CoQ10, Ubiquinol, Ubiquinone: What’s the Evidence?
This is the second article in my “What’s the Evidence?” series. To read the previous article, click here.
There’s a lot of debate on the internet about CoQ10. CoQ10 exists in two forms : ubiquinone and ubiquinol. Some call ubiquinol the “active” form of CoQ10. Most CoQ10 supplements are made from the ubiquinone form. However, more and more ubiquinol products are coming onto the market.
But let’s backtrack a little. What is CoQ10 anyways? It’s a chemical in the body with many different important functions. It’s part of many chemical reactions in the body and it acts as an antioxidant. Our body naturally makes it from several different vitamins and minerals. There are small amounts of it in foods but not enough to get to the therapeutic doses that are in supplements.
So what’s the debate about? Many articles online argue that ubiquinol is better than ubiquinone. Some believe this is because it’s absorbed into the body better. Let’s go over the evidence to see what science has to say about this topic.
There are human studies showing that the body absorbs ubiquinol better than ubiquinone. However, there are also studies showing that both forms are absorbed equally well. Also, the body is capable of turning one form into the other and it does this all the time. More research in this area will help us figure out if there is indeed a difference in absorption between the two.
But what about treating specific health conditions? If ubiquinol is absorbed better, is it also better at treating disease? It’s difficult to find strong studies that compare the two forms in this way.
There is research showing that ubiquinol is useful for: improving energy and reducing fatigue, improving cognitive function, improving factors associated with male fertility, regulating blood sugar and so on. However, there is far more research on ubiquinone helping with these and many other conditions. Ubiquinone has been researched more so we know more about it.
I would not be surprised if future research shows that ubiquinol is absorbed better than ubiquinone. However, for now I feel more confident using ubiquinone. It has been studied much more for treating many different conditions. Ubiquinol is also a good deal more expensive than ubiquinone. For me, there is not enough research to justify paying the extra cost for it. Perhaps if ubiquinone has not been working despite taking it at the right dose for the right amount of time, it may be worth trying ubiquinol.
Dr. Samantha Dass is currently a naturopathic doctor working at Holland Landing Health Centre in East Gwillimbury, Ontario, which services Holland Landing, Newmarket, Aurora, Keswick and Bradford areas. If you are interested in naturopathic services please contact Holland Landing Health Centre at 905-853-7900 or via e-mail at [email protected].