As a molecule, CoQ10 can readily switched between its oxidised form (ubiquinone) and its reduced form (ubiquinol).
To transform conventional CoQ10 to ubiquinol, CoQ10 travels along a pathway in our cells called the electron transport chain. It must accept an electron from the chain to transform itself into ubiquinol. Thanks to this tiny chemical reaction, the electron-rich ubiquinol is then able to pass electrons to other parts of the chain.
However, while there is a difference, the terms CoQ10 and ubiquinol are often used interchangeably which can cause some confusion.
As a nutrient, CoQ10 occurs both naturally in the body as well as being found in many foods such as meat, fish and nuts as well as in smaller amounts in vegetables such as spinach, broccoli and avocado.
It is a nutrient that is required and found in every cell of the body, making it vital for providing energy to cells, helping organs perform at their best and protecting cells and blood from oxidation. As we age, our natural CoQ10 levels slowly decline, leaving us with less antioxidant protection.
CoQ10 or Ubiquinol?
Both CoQ10 and ubiquinol have similar actions in that they both:
- Act as antioxidants, reducing free radicals formed in the body
- Support energy production
- Support heart health and healthy cardiovascular system function; and
- Support sperm health and motility
Ubiquinol and absorption
The key difference between CoQ10 and ubiquinol is its capacity to be absorbed in the body.
When deciding if ubiquinol is the right form of CoQ10 for you, there’s a few important things to consider:
- The enzymes needed for the conversion of CoQ10 to ubiquinol naturally decline with age.
- The body’s ability to produce CoQ10 also decreases with age. From a peak at around 21 years of age, the CoQ10 levels in most adults will drop over time, lowering by as much as sixty-five percent by the age of 80.
- CoQ10 is a fat-soluble nutrient. Studies have shown that taking CoQ10 with food improves the intestinal absorption of CoQ10, making absorption up to four times faster.
- Ubiquinol is readily available in the converted form, helping with both conversion and making it more easily absorbed.
Given these details, it is generally recommended that ubiquinol is the preferred form of CoQ10 supplementation for individuals over the age of 40, or individuals with compromised digestive function, to get the most benefit from CoQ10.
Ubiquinol from Herbs of Gold
Kaneka, headquartered in Japan, is a world leader in the manufacture of ubiquinol using patented manufacturing technology backed by more than 10 years of research, development and testing. Kaneka Ubiquinol™ is considered the global premium ubiquinol ingredient.
 Fuke, C., Krikorian, S.A., Couris, R.R. (2000). Coenzyme Q10: a review of essential functions and clinical trials. US Pharmacist, 25(10), 28-41.
 Ochiai, A., Itagaki, S., Kurokawa, T., Kobayashi, M., Hirano, T., & Iseki, K. (2007). Improvement in intestinal coenzyme Q10 absorption by food intake. Yakugaku Zasshi, 127(8), 1251–1254.