Understanding CoQ10: Ubiquinone vs. Ubiquinol

Visit the vitamin and supplement aisle in any drug or grocery store, and there is most likely an entire space filled with CoQ10 products. Google “CoQ10” and nearly 7 million results appear. Read about nutrients for heart function support and CoQ10 is sure to be featured. Without a doubt, people are talking about CoQ10 in a number of different spaces. Have you joined the conversation?

At Nature Made, we are always engaged with the conversations people are having about CoQ10, and have taken particular notice to one that is causing quite a bit of confusion: the ubiquinone vs. ubiquinol debate. Recently, some people have been describing ubiquinone—the form of CoQ10 that has been available for years—as inferior now that a new form, ubiquinol, has emerged. We’ve seen a lot of conflicting and misleading information on this debate and hope to shed a little light on the real story.

A Quick Review of CoQ10

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a fat-soluble, vitamin-like compound produced naturally by our bodies. Found in nearly every cell in the body, CoQ10 is concentrated in organs that require the most energy — such as the heart, liver, muscles and kidneys. CoQ10 is concentrated in these organs because it is essential to the process of producing cellular energy from the food you eat.

Ubiquinone vs. Ubiquinol

In the body, CoQ10 exists either in its oxidized form, ubiquinone, or in its reduced form, ubiquinol. When oxidized CoQ10 (ubiquinone) is used by the body, it transforms and becomes ubiquinol. In the same way, reduced CoQ10 (ubiquinol) becomes ubiquinone when it carries out its role in the body.

To better understand how this works, let’s take a look at CoQ10 and cellular energy production. CoQ10 is found inside the powerhouses of cells called the mitochondria, the site where energy production occurs. It acts as an electron acceptor or donor in the chain of reactions that lead to energy production. When oxidized CoQ10 (ubiquinone) accepts an electron from another molecule in the chain, it becomes reduced (ubiquinol) and when reduced CoQ10 (ubiquinol) donates an electron, it becomes oxidized (ubiquinone). Maintaining this state of equilibrium is how the body benefits from CoQ10.

CoQ10 Supplements

Regardless of what form of CoQ10 you take as a supplement, the body is able to convert the consumed form to the other form as needed. In other words, if you take a reduced CoQ10 supplement (ubiquinol), the body can convert the reduced CoQ10 (ubiquinol) to the oxidized CoQ10 (ubiquinone) and vice versa. This conversion takes place to maintain a state of equilibrium between reduced CoQ10 (ubiquinol) and oxidized CoQ10 (ubiquinone).

The Bottom Line

Unquestionably, both forms—ubiquinone and ubiquinol—are effective and essential to important pathways in the body, and in states of need, either form can be reduced or oxidized to form the other.

Next time you purchase CoQ10 keep the following points in mind:

• Both CoQ10 forms—ubiquinone and ubiquinol—are important, effective and do great things for your body
• The body is extremely intelligent and is capable of turning one form of CoQ10 into the other as needed
• Feel great that you are choosing such an important supplement for your health