Tuesday, November 11, 2008

How to Choose Between Different Forms of Coenzyme Q10: Ubiquinone vs. Ubiquinol

Coenzyme Q10 was first extracted from beef heart mitochondria. (Photo by Hamed Masoumi)

Do you know which form of coenzyme Q10 you are or should be taking? If not, read on.

If you've ever taken CoQ10 as a supplement (and if you haven't, see my previous blog posts here and here to see whether you should), you may have noticed that different names are used: sometimes the label says ubiquinone, other times it says ubiquinol. A lot of times it simply says coenzyme Q10, which can make things even more confusing.

So what is the difference between the three? Well, in actuality there are only two real choices: ubiquinone and ubiquinol. Both are forms of coenzyme Q10, which is a general term that encompasses both ubiquinone and ubiquinol (the name "ubiquinone" means "the ubiquitous quinone", by the way).

Ubiquinone is the oxidized form of CoQ10 and is the more common form of commercially available CoQ10. It has been around for ages, and if you've ever bought one of the cheaper CoQ10 supplements, it has most likely been in the oxidized form. If the label doesn't specifically mention which form of CoQ10 the product contains, it's very probably ubiquinone.

This is because ubiquinol, the reduced form of CoQ10, is relatively new and more expensive to produce - so when the supplement does contain ubiquinol, the manufacturer is quick to point it out in big letters. This form of CoQ10 is the antioxidant form which neutralizes free radicals and decreases cellular damage. Ubiquinone does not have this antioxidant effect.

Since the body converts ubiquinone into ubiquinol, there is an extra step involved, and not all of the ingested ubiquinone gets converted into ubiquinol. In healthy people, over 90% of the CoQ10 in the blood is in the form of ubiquinol, but as you get older, both the total level of coenzyme Q10 and the body's ability to turn it into ubiquinol decline.

Note that this doesn't mean that taking ubiquinone is ineffective; all it means is that taking ubiquinol is more effective. If you are in your twenties or thirties, your body can probably convert much of the ubiquinone into ubiquinol, which means that you can save money and get the cheaper form (then again, this also means that you probably don't need supplemental CoQ10 in the first place). If, on the other hand, you are over forty or concerned about your heart health, it may be worthwhile to go for the ubiquinol.

So how much ubiquinone is pure ubiquinol equal to? According to Kaneka, apparently the only manufacturer of ubiquinol, ubiquinol is up to six times as effective as ubiquinone in increasing blood levels of ubiquinol. So to get the same effect, you could take one sixth of the amount as ubiquinol compared to ubiquinone.

As I've mentioned, I've been taking 200 mg of CoQ10 - the ubiquinone form - for some months now to see whether it has a notable effect on, well, anything. I'm down to the last few softgels, and so far I haven't noticed any difference in things like energy level or exercise performance. As CoQ10, regardless of the form, is not one of the cheapest supplements, I don't think I'm going to order another batch just yet.
At this age (mid-twenties), my body should be able to convert the necessary ubiquinol from food. If I were approaching forty, however, I would compare the prices between ubiquinone and ubiquinol to see which one proves more cost-effective.

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37 kommenttia:

George September 29, 2009 at 6:39 PM  

Thanks for the post. Now if you are healthy then you probably will not notice a difference. However for me I have a 1 year old and work about 60 hours a week and it certainly does make a difference if I take Designs for Health ubiquinone. I think if I had adequate sleep and was a bit more in balance I wouldn't notice a difference either.

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Anonymous November 11, 2009 at 1:35 AM  

Ubiquinol is 6 times more effective at raising Q10 levels than dry-powder ubiquinone. As far as I know, there is no comparison available between both forms in softgel preparations. There is probably some advantage to taking ubiquinol but the question remains how much? The above kind of subterfuge doesn't exactly inspire confidence, in my mind at least.

Framistat January 5, 2010 at 7:43 PM  

I don't think there was any intended subterfuge Mr/Ms Anonymous, just a report for your observation. It wasn't presented as conclusive evidence of anything, chill out. If you want more facts spend your own money to experiment on yourself.

Ditty January 14, 2010 at 4:25 PM  

What are your thoughts on mega-dosing vitamin C (daily maintenance dose of 8-16g, but if sick up to 200g/day) with ubiquinone? If taking vitamin C in the optimal manner, which is in multiple doses throughout the day (providing a dynamic flow), I'd think it would provide the necessary electrons to quickly reduce the ubiquinone to ubiquinol. Wouldn't you agree? My thought would be that it might be cheaper to have people take ubiquinone with vit C than fork out the extra money for ubiquinol. I plan to try both methods on myself. I'll report back. Thanks for the information though. Great help.

Framistat January 27, 2010 at 4:23 AM  

I typically use 2000mg ascorbic acid daily, up to 3x that amount if sick. I buy it in powder form and add it to my health drink in the morning and evening.

I agree that would seem the economical way, but I'm no scientist

margaret rae May 23, 2010 at 1:07 PM  

to Framistat,how I hate that expression"chill out"!always sounds so childishMore mature speech please.

Framistat May 28, 2010 at 4:03 PM  

Margaret Rae,

One such as I could never hope to attain the maturity of one such as thou. Therefore, I must struggle on, using the common tongue, consorting with other commoners, for alas, I am not so nobly born, nor highly educated as thyself.

Please forgive my meanderings as the foolishness of one who has unwittingly stepped above his proper station in life.

Then chill, baby, chill...;-D>

Anonymous November 18, 2010 at 2:04 PM  

Isn't there two forms of Vitamin C?
A L-Ascorbic acid and a R-ascorbic acid. How do you know which one you are taking. Isn't one of these forms of vit C relatively useless to you compared to the other.?

majkinetor January 25, 2011 at 4:57 PM  

No, Vitamin C is L-Ascorbate Acid. R variant has no physiological role.

Anonymous March 3, 2011 at 5:33 AM  

Hey- great article. I am doing lots of resaerch on the topic. I suspect if you are 'healthy' I dont think you will have any noticeable benefits from taking it. However, I am 26 and have had pretty severe muscle weakness and energy shortage...I like to think, q10 supplement would be more appropriate for someone like me...hopefully. Otherwise, a very enlightening article. Chill out. just kidding.

Anonymous May 21, 2011 at 1:05 AM  

coq10- it seems the ubiquinon has the widest array of uses by the body as long as you've got the enzymes to break it down. ive herd liquid is best.

vitamin c: whole food vitamin c and one free of gmo's is the best and only form i'm aware of that has any value to the body.

what before how much seems to be key

thank you posters for the discussion

Anonymous May 21, 2011 at 5:24 PM  

Thank you for this. My husband suffers from chronic Lyme disease and take 600 mg/day of Ubiquinone. He feels it helps him maintain mobility. He's on a dozen other supplements as well (including Vit C) so Ubiquinol is out of the question financially. But we think it's helping.

Dr Albro November 11, 2011 at 5:40 PM  

Regarding the Vitamin C discourse on this blog: I agree about the information presented but wish to further it. Vitamins are present in nature as complexes, not isolates. It is true that the L-form of what we have grown accustomed to calling the "active" ingredient shows more activity than the D-form has. Nevertheless, other factors that are present with the "active ingredient" play a part in the effectiveness of the vitamin. Basically, vitamins are team players, not divas, although westernized medicine has cast them in this light. Get vitamin C with bioflavinoids. If you don't take them together, the vitamin C will salvage whatever kind of team it can put together from whatever reserves exist in your body. Thus, you begin thinking that you are repleting your vit C stores for a given therapeutic effort, for instance, but don't realize that it's at the expense of other nutrients.

Jeff November 13, 2011 at 10:22 PM  

re vitamin C: Pauling did the best-&-earliest research on this, from which point (published 1976) he took 10-18 grams a day until his death at 93 in 1994. His books & the Linus Pauling Institute are great resources. Taking d-alpha-tocopherol replenishes the C intake, allowing reuse within the body; repetitively synergistic.

Jeff November 13, 2011 at 10:25 PM  

Pauling's research initially published 1976 was the best; his Institute in Oregon is another great research. Pauling took 10-18 grams per day from about 1976 until his death at 93 in 1994. Taking d-alpha-tocopherol with C enables internal regeneration of the C after use, a repetitively synergistic process that greatly multiplies the effectiveness of both the E and C.

Dr. Albro November 29, 2011 at 10:45 PM  

True that, Jeff. However, Pauling was using ascorbic acid which we, the American public, have come to accept as vitamin C. I dare say that it's akin to looking at a Groucho Marx eye-glass/nose/mustache costume accessory and simply calling it Groucho Marx. We know, of course, that is only is a representation of Groucho, not the whole person. It's the same story with vitamins. You are correct, of course, in your assertion that vit. E (especially in the mixed tocopherol form) is synergistic with vit. C in restoring it's antioxidant status. They make a great team.

