Understanding CoQ10

Mar 09, 2022 Energy Heart Health Tips

Understanding CoQ10

If you visit the vitamin and supplement aisle in any drug or grocery store, you'll most likely find an entire space filled with CoQ10 products. When you search for "CoQ10" on the internet you'll get nearly seven million results. And if you read about nutrients for heart function support, CoQ10 is sure to be featured. There's no doubt about it: people are talking about CoQ10 benefits in a number of different spaces. Have you joined the conversation?

At Nature Made, we're engaged with the conversations people are having about CoQ10 supplements, and we've taken particular notice of 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 called 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.

If you want to know how this dietary supplement can help support heart health and function, along with cellular energy, you have come to the right place. In this blog, we will be discussing the importance of having normal ubiquinol levels and how a daily CoQ10 dietary supplement can help support your body in a number of ways.

Learn More: The Best Vitamins for Energy

What is CoQ10?

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a fat-soluble, vitamin-like compound produced naturally in your body. 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. As individuals age, CoQ10 levels tend to decrease. Plus, statin drugs may decrease circulating levels of coenzyme Q10 as well. While you may not be able to prevent this from happening, you can support your body with daily CoQ10 supplementation.

Learn More: The Best Vitamins for Women Over 50 & The Best Vitamins for Men Over 50

What's the difference between 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 and supports mitochondrial function. 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.† 

Should I take ubiquinone or ubiquinol as a CoQ10 supplement?

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. For example, if you take a Nature Made Ubiquinol CoQ10 supplement, the body can convert the CoQ10 (ubiquinol) to the oxidized CoQ10 (ubiquinone) and vice versa. (Ubiquinone is also known as Ubidecarenone.) This conversion takes place to maintain a state of equilibrium between reduced CoQ10 (ubiquinol) and oxidized CoQ10 (ubiquinone). Having a balanced state of these two nutrients may be able to help prevent oxidative stress on the cells in the body.

Which form of CoQ10 is more effective?

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. Whether you take ubiquinone or a ubiquinol supplement, make sure you are consistent to take advantage of its benefits. 

How much CoQ10 should I take?

Although no formal recommendations exist from professional organizations for CoQ10 supplementation, most physicians recommend 100-400 mg/day.

Many people take Coenzyme Q10 supplements for its role as an antioxidant to help fight oxidative damage.  If you have low CoQ10 levels due to statin medication or age or other factors, you may want to consider adding a coenzyme Q10 supplement to replenish this important nutrient and support mitochondrial function, heart function and cellular energy production. Talk to your doctor to find out the best dosage requirements for your unique situation.*

What should I consider when purchasing CoQ10?

Both CoQ10 forms-ubiquinone and ubiquinol-are important, effective and do great things for your body†

The body is extremely efficient 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†

Whether you are on statin drugs or just want to support cellular energy metabolism within your body, adding a coenzyme Q10 supplement to your daily routine can be very beneficial to your heart health.*

Learn More About Heart Health:

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*CoQ10 is not intended to serve as a replacement for statin drug therapy.

†These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Authors

Sandra Zagorin, MS, RD

Science and Health Educator

As a member of the Medical and Scientific Communications team, Sandra educates healthcare professionals and consumers on nutrition, supplements, and related health concerns. Prior to joining Pharmavite, Sandra worked as a clinical dietitian at University of Chicago Medicine in the inpatient and outpatient settings. Sandra received her Bachelor of Science degree in Nutritional Science, with minors in Spanish and Chemistry from the University of Arizona in Tucson, AZ. She earned her Master of Science degree in Clinical Nutrition from RUSH University in Chicago, IL. As part of her Master’s program, Sandra performed research on physical activity participation and correlates in urban Hispanic women.

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