Coenzyme Q10 (also known as CoQ10 and Ubiquinone) is a compound that helps generate energy in your cells.
CoQ10 can be found in a variety of states, though the most common alternate form is Ubiquinol, which is fully reduced (i.e., not oxidised at all).
These coenzymes are essential for a wide variety of biological functions and have been shown to provide a wide range of health benefits.
While your body produces CoQ10 naturally, its production tends to decrease with age, making it more important to get coenzymes from external sources like food and supplements. However, you need to know that you’re getting the best form of coenzyme, so let’s see who comes out on top in the fight of CoQ10 Vs Ubiquinol:
What is Coq10?
Coenzyme Q10 is a compound produced by your body and stored in the mitochondria of your cells which produce the energy required for a wide range of biological reactions. Your mitochondria are responsible for producing the energy needed for biological processes like digesting food and moving your muscles, so it’s vital to keep them topped up with all the CoQ10 they need.
Research has shown that CoQ10 plays several key roles in your body, helping to generate energy in your cells, transfer it between them and act as an antioxidant. It is believed that the different forms of this coenzyme offer similar benefits, though the debate of CoQ10 Vs Ubiquinol rages on, thanks to the subtly different effects of the fully reduced form, Ubiquinol.
What is Ubiquinol?
Ubiquinol is the reduced form of CoQ10 (or ubiquinone), which is needed by the mitochondria to make energy and has strong antioxidant benefits. Because they are essentially different forms of the same compound, ubiquinone is commonly recycled (reduced) back into ubiquinol and vice versa in your body.
Although ubiquinol has strong antioxidant properties, it is still highly similar to the full form of CoQ10, leading to some uncertainty when discussing CoQ10 Vs Ubiquinol. Both types of coenzyme are produced by your body and can be found in food – especially in meat and seafood – as your body typically produces half of the CoQ10 it needs and the other half comes from external sources.
Which is Better Ubiquinol or Coq10?
While most research on the benefits of coenzyme has focused on ubiquinone, Coq10 shifts between its ubiquinol and ubiquinone forms continuously within the body. Therefore, if you take a ubiquinone supplement, it may have transformed into ubiquinol by the time it reaches your bloodstream, and vice versa.
So, if these two compounds are practically one and the same, which is the best form to fill your medicine cabinet, and what do you need to be aware of when discussing CoQ10 Vs Ubiquinol?
- Ubiquinol (the reduced form of CoQ10) is milky white, while ubiquinone (the oxidised form) is yellowish.
- Ubiquinol is more expensive to produce in its raw form and is less biochemically stable, meaning it breaks down (or reverts to ubiquinone) quickly.
- Ubiquinol is primarily responsible for the antioxidant benefits of CoQ10, while ubiquinone is essential for CoQ10’s role in cellular energy metabolism.
What Are the Benefits of Coq10 and Ubiquinol?
As we’ve already explained, CoQ10 (in both ubiquinone and ubiquinol forms) is essential for cellular energy transfer which supports a wide range of biological functions. As you age, your body will produce less CoQ10, requiring you to get more from external sources like certain foods and CoQ10 supplements.
Whether you’re still deliberating on CoQ10 Vs Ubiquinol or if it’s worth stockpiling supplements, it’s effectivity as an antioxidant is hard to deny and it offers many other benefits…
1. CoQ10 May Help Treat Heart Failure
Heart failure is often caused by other conditions – such as high blood pressure– which lead to increased inflammation and oxidative damage which can be mitigated with antioxidant compounds. Fortunately, the antioxidant properties of CoQ10 mean that it can be used to reduce oxidative damage, improve heart function and reduce the risk of death from heart failure.
2. CoQ10 Could Help with Fertility
Oxidative damage linked to aging and decreased CoQ10 production has been linked to declines in fertility, and supplementing with CoQ10 may help to reverse these changes. Several studies have concluded that supplementing with CoQ10 helps to improve male fertility, though it is unclear if the ubiquinone or ubiquinol forms are more effective, further fuelling the CoQ10 Vs Ubiquinol debate.
3. CoQ10 Might Help Keep Your Skin Young
Your skin is the largest organ in the human body and is exposed to harmful elements like UV radiation and pollution on a daily basis. Over time, these factors will damage and thin your skin, though topical CoQ10 application can reduce skin damage, reduce the signs of aging and potentially reduce your chances of developing skin cancer.
4.CoQ10 Could Reduce Headaches
Abnormal mitochondrial function has been linked to increase calcium uptake and decreased antioxidant production, which may cause migraines, so help keep your mitochondria working well with plenty of CoQ10. Both the antioxidant and cellular energy supporting effects of CoQ10 are useful here, so we can side-line the CoQ10 Vs Ubiquinol issue for a little while.
5. CoQ10 is Good for the Brain
Mitochondria are the main energy generators of brain cells, so any supplement that helps support cellular energy metabolism will help your brain matter. In addition, CoQ10 helps reduce oxidative damage linked to the production of harmful compounds, potentially slowing the progression of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
What is the Best Form of Coq10 for Absorption?
We’ve already discussed how CoQ10 commonly transforms between ubiquinol and ubiquinone forms within the body, although your body will treat the two forms differently. When considering the battle of CoQ10 Vs Ubiquinol, be aware that Ubiquinol accounts for 90% of the CoQ10 in your bloodstream and is the most absorbable form of CoQ10 at the cost of greater biochemical instability.
However, the reduced and unoxidized form of CoQ10 – Ubiquinol – is less biochemically stable and may transform into Ubiquinone if it is oxidised. Because ubiquinone is yellowish and ubiquinol is milky white, you can easily test the contents of your CoQ10 supplements by piercing the capsule and squeezing out a small amount to test.
How Much CoQ10 Should I Take?
Studies of CoQ10 indicate that this compound has low toxicity and does not induce serious side effects, even in doses as high as 1,200mg a day. No matter where you stand in the CoQ10 Vs Ubiquinol discussion, various studies using high doses of CoQ10 all support the conclusion that this medicinal compound is extremely safe.
However, it is unclear if the benefits of CoQ10 scale with the size of your dosage, so taking large amounts (like the aforementioned 1,200mg a day) may just result in really expensive pee. The important thing is to find a dosage that gives noticeable results and is feasible for you to take long-term, as your body does not store CoQ10 and continued usage is recommended.
When Should I Take Coq10 Morning or Night?
Because CoQ10 is a fat-soluble compound, your body may struggle to absorb it quickly no matter which form of the compound that you take. Even when comparing CoQ10 Vs Ubiquinol, you won’t see anywhere near instant results, though taking your supplements with food can help your body absorb it up to 3 times faster than without.
Additionally, some brands use a solubilized form of CoQ10 (or CoQ10 mixed with oil) to improve its absorption and bioavailability, though dosing up before dinner may be your best bet. Despite slow absorption, there don’t appear to be any consequences from taking CoQ10 at certain times of the day, so consider basing your supplement usage around your mealtimes.
Coq10 and Ubiquinol Supplements Review
Your body’s natural production of CoQ10 steadily decreases from round the age of 40, though it may also be caused by nutritional deficiencies, genetic defects, or oxidative stress. Although the battle of CoQ10 Vs Ubiquinol is at a bit of a stalemate, you should be taking some form of this coenzyme to maintain healthy levels.
There are more CoQ10 supplements on the market than you can shake a stick at, so we’ve tried to help you by selecting a shortlist of 3 supplements that will help you stay healthy: