Ubiquinol CoQ10: Why We Need This Ubiquitous Compound for Cellular Energy, Heart Health, and Cognition
It’s no secret that our cells need energy to do their jobs. From the seemingly basic, like keeping hearts beating and lungs breathing, to the advanced, like running a marathon or developing the theory of relativity, cells require energy in the form of ATP. Although many compounds are involved in this process, a necessary one is coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10).
Maintaining the activity of CoQ10 is vital for life as we know it—in addition to providing cellular energy, CoQ10 supports healthy heart, cognitive, and immune function. However, aging, chronic illness, vitamin B6 deficiency, or the use of statin drugs can deplete the body’s ability to produce CoQ10 and convert it into its active form, ubiquinol (so named due to its ubiquitous nature in the body). As CoQ10 levels have been shown to peak at age 25 and gradually decline thereafter, supplementing with the active form of CoQ10 in our 40s and beyond can help maintain the compound’s levels and activity to support healthy aging and cellular function.
A Look at Coenzyme Q10
As its full name (Coenzyme Q10) suggests, this compound is a coenzyme—a “helper” molecule that activates and assists other enzymes with functioning correctly. CoQ10 is an essential compound made in the mitochondrial membrane, playing a crucial role in the electron transport chain—the fundamental way we produce energy in the form of ATP.
CoQ10 also provides potent antioxidant activity—this is a leading reason why the compound benefits heart and brain health, as it protects cardiovascular and neural cells from oxidative damage from a buildup of free radicals and reactive oxygen species. CoQ10 also supports healthier inflammatory pathways and supplies the heart and brain with some of their significant energetic needs. In a recent study, a decline in cognitive capacity and executive functioning—the higher-level cognitive skills involving working memory and mental flexibility—was associated with lower CoQ10 levels in older adults.
While we often make enough CoQ10 when we’re young and healthy, CoQ10 concentrations steadily decline with age, taking energy production and cell damage mitigation down along with it.
Although CoQ10 is found in several foods, including organ meats, poultry, fish, nuts, and some vegetables, you’d have to eat a whole lot of each to reach supplemental doses (typically about 50-100mg). For example, a food-based dose of 50mg of CoQ10 would require eating an unreasonable amount of 60oz of steak or 30 avocados. Therefore, supplemental CoQ10—in the form of ubiquinol—is the easier route.
CoQ10, Ubiquinol, and Ubiquinone: What’s the Difference?
Now that we’ve mentioned CoQ10 and ubiquinol, you may be wondering—is there a difference between these two compounds? Well, there are actually three similar compounds: CoQ10, ubiquinol, and ubiquinone.
The latter two are different forms of CoQ10—and both are needed at different times for efficient ATP production. Ubiquinone is the oxidized form, while ubiquinol is the reduced form—essentially two states of electron transfer. In the previously mentioned electron transport chain that makes energy, ubiquinone gives up electrons (and is, therefore, ready to accept new ones), and ubiquinol gains electrons and can donate them.
Why Choosing Ubiquinol CoQ10 Is Best
Chemistry lesson aside, ubiquinol is considered the active form of CoQ10 because it’s the form that’s utilized by the body and does not need any additional conversion. Both forms are present in the body, and we can convert the two back and forth as needed. But, ubiquinone requires conversion into ubiquinol before performing its energy-making functions.
Plus, ubiquinol accounts for 90% of the CoQ10 in our blood and is much more prevalent. Ubiquinol has shown superior absorption compared to ubiquinone and may maintain blood levels of CoQ10 over a more extended period. Supplements like the Ubiquinol CoQ-10 use ubiquinol from Kaneka, a Japanese company that’s been researching CoQ10 and its varieties for over 30 years, providing exceptional stabilization technologies to increase absorption further.
If you’re in your 40s and beyond, your natural CoQ10 production has likely dropped—and adding ubiquinol CoQ10 is one way to support energy production and healthier aging as a whole.
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