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 always engaged with the conversations people are having about CoQ10, 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.


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.


What’s the difference between ubiquinone and 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.


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. This conversion takes place to maintain a state of equilibrium between reduced CoQ10 (ubiquinol) and oxidized CoQ10 (ubiquinone).


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.


How much CoQ10 should I take?
Although no formal recommendations exist from professional organizations for CoQ10 supplementation, most physicians recommend 100-400 mg/day.


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 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