Ubiquinone (CoQ10) versus Ubiquinol: Which Is Better?
by Dr. Myatt
Ann wrote Nurse Mark recently to ask:
A friend asked if the body can process coq10 or do we need to get the ubiquinol instead? I could not really find an answer.
Most everyone has heard of CoQ10, an important antioxidant produced by the body. CoQ10 benefits everything from the heart function, high blood pressure, the immune and neurological systems to athletic performance and male fertility. It is surely one of the most important antioxidants in the body and levels decline with age. (What doesn’t?! ;-)). Learn about the many crucial functions and benefits of CoQ10, and if you would benefit from taking supplemental CoQ10, here CoQ10: Super-Energizer and Potent Antioxidant.
Ubiquinone and ubiquinol exist together in the body; the body converts ubiquinone into ubiquinol.
Current marketing strategies promote the idea that the ubiquinol form of CoQ10 is much more absorbable and therefore preferable, which is what Ann’s question is about.
Here’s the scoop.
CoQ10 as ubiquinone is the “old” form of CoQ10 (by “old” I mean the form that has been commercially available for a long time). The ubiquinol form is “new” in the commercial sense, and the form touted as being much more absorbable.
The “old” CoQ10 (ubiquinone) is quite absorbable, especially when taken with food. There is evidence that oil-based forms might have some additional absorption advantage over powdered forms.[1-3]
There have been literally hundreds of human studies on CoQ10 in it’s ubiquinone form — the “old” form — but literally only a couple of studies on the ubiquinol form in humans. Check out our descriptive page about CoQ10 and you’ll see dozens of references. All of those references refer to the “old” form of CoQ10, the form that 99% of all studies have used.
One study cited by everyone selling the “new” form showed improvement in heart patients (4). However, it was not a comparative study looking at ubiquinol versus ubiquinone. So the “new” stuff worked in one heart study and I can’t find any other human studies. The “old” stuff has been proven in dozens of human heart studies, it works amazingly well and is quite safe. (5-18, to list only a few of the many studies)
Studies showing the effectiveness of CoQ10 in heart disease, arrhythmia, congestive heart failure, Parkinson’s, AIDS, cancer, migraine, muscular dystrophy, fatigue and chronic fatigue, male infertility and other conditions have been done using the “old” form of CoQ10. This is the form that we KNOW works. The safety and efficacy of ubiquinone has been well-established; the safety and efficacy of the “new” ubiquinol form is largely unstudied.
Remember that people selling supplements are always on the lookout for a marketing angle — as in “my CoQ10 is better than your CoQ10.” It’s about trying to sell supplements in a competitive market. Marketers look for a “new and improved” or “more bioavailable” angle because it sounds important and helps sell product. Sometimes these claims are true, but many times they are just marketing hype.
When the body of evidence shows that the “new” ubiquinol form of CoQ10 works better and is just as safe as the older form, I’ll switch. Until then, I’m sticking with the well-proven “older” form of CoQ10 known as ubiquinone, and that is what we continue to recommend and offer here at The Wellness Club.
1.) Bhagavan HN, Chopra RK. Plasma coenzyme Q10 response to oral ingestion of coenzyme Q10 formulations. Mitochondrion. 2007 Jun;7 Suppl:S78-88. Epub 2007 Mar 27.
2.) Chopra RK, Goldman R, Sinatra ST, Bhagavan HN. Relative bioavailability of coenzyme Q10 formulations in human subjects. Int J Vitam Nutr Res 1998;68:109–13.
3.) Weiss M, Mortensen SA, Rassig MR, et al. Bioavailability of four oral coenzyme Q10 formulations in healthy volunteers. Molec Aspects Med 1994;15:273–80.
4.) Langsjoen PH, Langsjoen AM. Supplemental ubiquinol in patients with advanced congestive heart failure. BioFactors. December 2008;32:119-128.
5.) Kumar A, Kaur H, Devi P, Mohan V. Role of Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) in Cardiac disease, Hypertension and Meniere- like syndrome. Pharmacol Ther. 2009 Jul 25. [Epub ahead of print]
6.) Langsjoen PH, Folkers K, Lyson K, Muratsu K, Lyson T, Langsjoen P. Pronounced increase of survival of patients with cardiomyopathy when treated with coenzyme Q10 and conventional therapy. Int J Tissue React. 1990;12(3):163-8.
7.) Langsjoen PH, Folkers K, Lyson K, Muratsu K, Lyson T, Langsjoen P. Effective and safe therapy with coenzyme Q10 for cardiomyopathy. Klin Wochenschr. 1988 Jul 1;66(13):583-90.
8.) Langsjoen P, Langsjoen A, Willis R, and Folkers K. The Aging Heart: Reversal of Diastolic Dysfunction Through the Use of Oral CoQ10 in the Elderly. Anti-Aging Medical Therapeutics. Klatz RM and Goldman R (eds.). Health Quest Publications. 1997;113-120.
9.) Langsjoen PH, Langsjoen A, Willis R, Folkers K. Treatment of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy with coenzyme Q10. Mol Aspects Med. 1997;18(S):s145-s151.
10.) Langsjoen PH, Vadhanavikit S, Folkers K. Response of patients in classes III and IV of cardiomyopathy to therapy in a blind and crossover trial with coenzyme Q10. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1985 Jun;82(12):4240-4
11.) Mabuchi H, Higashikata T, Kawashiri M, Katsuda S, Mizuno M, Nohara A, Inazu A, Koizumi J, Kobayashi J. Reduction of serum ubiquinol-10 and ubiquinone-10 levels by atorvastatin in hypercholesterolemic patients. Journal of Atheroscler Thromb. 2005;12(2):111-9.
12.) Molyneux SL, Florkowski CM, George PM, Pilbrow AP, Frampton CM, Lever M, Richards AM. Coenzyme Q10: an independent predictor of mortality in chronic heart failure. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2008 Oct 28;52(18):1435-41.
13.) Mortensen S.A., Vadhanavikit S., Muratsu K., Folkers K. (1990) Coenzyme Q10: Clinical benefits with biochemical correlates suggesting a scientific breakthrough in the management of chronic heart failure. In: Int. J. Tissue React., Vol. 12 (3), pp 155-162.
14.) Rosenfeldt F, Hilton D, Pepe S, Krum H. Systematic review of effect of coenzyme Q10 in physical exercise, hypertension, and heart failure. Biofactors. 2003;18(1-4):91-100.
15.) Silver MA, Langsjoen PH, Szabo S, Patil H, Zelinger A. Effect of atorvastatin on left ventricular diastolic function and ability of coenzyme Q10 to reverse that dysfunction. Am J Cardiol. 2004 Nov 15;94(10):1306-10.
16.) Singh RB; Wander GS et al Randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled trial of coenzyme Q10 in patients with acute myocardial infarction. Cardiovasc Drugs Ther, 12(4):347-53 1998 Sep.
17.) Singh RB; Wander GS et al Cardiovasc Drugs Ther, 12(4):347-53 1998 Sep.
18.) Weant KA, Smith KM. The role of coenzyme Q10 in heart failure. Ann Pharmacother. 2005;39(9):1522-6.
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