Ubiquinone or ubiquinol - does it really matter?

Today almost all Q10 documentation has been done using the oxidized form of Q10, called ubiquinone. This is the only form of Q10 that has documented good absorption and 25 years of safety data and a long list of human studies.

Coenzyme Q10 goes by many names:

Oxidized coenzyme Q10:

Ubiquinone -- Ubiqinone -- Ubidecarenone -- Myoquinone -- Myoqinon -- Bio-Qinone -- Normal Q10 -- Oxidized Q10-- The original Q10 -- Q -- QX -- CoQ -- CoQ10 -- 2,3-dimethoxy-5-methyl-6-decaprenyl-1,4-benzoquinon (clear yellowish color)

Some typical misspellings:

Mioquinon -- Mioqinone -- Myoqinone

Reduced coenzyme Q10:

Ubiquinol -- Ubiqinol -- Uniqinol -- BioActive Q10 -- Reduced Q10 -- QH -- QH2 -- CoQH -- Dihydroquinone -- 2,3-dimethoxy-5-methyl-6-poly prenyl-1,4-benzoquinol (introduced 2006, milky-white color)


Normal Q10 is called ubiquinone. This is the only kind that has been available as a supplement since the first Q10 preparations were introduced in Europe shortly after 1990. Globally, ubiquinone has also been the only form of Q10 whose effect has been documented in scientific studies right up until the introduction of the reduced form of Q10 (ubiquinol) in 2006.  Since 2006, there has not been much, if any, noteworthy scientific evidence on ubiquinol. In other words: Almost all documentation on the prevention and treatment of Q10 deficiency has been performed with ubiquinone, and this research includes studies involving the use of Bio-Quinone. Ubiquinol, on the other hand, is still just a theoretical supposition with no studies that can be compared with, for example, the rigor and the power of the Q-symbio study.

At the molecular level, the difference between ubiquinone (normal / oxidized Q10) and ubiquinol (reduced Q10) is not great, but the difference is significant. Ubiquinol has two extra hydrogen molecules, and, in conjunction with oxygen, it forms a so-called hydroxyl group on the "head" of the Q10 molecule, which is itself a quinone ring.

Ubiquinone and ubiquinol equally biologically active

As shown by the following, there is absolutely no reason to think of oxidized Q10 as something inferior, inactive, or less effective. Both forms of Q10 are needed in the body, and the Q10 molecules are constantly changing from one form to the other. However, the two forms of Q10 have quite different roles in the body.

To simplify matters: The oxidized ubiquinone is needed to produce energy in the form of ATP, and the reduced ubiquinol functions as an antioxidant. What this means is that the reduced Q10 delivers electrons whereas the oxidized Q10 receives electrons, which is why we say that one form is no better than the other. Furthermore, the  Q10 from our diet comes in the form of oxidized Q10. The Q10 that we produce in the liver is also oxidized Q10, whereas 90-95% of Q10 in the blood is in the form of reduced Q10. Q10 is absorbed in the intestine along with fat. It is then slowly transported with the lymphatic vessels to the blood. Already during passage through the intestinal wall, oxidized Q10 changes to reduced Q10. Logically, there is no good reason to choose a product containing reduced (ubiquinol) as the body will automatically convert oxidized (ubiquinone) to reduced (ubiquinol). In the cells' mitochondria, the two forms constantly switch from one form to the other many times per second - that is, from the oxidized form to the reduced form and back again. A Q10 product's ability to be absorbed from the intestine is one of its most important aspects. Ubiquinone of good quality has been found to be absorbed as well as ubiquinol. Thus, in the normal course of events, there is abolutely no reason to spend extra money on buying ubiquinol instead of ubiquinone.

Women who jumps

Oxidized ubiquinone is automatically changed to reduced ubiqinol already as it passes the intestinal wall.


Doctor Sinatra's Q10 test

The American cardiologist and nutritionist Dr. Stephen Sinatra is a pioneer in the prevention and treatment of heart disease with Q10. In a study with 12 volunteers, he has shown that ubiquinone of good quality is just as good as ubiquinol, which has been marketed as active Q10.

Q10 as ubiquinol is claimed to be much more absorbable than ubiquinone since, according to the claim, it does not need to be reduced. Some even claim that the absorption of ubiquinol is up to eight times better than ubiquinone, which is completely unsubstantiated. However, ubiquinol is a lot more expensive than ubiquinone, and Dr. Sinatra was not convinced by the limited amount of research that purports to confirm the better bioavailability.

For this reason, he decided to create his own comparative study of the two forms of Q10. He recruited 12 volunteers aged 20+ to 60+ years. Half of the volunteers were given 200 mg of ubiquinol daily, and the other half received 200 mg ubiquinone daily for a month. The following month, neither one of the groups took any Q10 for the entire month to establish a wash-out period. The third month, the two groups again took 200 mg of Q10 daily, but the groups swapped roles, with the one group getting ubiquinol after having gotten ubiquinone in the first month and with the second group getting ubiquinone after having taken ubiquinol in the first month.

During the study, Dr. Sinatra measured the participants' blood level of Q10 at baseline and at the end of each month. He noted that both preparations gave good results in Q10 blood levels, and he noted only minor differences between the absorption levels of the two types of Q10. In fact, one of the trial participants' Q10 level went down a little bit with ubiquinol.

“Conclusion: On this basis,
Dr. Sinatra finds no reason to switch to ubiquinol.”