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CoQ10 vs. Ubiquinol

Question:
What is the difference between CoQ10 and ubiquinol?
Reviewed and edited by Tod Cooperman, M.D. Tod Cooperman, M.D.
Initial Posting: 8/5/2013    Last Update: 8/8/2017
The Difference Between CoQ10 and Ubiquinol -- CoQ10 Supplement
Answer:
Only after you take CoQ10 (ubiquinone) does your body convert it to the active form, ubiquinol. Taking 100 mg of ubiquinol (sometimes labeled as CoQH-10 or CoQH2-10) compared to 100 mg of CoQ10, may yield a bit more active compound in your body. In short, you may be able to take a little less ubiquinol than CoQ10 to get the same result. 

However, more important than whether you take CoQ10 or ubiquinol is that fact that both are fat-soluble compounds, so to significantly improve their absorption, it is important to take them with a fatty meal or in a formula that includes solubility enhancers. 

More information about CoQ10 and ubiquinol and their solubility-enhanced formulas is found in the CoQ10 and Ubiquinol Supplements Review, which includes our test results and quality ratings of dozens of products, as well as ingredient and price comparisons. See the CoQ10 and Ubiquinol Supplements Review now >>

 

How to Choose and Use CoQ10 and Ubiquinol with Dr. Tod Cooperman 



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COMMENTS

Randy18646   November 15, 2019
In the product description / advertisement for Healthy Origins Natural Ubiquinol - on their Amazon sales page - it says that, "Starting around age 30, your body has a harder time turning Ubiquinone into Ubiquinol, and the entire process becomes less efficient. That is why so many older adults are now taking the more advanced Ubiquinol form of CoQ10."

My question is: If older people have a harder time turning ubiquinone into ubiquinol, then should they be taking ubiquinol instead of regular CoQ10?

I think this is a very important question for older people to know the answer to -- especially for those people with heart failure that are taking CoQ10 for their condition. My mother is 74 yrs old and has heart failure and I would like to recommend to her that she take CoQ10. However, in light of the info from the Healthy Origins sales page, wouldn't it be more wise for her to take a ubiquinol product instead of a regular CoQ10 product?


ConsumerLab.com   December 16, 2019
Hi Randy - Yes, ubiquinol may be a better choice for people age 60 and older. Please see the "ConsumerTips" (https://www.consumerlab.com/reviews/CoQ10-Ubiquinol-Supplements-Review/CoQ10/#converting) and "What It Is" (https://www.consumerlab.com/reviews/CoQ10-Ubiquinol-Supplements-Review/CoQ10/#age) sections of the CoQ10 and Ubiquinol Supplements Review more information. Also see this related CL Answer: https://www.consumerlab.com/answers/do-coq10-levels-really-decrease-with-age/CoQ10-age/

Bart17483   January 22, 2019
I just read an article stating ubiquinol was unstable an ineffective, is there any studies showing it's effectiveness? Bert.

ConsumerLab.com   January 22, 2019
Although ubiquinol (the active form of CoQ10) is inherently unstable, it can be formulated to be stable as a supplement, typically within a softgel. There are definitely studies showing that it is absorbed and can raise levels of ubiquinol in the body better than an equal amount of CoQ10. Clinical studies have been mixed in terms of showing ubiquinol to be effective, but the same can be said for CoQ10, such that the efficacy these compounds likely depends more on the given use than on the form. See the "What It Does" section of the CoQ10 and Ubiquinol Supplements Review for more information at https://www.consumerlab.com/reviews/CoQ10-Ubiquinol-Supplements-Review/CoQ10/#whatitdoes

Lynn16306   December 27, 2017
For a long time, I took 100 mgs of Ubiquinol CoQ10 and I still had low levels when I had my blood tested. These supplements are just too expensive to take more than 100 mgs so I resorted to the cheap 300mgs CoQ10 from Costco. For the first time, I had higher than normal levels of CoQ10. Ubiquinol, for me, was a waste of money.

Robert15223   June 28, 2017
I gave plain old uniquinone with no absorption enhancer to adults between 55 and 70 years old (unpublished study). I told them to take it with a meal that had at least 170 Calories from fat. After 9 days, plasma levels of CoQ10 increased substantially. I did not compare to any of the established enhanced CoQ10 products. However, the plasma values I got looked fairly close to what people report with the "super" CoQ10 products.

