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CoQ10: The Marketing Wars Continue

Written by Wellness Club on April 21, 2015 – 11:40 am -

By Nurse Mark


Coenzyme Q10 is a nutrient vital to the energy processes of all our cells. It is also known as ubiquinone, ubidecarenone, and coenzyme Q, and is commonly abbreviated as CoQ10.

CoQ10 is one of the more popular supplements and there is a lot of confusion about just what it is and what is the best form of CoQ10.

We have written often about CoQ10, and I encourage you to review those articles to get ‘up to speed’ on the ins and outs of CoQ10:

Ubiquinone, Ubiquinol, CoQ10: What’s Real, What’s Not.

Ubiquinone (CoQ10) versus Ubiquinol: Which Is Better?

This Supplement Slashes Cardiac Death Risk By Half

Here is a recent question sent in to us by a reader:

There are SO many CoQ-10 products out there. I would like to hear your take on Qunol. Specifically the liquid, pharmaceutical Grade Ubiquinone. I’d also like to hear your (hopefully slams) on Ubidecarenone which I’m told is a synthetic form.

Many supplement sellers take advantage of all the confusion in order to hype their own particular brand of CoQ10 over everyone else’s. A page taken directly from the Big Pharma playbook – you know the ads; “Fall asleep faster with liquid Druginex!” or “Headmax is better for headaches – it’s gelcap formulation goes to work on pain right away!” There seems to be always some new wrinkle that makes drugs better, faster, stronger – and makes for bigger sales.

So it is with CoQ10. Micronized, water soluble, liquid microspheres, softgels, nanoparticles, chewables, capsules, you-name-it, it has all been hyped as “the Best!”

Others like to tout their product as “pharmaceutical grade.” Just what the heck is “pharmaceutical grade,” anyway? Is that like “professional strength” or “contractor quality” or “heavy duty” or “trusted by doctors”? Let’s put it this way – it had better be “pharmaceutical grade” if I am going to take it or if The Wellness Club is going to sell it – we have a Quality Control Audit process that makes our suppliers cringe!

Then there are the three forms of CoQ10: fully oxidized (ubiquinone,) partly reduced (semiquinone or ubisemiquinone,) and fully reduced (ubiquinol.) Confused yet? You are not alone – and there are sellers of each of these forms that will gladly tell you that their form is the very best.

What they don’t tell you is that your body happily cycles CoQ10 through all of these forms, over and over again as it uses each form for it’s specific purposes.

And then, to add more confusion, there is a synthetic analog of CoQ10 called Idebenone – that is claimed to have far better absorbability from the gut. That much is true – unfortunately it also undergoes significant “first-pass” metabolism in the liver, and research has shown that 1% or less actually reaches the circulation. Oops… But don’t dismiss it entirely, there is research underway for it’s use in some specific medical conditions, it is thought to be effective as a part of an anti-aging program, and it is used topically for wrinkles.

And Qunol? This is a brand name for a “solubilized” form of CoQ10. The company claims that it is both water and lipid soluble, and is better than all other forms of CoQ10 – a tall claim indeed. Is it really better, or is this just another sales wrinkle? Who knows – they aren’t offering any scientific evidence to back up their claim to being “the gold standard”…

So there you have it – the marketing wars rage on for CoQ10, with each seller vying for a larger share of “the market.” How to pick the best? Do your homework, and be careful to not fall for marketing hype – if it sounds too good to be true it probably is. And remember, when it comes to CoQ10, price is often a good indicator of quality and purity and potency – shop carefully and avoid the “bargain brands.” A “bargain” that doesn’t work is no bargain at all – it is a waste of money!

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