The newly-formed Ubiquinol continues its journey down the Electron Transport Chain, where it will pass its extra electron to other parts of the chain. The act of passing this electron creates the cellular energy your body needs to function at optimal levels.
Although the chemical difference between Ubiquinol and Ubiquinone is just a single electron, that one electron has a huge impact.
Compared to Ubiquinone, Ubiquinol has superior bioavailability,1 2 3 is easily absorbed by the human body, helps protect against oxidative stress, 4 5 6 7 8 and is the predominant form of CoQ10 in a healthy body. 9 10 11
However, as we age, this transformation from Ubiquinone to Ubiquinol becomes less efficient. That means that even if you have the right levels of Ubiquinone, your body may not be able to convert it as easily into Ubiquinol.
That’s why adults over forty are encouraged to take a Ubiquinol supplement. Taking this form of CoQ10 means your body doesn’t need to rely on its ability to transform Ubiquinone to Ubiquinol to create cellular energy.
1 Wada H, Goto H, Hagiwara S, Yamamoto Y. Redox status of coenzyme Q10 is associated with chronological age. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2007 Jul;55(7):1141-2.
2 Niklowitz P, Onur S, Fischer A, Laudes M, Palussen M, Menke T, Döring F. Coenzyme Q10 serum concentration and redox status in European adults: influence of age, sex, and lipoprotein concentration. J Clin Biochem Nutr. 2016 Jan. Online publication.
3 Tang PH, Miles MV, DeGrauw A, Hershey A, Pesce A. HPLC analysis of reduced and oxidized coenzyme Q(10) in human plasma. Clin Chem. 2001 Feb;47(2):256-65.
4 Miles MV, Horn P, Milesc L, Tanga P, Steele P, DeGrauwa T. Bioequivalence of coenzyme Q10 from over-the-counter supplements. Nutr Res. 2002:22(8):919-929.
5 Evans M, Baisley J, Barss S, Guthrie N. A randomized, double-blind trial on the bioavailability of two CoQ10 formulations. Journal of Functional Foods. 2009. 1: 65-73.
6 Mohr D, Bowry VW, Stocker R. Dietary supplementation with coenzyme Q10 results in increased levels of ubiquinol-10 within circulating lipoproteins and increased resistance of human low-density lipoprotein to the initiation of lipid peroxidation. Biochim Biophys Acta. 1992 Jun 26;1126(3):247-54.
7 Tomasetti, M, Alleva R, Borghi B, Collins AR. In vivo supplementation with coenzyme Q10 enhances the recovery of human lymphocytes from oxidative DNA damage. FASEB J. 2001 Jun;15(8):1425-7.
8 Frei B, Kim MC, Ames BN. Ubiquinol-10 is an effective lipid-soluble antioxidant at physiological concentrations. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1990 Jun;87(12):4879-83.
9 Langsjoen PH and Langsjoen AM. Supplemental Ubiquinol in congestive heart failure: 3 year experience. 6th International Q10 Conference Brussels, 27–30 May 2010; 29–30.
10 Becker WM and Deamer DW. Energy from Chemical Bonds: The aerobic mode. In: The World of the Cell, 2nd Ed., The Benjamin Cummings Publishing Company, Inc, Redwood City , CA., pps. 275-313. 11Tomasetti, M, Alleva R, Borghi B, Collins AR. In vivo supplementation with coenzyme Q10 enhances the recovery of human lymphocytes from oxidative DNA damage. FASEB J. 2001 Jun;15(8):1425-7.