People have been taking CoQ10 supplements to improve their heart health for decades, but most probably don’t realize that Ubiquinol is a better form of CoQ10.
CoQ10 comes in two main forms: oxidized ubiquinone (sometimes called conventional CoQ10) and non-oxidized Ubiquinol (sometimes called Reduced or Active CoQ10). More than 90% of the total CoQ10 in the blood of a healthy young adult is in the Ubiquinol form.1
Turning Conventional CoQ10 into Ubiquinol CoQ10
Conventional CoQ10 (ubiquinone), is the oxidized version of the nutrient. We get some of it from the food we eat but most of our supply is made naturally inside our bodies. Before it can do many of the wonderful things people associate with CoQ10, the conventional form of CoQ10 needs to be converted by our bodies into a more advanced form called Ubiquinol CoQ10.2 This conversion into Ubiquinol becomes more difficult to complete as we get older or when we have certain health conditions.3 4
Imagine Andy as a healthy 18-year-old needing to push several heavy balls up a hill. Young and carefree Andy has little trouble getting each ball to the top and returning for another one. He barely broke a sweat. Now imagine Andy as a 60-year-old trying to do the same thing. Though wiser and more mature, 60-year-old Andy has a difficult time with this repeating activity. Each trip becomes slower and requires increased recovery time. A similar uphill process happens in our bodies with conventional CoQ10 when we attempt to convert it into Ubiquinol.
Why the Need to Change into Ubiquinol?
Our most important organs and muscles – the brain and the 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.
Inside tiny cellular power plants called mitochondria, Ubiquinol CoQ10 uses its two electrons in a very specific way to help convert food to a type of fuel (called ATP) needed by our bodies.6
Young, healthy people like 18-year-old Andy easily turn ubiquinone into Ubiquinol CoQ10. But starting around the age 30 and especially after 40, our ability to turn that conventional CoQ10 into the desirable Ubiquinol becomes harder and less efficient.3,4 This has an impact on the amount of cellular energy available for our organs to use.
Ubiquinol CoQ10: Another Important Difference
Unlike conventional CoQ10, Ubiquinol is a very powerful antioxidant by virtue of its two extra electrons. Those electrons are important because they 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 (oxidative stress) and can cause damage that impacts our health.
The Ubiquinol form of CoQ10 doesn’t mind giving up an electron to neutralize a free radical that might have otherwise caused some metabolic trouble. 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.5,7 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.
Although CoQ10 supplements have been around for more than 40 years, they were only available in the fully oxidized or “spent” form of CoQ10 until Kaneka Corporation launched its next generation Coenzyme Q10 product, Kaneka QHTM Ubiquinol in 2007. Several clinical studies have found Kaneka QHTM Ubiquinol to be beneficial for heart health, blood pressure, and most major organs. Ubiquinol is also an antioxidant that helps fight damage caused by oxidative stress and free radicals, both of which are associated with aging. Kaneka QHTM Ubiquinol is more bioavailable than conventional CoQ10 supplements, meaning the body can more easily absorb Ubiquinol and replenish normal CoQ10 levels in the blood8-9. Today, Kaneka is the only manufacturer of Ubiquinol CoQ10, which it produces in a fashion that carefully protects against oxidation. Look for the Kaneka QHTM Logo on the box to know you’re getting genuine Kaneka QHTM Ubiquinol made in the USA or Japan.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.