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CoQ10 is not sold in the U.S. as a prescription drug, so no CoQ10 can technically be "pharmaceutical grade." There is no reason to pay more if you see this meaningless term. However, a manufacturer is allowed to claim that its CoQ10 meets the standard set by U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention (USP), which is the same standard applies in its testing of CoQ10 supplements for Approval (See CoQ10 Supplements Review for approval status by product).

Terms like "natural" or "live source" on a CoQ10 supplement label simply mean that it contains the natural form of CoQ10, as opposed to the synthetic form. You may also see the term "yeast fermentation" or "natural fermentation" on the label of supplements that contain the natural form. However, nearly all CoQ10 supplements contain the natural form because the fermentation process is actually much less expensive than the process used to create synthetic CoQ10. In fact, many products using the natural form don't even list the form. Again, you don't need to pay more if you see "natural" or "live source." You can read more about the natural and synthetic forms of CoQ10 here.

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April 5, 2016

I did not know that being "prescribable" (a prescription) was a requirement for "pharmaceutical grade." However, I understand that certain strict standards must be met in order for the manufacturer to add the term to the label. Will you please help me understand this conflict?
April 14, 2016

Hi Mary - The FDA has not defined what a pharmaceutical grade CoQ10 would be.

December 30, 2015

I was taking a CoQ10 last year and my doctor suggested stopping it since there was no evidence it would be helpful and no hard evidence to support using it. I am 81 on 20 atorvastatin.
December 31, 2015

Hi Ron - Some studies have found that CoQ10 may be helpful for reducing muscle pain associated with the use of statin drugs (; overall, however, the evidence that CoQ10 may help to reverse side-effects associated with statins has not been well-established. See the "What It Does" section of the CoQ10 Supplements Review for more information:

May 27, 2015

My question pertains to the source for any and all ingredients in ubiquinol or ubiquinone sold under the Kaneka name. The Fukushima nuclear meltdown continues dumping large amounts of radioactive waste into the environment. I personally don't want to pay to ingest anything that I know comes from japan for this reason. Does Consumer Lab have anything to offer it's subscribers regarding the source of the ingredients in the CoQ10 products that it reviews.
Thank you.
May 28, 2015

Hi Rory - Although originally produced in Japan, production of Kaneka CoQ10 is now in the U.S., according to the Kaneka website.

Edward A.1729
May 27, 2015

What about Ubiquinal vs. CoQ10?
May 27, 2015

Hi Edward - You can read more about CoQ10 vs. Ubiquinol here:

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