And, if Linus Pauling is to be mentioned, it probably is worth mentioning Norman Cousins; another guy who experienced and reported tremendous benefit from consuming mass quantities of ascorbic acid. However, he was also a huge proponent of laughter-therapy. Which one can really be credited with having cured his ankylosing spondylitis? Probably a little of both.

Mina December 2, 2011 at 12:26 PM  

I am 63 and have diet controlled diabetes. I can't live without this above all other supplements. I have no brain power at all without it and about 50% less energy. Two days back on it and my short term memory returns, my energy is back and I feel more even. Except for milk thistle and chromium, these are the 3 that I can't maintain my health without. I've tried. Now I realize, with my doctor's help that I can't do much without B12 either.

Ralph January 6, 2012 at 8:11 AM  

People on beta-blockers (atenolol/propranolol/metoprolol/etc) and/or statins (cholesterol-lowering agents) should probably all be on ubiquinol since the afore-mentioned drugs inhibit coQ10 in the body. some studies have shown that statin users taking coQ10 are less likely to develop muscle damage/leg cramps commonly seen with statins, especially at higher doses

Anonymous March 28, 2012 at 5:40 PM  

Nice article! I've been taking 200 mgs Co-Q 10 (ubiquinone) for a few years...am in my 50's and have always had periodontal problems. The co-Q has helped my gums immensely..of course, flossing many times each day and using my Sonicare also helps but my 3x's a year cleanings have gone SO much better; my dentist takes CoQ also. I have zero heart issues and am generally fit & healthy.

Bob April 4, 2012 at 8:10 PM  

Your information is remarkably incomplete about coQ10, and you've got a goofy attidude, in my opinion, based on your responses to two people. So. Here's your opportunity to say something snarky to a third person. Go for it, dude.

jondereach April 6, 2012 at 11:12 AM  

I'm very gratified to find your site. An intelligent young person self-experimenting and sharing his data.A breath of fresh air. I have done this since the mid-60's."Yr wasting yr money,Jon",was the commonest comment. I realized early that we were meant by evolution to start breeding as soon as menstruation and puberty was well underway and that the signs of aging that are ubiquitous in our species signaled the approaching end-through,hunger,disease or the tribe just being unable to care for us. All the advances that we have available are incredible.Mina is a good example. Some of the things-such as CoQ10 haven't been available for long-or I would have been taking them all along. I've found it's easier to avoid a degenerative process than to repair it. Ubiquinol is my choice as I assume that at my age absorbtion is much reduced. Great site!

Anonymous May 10, 2012 at 12:24 AM  

Do you have any evidence to back this claim up? This debate between ubiquinone and ubiquinol is a manufactured debate by the corporations that sell ubiquinol. Ubiquinone has become commoditized and the manufacturers want to be able to charge a premium so they develop ubiquinol and sell it at a premium. There is no good scientific evidence to back-up their claims that one is absorbed better than the other when comparing equivalent form-factors (liquid in soft-gel).

For more information check out this de-bunking site:

Anonymous July 14, 2012 at 8:48 PM  

I agree with the other posters,Framistat you do seem to have not just a chip on your shoulder 'chill out is so dismissive and makes you look smug & arrogant, as a result I dont give as much credence to your
'findings' as I might

Framistat July 20, 2012 at 12:11 AM  

Anon, you moron, the post is over two years old, and I don't need your validation. Chill you dope

Anonymous August 11, 2012 at 3:27 PM  

I know its an old post but I still found it informative. Thanx Famistat. I was looking up the 2 diiffrent CQ-10's and this helped. Now this 50 year old is going to chill. LOL.

Anonymous September 28, 2012 at 4:54 PM  

I have Parkinson's disease and take 1200 mg of standard coq10 a day to help suppress the symptoms. I heard of the 1 to 6 (ubiquinol to ubiquinone) conversion and tried an experiment: replace my dinner 600 mg dose of ubiquinone dose with 100 mg of ubiquinol and found it was not as strong as the larger dose. I only kept the experiment going for a week for the obvious reason but not that I have the ubiquinol I still use it supplemented with 400 mg of ubiquinone. My conclusion is to stay with the 1200 mg dose until a more precise conversion is available.

Anonymous December 3, 2012 at 8:34 AM  

There is no need to buy uber-expensive ubiquinol:


Here is another good paper that rebuts most marketing claims:


Lynnzilla February 8, 2013 at 5:48 AM  

Why the anger toward Framistat? He doesn't claim to be a doctor so no need to thrash him on that account, and he's not rude at all even though a couple of people were rude to him, so again, no thrashing deserved on that account either. (He handled the churls with far more kindness than I would have, and his way of doing so proved his intelligence and vocabulary far exceed the impression some got from his using the phrase "chill out.")

