Ubiquinol vs. CoQ10: What's The Difference?

Elderly woman gardening
Written by Risa Schulman
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4 mins

People have been taking CoQ10 (Coenzyme Q10) supplements to support their heart health for more than 30 years, but very few probably realize that CoQ10 supplements are commercially available in two forms: Ubiquinone, the fully oxidized form of CoQ10, and Ubiquinol, the fully reduced form of CoQ10. The difference between Ubiquinone and Ubiquinol can be confusing, and consumers often wonder about the differences. Both Ubiquinone, often referred to as Conventional CoQ10, and Ubiquinol play important roles in the body's production of cellular energy, but an important distinction is that, when taken as a supplement, Ubiquinone must be converted to Ubiquinol in order to act as an antioxidant. 

What is Conventional CoQ10 (Ubiquinone)?

Ubiquinone is the fully oxidized form of CoQ10. It plays a key role in creating cellular energy and helping fuel your heart and other organs.

What is Ubiquinol?

Ubiquinol is the reduced, antioxidant form of CoQ10.  It also plays a key role in creating cellular energy and helping fuel your heart and other organs.

  • We get a minimal amount of this nutrient  in the food we eat. Most of our supply is made naturally inside our bodies, with the highest levels in the heart, liver, kidneys, and pancreas.  
  • Our bodies have to convert this form of CoQ10 into Ubiquinol before it can be transported in the blood to the target organs. 
  • Levels of total CoQ10 (CoQ10 + Ubiquinol) decrease as we age. 
  • Ubiquinol is the preferred supplement form of CoQ10 because it does not need to be converted by the body, and your body may better absorb Ubiquinol vs conventional CoQ10.
  • It’s the only known fat-soluble antioxidant made in the body.   
  • It’s the predominant form of CoQ10 in the blood in healthy individuals.   
  • Ubiquinol has superior absorption and bioavailability: shown to have 2-4x greater absorption  than conventional CoQ10. 

What's the Difference: Ubiquinol vs. Ubiquinone?

Here's the biggest difference:  When Ubiquinone is taken as a supplement, your body has to first convert it to Ubiquinol before it can be transported in the blood as an antioxidant. This means your body has to do more work before it can send Ubiquinol off to your organs and cells to do its thing. As we get older, our ability to convert Ubiquinone to Ubiquinol becomes less efficient.

Just as your car is powered by gas, your heart, and other organs are powered by cellular energy. Put simply, to create this energy, Ubiquinone, also known as CoQ10, shuttles electrons down a path in your cells called the electron transport chain. As electrons move along the chain, Ubiquinone accepts two electrons, and these added electrons turn Ubiquinone into Ubiquinol. Ubiquinol then passes its extra electrons down an energy gradient to other molecules in the chain. During this process, cellular energy is created in the form of ATP, which makes it usable by the body.
 

**All of our Kaneka Ubiquinol is made directly in the USA at our plant in Pasadena, TX**

 

Why is Ubiquinol a Better Supplement Choice Than Conventional CoQ10?

Although the chemical difference between Ubiquinol and Ubiquinone is just two electrons, those electrons have a huge impact. The important point to remember is that Ubiquinol is the antioxidant form of CoQ10 that helps protect against oxidative stress and is better absorbed than conventional CoQ10. Also, as we age, the transformation of CoQ10 (Ubiquinone) to Ubiquinol becomes less efficient. That's why adults over forty may want to consider taking a Ubiquinol supplement.

Compared to Ubiquinone, Ubiquinol has multiple health benefits: 
 

Benefit

Ubiquinol

Conventional CoQ10

Required for 95% of your cellular energy production8 11 12 13 14 15

Green Check

Blue Check

Superior bioavailability 9 10 11

Green Check

 

Optimally replenishes Ubiquinol in your body to help protect against oxidative stress and provide cellular energy4 8 9 10 11

Green Check

 

Predominant form of CoQ10 in a healthy body6 7 8

Green Check

 

Related: Ubiquinol CoQ10 & Statins: What You Need to Know

Who Should Take Ubiquinol Supplements?

When deciding what brand to purchase, always look for the Kaneka Quality Seal, which ensures the product was made with Kaneka Ubiquinol. Then, learn more about other ingredients in the product by reviewing the label, to find the brand that meets your specific dietary needs. To learn more about purchasing Ubiquinol, reference the Buyer’s Guide. 
 

What’s The Difference Between The Kaneka Ubiquinol Brand And Other Ubiquinol Brands?

Kaneka is the only company in the world that makes Ubiquinol, the advanced form of CoQ10. Kaneka then provides the Ubiquinol ingredient to hundreds of brands. This means the biggest difference between Kaneka’s brand and other manufacturers is the other ingredients used to create the softgel.

Kaneka’s brand of Ubiquinol is dairy free, gluten free, and wheat free. Other manufacturers may use ingredients that cater to other dietary needs, like using soy-free or nut-free ingredients.

When deciding what brand to purchase, first look for the Kaneka Quality Seal, which ensures the product was made with Kaneka Ubiquinol. Then, learn more about the added ingredients to find the brand that meets your specific dietary needs. To learn more about purchasing Ubiquinol, reference the Buyer’s Guide on Ubiquinol.org.

Written by:

Risa Schulman

Ph.D

Risa Schulman, Ph.D. took her lifelong love of science, people and the fulfillment of potential to create a multifaceted career in R&D, business, health and wellness, and empowering individuals. 

References

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 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.

4 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.

5 Langs joen PH and Langsjoen AM. Comparison study of plasma coenzyme Q10 levels in healthy subjects supplemented with ubiquinol versus ubiquinone. Clinical Pharmacol Drug Dev. 2014;3(1):13-17.

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