Both Co-enzyme Q10 (ubiquinone), and ubiquinol are popular health products, and are marketed with the same benefits – protecting your cardiovascular system. This article will explain the health benefits of coQ10 and ubiquinol, what they are and which foods they can be found in.
Roles and relation between Co-Q10 and ubiquinol
Co-enzyme Q10 (ubiquinone) is a fat soluble molecule which our body naturally produces, and is often thought of as having vitamin like properties. Its primary function in the body is to undergo a reduction reaction, and accept electrons in the electron transport chain (a biological system which produces energy in the body), which converts co-Q10 into ubiquinol. Ubiquinol holds these electrons very loosely, and will readily donate them to harmful free radicals which will neutralise them, and eventually convert ubiquinol back into co-Q10. As ubiquinol is fat soluble it can embed itself into the membranes of our cells, and prevent lipid oxidation. As co-Q10 is needed in the production of energy it is important for cells with a high energy demand, which include cardiac cells (such as those in your heart) which are known to be extremely sensitive to CoQ10 deficiency. As ubiquinol is a powerful antioxidant it can prevent oxidative damage occurring to the cells in the cardiovascular system which will again protect against cardiovascular disease.
Although the two molecules are interchangeable in the body, they do fulfil different roles, co-Q10 is needed in the production of energy and ubiquinol is a powerful antioxidant. The body is very efficient at converting one to the other to maintain a balance in these molecules, so should you consume large amounts of co-Q10 you will produce more ubiquinol, and vice versa. However, after the age of 35, your body will start to lose the ability to make co-Q10 and ubiquinol efficiently – increasing the risk of a deficiency of one or both.
Are co-Q10/ Ubiquinol effective as supplements?
Structurally, there is no difference between the supplement form and the naturally produced form of these molecules. As they are taken orally, they must be absorbed through the digestive system intact to exert their benefits. It has been confirmed in clinical studies that co-Q10 is readily absorbed by the digestive system intact, and can be detected in the blood within 30 minuets after consumption. Here it is taken up by the cardiac cells where it can be utilized. To date a number of human trials have shown that co-Q10 supplementation can improve the production of energy in cardiac cells. There are more clinical trials on the benefits of co-Q10 than ubiquinol, but it is a safe assumption that they will have similar benefits. Co-Q10 supplementation is considered to be significantly beneficial either on its own, or in conjunction with other treatments to reduce the risk of cardiovascular related diseases.
Supplementation of high dosages of both co-Q10 and ubiqinol (up to 300mg) have shown no negative effects, showing that it is non-toxic and very safe to consume.
Foods high in co-Q10 and ubiquinol
The only foods which are high in these nutrients are organ meats such as liver, kidneys and especially heart. 28 grams of heart will provide 2-3mg of c0-Q10, which is enough to have biological significance to the consumer.
Health Benefits of CoQ10 – Summary
Co-Q10 (ubiquinone) is a vital nutrient in the production of energy, which is of great importance to cardiac cells due to their high demand for energy. As a result of the production of energy co-Q10 is converted into ubiquinol, which is a powerful antioxidant capable of embedding in the cell membranes and preventing lipid oxidation – providing protection to the cell. After the age of 35 the body starts to lose the ability to produce these molecules, which can result in deficiency in some cells in the body, which is linked to cardiovascular diseases. Supplementation of co-Q10 is recognized as a beneficial method to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease either on its own, or alongside other treatments. Co-Q10 can be obtained through a diet high in organ meats, in particular heart.
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