Dr Robert DiSilvestro, Ph.D.Biochemstry

Steven15229   June 28, 2017
What brand was it? jarrow sells powdered CoQ10 caps at a good price
Right now I'm taking Healthy Origins CoQ10 200 Mg. Was taking 100 Mg. before but the 200Mg. gives me more energy

I've tried Ubiquinol but for some reason it makes me feel strange

Jack272   November 24, 2014
What I wonder about is the quantity of CoQ10 to be taking and when. Most of the supplements in your review are 100 mg with recommendations of 1 to 3 a day. With the Costco 300 mg being "the most bang for the buck," I'm wondering if that's the "best" way for an 80 year old man to go. Are there any significant trade-offs between taking 100 mg 3 times a day versus the 300 mg once a day, so long as it's taken after a meal that includes a reasonable amount of fat?

ConsumerLab.com   November 28, 2014
Hi Jack - Interesting question! We've now answered it here: https://www.consumerlab.com/answers//coq10_dose_how_to_take/

mary16899   June 17, 2018
I would like to know if anyone has had severe lower abdomen pain with Swanson's Ubiquitol 200mg. Thank you.

ConsumerLab.com   July 16, 2018
Hi Mary - CoQ10 can cause gastrointestinal symptoms in some people, as noted in the "Concerns and Cautions" section of the CoQ10 and Ubiquinol Supplements Review (https://www.consumerlab.com/reviews/CoQ10-Ubiquinol-Supplements-Review/CoQ10/#cautions). However, if your pain is severe or persists, please consult with your physician.

mary16963   July 16, 2018
After switching from COQ10 to Ubiquinol, several weeks later I was having such lower abdomenal pain, it would take my breath away. This lasted everyday for several days, so the doctor sent me for diagnostic imaging and they found everything to be in good shape. It finally dawned on me that it could be the Ubiquinol, so I stopped it and within two days I was feeling so much better and having no pain. Feeling great now and went back to COQ10. Hope this helps you know that you are not alone.

Gerald18501   October 13, 2019
Not long ago I asked my cardiologist (top man at a large med school hospital) about the supposed merits of taking COQ10. His reply was "don't bother - based on well-regulated studies to date, it's a complete waste of money".

Randy18638   November 13, 2019
Gerald,

You said, in regards to taking CoQ10, your cardiologist commented to you: "Don't bother - based on well-regulated studies to date, it;s a complete waste of money."

The fact is, what he said is just not true. At the following website ( https://www.easy-immune-health.com/coq10-for-heart-failure.html ), here is the first paragraph:

"With CoQ10 for Heart Failure study after study shows that the use of this commonly available fat-soluble antioxidant may show 'Extraordinary Clinical Improvement' for even the sickest patients by repairing the Cause of Congestive Heart Failure.."

Also, at the mayoclinic,org website, they said this:

"CoQ10 has been shown to improve symptoms of congestive heart failure."

And, finally, at this website ( https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2276894 ), they said this in regards to a study about CoQ10:

"During 1982-86, 43/137 patients with cardiomyopathy, Classes II, III and IV, had ejection fractions (EF) below 40%, and a mean EF of 25.1 +/- 10.3%. During treatment of these 43 patients with coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), EF increased to 41.6 +/- 14.3% (p less than 0.001) over a mean period of 3 months (range, 2-4 months). At four subsequent periods up to 36 months. EF ranged from 43.1 +/- 13.3 to 49.7 +/- 6.4% (each period, p less than 0.001). The mean CoQ10 control blood level was 0.85 +/- 0.26 micrograms/ml which increased on treatment to 1.7 to 2.3 micrograms/ml for five periods up to 36 months (each period, p less than 0.001). The survival rates for all 137 patients treated with CoQ10 and for the 43 patients with EF below 40% were both about 75%/46 months. These two survival rates were comparable between 24 and 46 months, which is of extraordinary significance and importance when compared to survival of about 25%/36 months for 182 patients with EF below 46% on conventional therapy without CoQ10. The improved cardiac function and pronounced increase of survival show that therapy with CoQ10 is remarkably beneficial due to correction of CoQ10 deficiency in mechanisms of bioenergetics."

I'm sure I could find more evidence and studies of the benefits of CoQ10 if I took the time, but the point is your cardiologist should do the research on CoQ10 (as I did) before declaring that "it's a complete waste of money."


ConsumerLab.com   November 13, 2019
Just to clarify, the information you cite above relates to the use of CoQ10 in people with congestive heart failure, where the evidence is compelling. The evidence is more mixed for other uses.


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This CL Answer initially posted on 8/5/2013. Last updated 8/8/2017.
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