Millions of Americans take a CoQ10 supplement to support heart health, but many are surprised to learn that Coenzyme Q10 actually exists in two main forms with important differences.

Conventional CoQ10

(Oxidized ubiquinone)

Ubiquinol

(sometimes called advanced or active CoQ10)

This is the oxidized version of the nutrient.  We get some of this nutrient from the food we eat, but most of our supply is made naturally inside our bodies.

Our bodies have to convert this form of CoQ10 into Ubiquinol before it can be used to create cellular energy.

This is the advanced form of CoQ10 and its role in creating cellular energy helps fuel your heart and other organs.

As we age, converting CoQ10 to this form becomes more difficult.1 2

Turning Conventional CoQ10 into Ubiquinol CoQ10

 

Kaneka Ubiquinol Transport Chain

 

Young, healthy people can easily turn conventional CoQ10 into Ubiquinol, but starting around age 40, this process becomes harder and less efficient. This can impact the amount of cellular energy available for our organs to use.

Why the Need to Convert CoQ10 into Ubiquinol?

Our most important organs and muscles (the brain and heart, for example) require massive amounts of cellular energy to function at optimal levels. To make this energy, we need CoQ10 in its Ubiquinol form.

Just look at the benefits Ubiquinol provides that conventional CoQ10 does not:

Why is Ubiquinol Better Than Conventional CoQ10?

Benefit

Ubiquinol

Conventional CoQ10

Required for 95% of your cellular energy production3-8

Green Check

Blue Check

Superior bioavailability9-11

Green Check
Easily absorbed by the human body Green Check
Optimally replenishes Ubiquinol in your body to protect against oxidative stress and provide cellular energy12-16 Green Check
Predominant form of CoQ10 in a healthy body17-19 Green Check

Ubiquinol as an Antioxidant

Unlike conventional CoQ10, Ubiquinol is also a very powerful antioxidant thanks to its extra electrons. Those electrons hold the key to neutralizing substances called free radicals.

Free radicals are harmful because they are constantly looking to steal electrons wherever they may be found, including DNA, proteins and lipids. Removing an electron oxidizes the molecule (known as oxidative stress) and can cause damage that impacts our health.

Before it can do many of the wonderful things people associate with this nutrient, our bodies need to convert the conventional form of CoQ10 into Ubiquinol.

The Ubiquinol form of CoQ10 doesn’t mind giving up an electron to neutralize a free radical that might have otherwise caused oxidative stress.

What’s more, Ubiquinol CoQ10 is one of the few antioxidants that work not just in the fatty parts of our body (such as cell membranes and LDL cholesterol) but also in the mitochondria where energy is manufactured.20 Like car engines produce exhaust, the mitochondria have their own form of exhaust filled with free radicals.

Ubiquinol is the only form of CoQ10 capable of protecting the mitochondria and their lipid membranes from free radical attack.

Who Should Take Ubiquinol CoQ10 Supplements?

Many of the people who take a CoQ10 supplement are taking it in its conventional form. That form is fine if you’re a healthy 20-something because your body can easily convert it into Ubiquinol.

However, if you’re over 40, you may be receiving limited value from a conventional CoQ10 supplement because you may be unable to convert most of it into heart-healthy Ubiquinol. If you’re in this age range and are taking CoQ10 to support your health, be sure to take it in the advanced Ubiquinol form so your body enjoys the maximum benefit possible.

References

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 Yamashita S, Yamamoto Y. Simultaneous detection of ubiquinol and ubiquinone in human plasma as a marker of oxidative stress. Anal Biochem. 1997 Jul 15;250(1):66-73.

5 Aberg F, Appelkvist EL, Dallner G, Ernster L. Distribution and redox state of ubiquinones in rat and human tissues. Arch Biochem Biophys. 1992 Jun;295(2):230-4.

6 Hosoe K, Kitano M, Kishida H, Kubo H, Fujii K, Kitahara M. Study on safety and bioavailability of ubiquinol (Kaneka QH) after single and 4-week multiple oral administration to healthy volunteers. Regul Toxicol Pharmacol. 2007 Feb;47(1):19-28.

7 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.

8 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.

9 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.

10 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.

11 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.

12 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.

13 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.

14 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.

15 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.

16 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.

17 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.

18 Beamer 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.

19 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.

20 Forsmark-Andrée P, Lee CP, Dallner G, Ernster L. Lipid peroxidation and changes in the ubiquinone content and the respiratory chain enzymes of submitochondrial particles. Free Radic Biol Med. 1997;22(3):391-400.