I just stumbled upon Mr. Framistat tonight and feel fortunate in having done so. I agree with the person who said how nice it was to find someone so young researching these sorts of things. The information Framistat gives was such that I grabbed pen and paper to jot down notes...also he mentioned a few other things aside from the Co Q10 which piqued my interest as well making me aware further research into them is needed, too. For instance, I thought vitamin C was vitamin C across the board and had no idea there were differences to be found concerning it.

To sum: have some gratitude when others share information with you when they're not in the least obligated to do so, and chill out why don't you?

Unknown March 20, 2013 at 4:21 AM  

The info below is copied from the following website verbatim:


Supports the fact that either is fine, body converts one to the other back and forth as needed. Read on:

Visit the vitamin aisle in any drug or grocery store, and there is most likely an entire space filled with CoQ10 products. Google “CoQ10” and nearly 7 million results appear. Read about nutrients for heart health and CoQ10 is sure to be featured. Without a doubt, people are talking about CoQ10 in a number of different spaces. Have you joined the conversation?

At Nature Made, we are always engaged with the conversations people are having about CoQ10, and have taken particular notice to 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, 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.

A Quick Review of CoQ10

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a fat-soluble nutrient produced naturally by our bodies. Found in 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.

Ubiquinone vs. 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 the cell 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.

CoQ10 Supplements

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. In other words, if you take a reduced CoQ10 supplement (ubiquinol), the body can convert the reduced 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).

The Bottom Line

Unquestionably, 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.

Next time you purchase CoQ10 keep the following points in mind:

• 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 a important supplement for your health

Anonymous March 31, 2013 at 7:29 PM  

Framistat - don't mind the haters! (I'm sure you don't.) Haters gonna hate... I appreciate that your empirical and researched information has a dash of personality in it. Too much commentary out there is generic and bureaucratic. The only attitude I have seen you reflect back at people was just that, a bit of mirror therapy. And it cracked me up. Thanks for taking the time to post and respond. Peace.

Anonymous March 31, 2013 at 7:31 PM  

Framistat - don't mind the haters! (I'm sure you don't.) Haters gonna hate... I appreciate that your empirical and researched information has a dash of personality in it. Too much commentary out there is generic and bureaucratic. The only attitude I have seen you reflect back at people was just that, a bit of mirror therapy. And it cracked me up. Thanks for taking the time to post and respond. Peace.

Anonymous April 14, 2013 at 4:29 AM  

The links you provided were basically advertisements for there brand of co-q10. You need to be careful where you read your info from.

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Anonymous July 30, 2013 at 11:13 AM  

ubiquinone vs ubiquinol

It is not easy just to isolate, which one is better.

Personally I think, it is more important and more precise to view case by case.
for example, Parkinson:
1200mg ubiquinone vs 2x100mg biquinol.

If you take 12x100mg ubiquinone
over different time intervals in a day, it will surely makes a difference than just 2x100mg ubiquinol.

For my high LDL cholesterol, I had taken 100mg ubiquinone and 100mg ubiquinol and found that ubiquinol works better for me. Yet again, I add on omega3 supplement to ubiquinol intake.

I hope , that by sharing different cases, one can share and gain more knowledge.

Anonymous December 5, 2015 at 9:00 PM  

I used to use this CoEnzyme Q10 cream, but recently I switched to the Made from Earth Vitamin Firming Serum and I am seeing amazing results. In addition to the CoQ10, it has all these other vitamins that my face is really responding well to. Getting alot of compliments at work lately !

Eddie O Grady April 8, 2016 at 2:46 PM  

Taking that amount of vitamin c is rediculous and there are no scientific studies to back up that dosage...its just going down the toilet...I think it's about 1000mg your body can store in the spleen I think and it can last 6 to 8 weeks if I can remember from my nutrition degree (have a degree in nutrition but don't work in that area so a bit rusty)...also worth noting studies have shown that while low levels of vitamin c work as antioxidant in body, with high levels it changes to a pro-oxidant which would not be good...best thing is a balanced diet...forget supplements in general...its a con...but I have to say I will be looking into coenzyme Q10 a bit more myself as there are a lot of positive studies and I'm not getting younger.

Anonymous May 27, 2016 at 7:03 PM  

i've found ubiquinone isn't as effective as ubiquinol, and it's most likely due to how it's produced no matter how well it's used.
however, if you really want more energy, then i suggest trying Astaxanthin as well.

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