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Question: Can CoQ10 or ubiquinol be ruined by heat? I recently purchased several bottles of Qunol Plus from Costco.com and they arrived hot. The soft gels are not melted, but I am concerned.
Answer: We generally advise against purchasing supplements by mail during very hot weather, as high temperatures can damage probiotics, vitamins, and phytochemicals found in herbs.
Ubiquinol is naturally produced in the body, so it can certainly withstand temperatures in the high 90s Fahrenheit. Exposure to higher temperatures will hasten degradation, but the process takes time. For example, an experiment with CoQ10 (a compound similar to ubiquinol) found a loss of only 15% after two months of being exposed to a temperature of 131 Fahrenheit. However, the addition of antioxidants, such as ascorbic acid (vitamin C), could minimize the loss to less than 5% (Kommuru, Chem Pharm Bull, 1999). Ubiquinol and CoQ10 products generally include antioxidant ingredients.
At a temperature of over 140 degrees, the gelatin in softgels can melt and this heat can also damage ubiquinol and CoQ10. If a break occurred in the softgel shell, exposure to air would speed degradation of the ingredient due to oxidation.
Since your softgels didn't melt and it is likely that the product may only have been exposed to high heat for a period of hours or days during transport, there was probably little degradation of the ubiquinol and it should be potent. To extend its shelf-life, store it at room temperature and away from light if it is in a clear bottle.