Ubiquinol and CoQ10 share a lot of similarities but there are certain aspects that make all the difference. For a long time, CoQ10 has been available in its primary form which is known as ubiquinone. The recent advent of ubiquinol has been raising questions about the differences in the two forms of CoQ10.
And rest assured that there are more than a few differences that might make ubiquinol superior to the more common ubiquinone CoQ10. By the end of this write-up, you should have a much better understanding of both CoQ10 and ubiquinol.
It’s Mostly About Electrons and Hydrogen Atoms
A small chemical alteration in the molecule assigns special energy production role to either of the enzymes. This alteration also significantly affects the antioxidant properties, bioavailability, and transportability of ubiquinol and CoQ10.
The common CoQ10 molecule, ubiquinone, has two double-bonded oxygen atoms on opposite ends of the carbon ring. In the human body, ubiquinone CoQ10 is easily reduced by hydrogen atoms and their free electrons to form hydroxyl groups (-OH) and the fully reduced state of CoQ10 is ubiquinol.
Conversely, ubiquinol can also be oxidized and in the process release hydrogen atoms and revert back to the oxidized state of CoQ10, ubiquinone. Although you are not aware of it, this process happens in your body all the time.
Both the oxidized CoQ10 and the reduced ubiquinol are beneficial but in different ways.
Energy Production with CoQ10 and Ubiquinol
The ability of this enzyme to switch from one form to the other is vital for extracting energy from the food that you consume. Mitochondria are the organelle found in our cells and they act like little energy producing engines. Though you may still wonder how CoQ10 and ubiquinol fit into the picture.
To understand their role, you need to take a closer look at how energy is produced. Food molecules come with energy-packed bonds and it is when the bond breaks that energy is released. But something needs to store the energy and make use of it – and this is where CoQ10 and ubiquinol come into play.
CoQ10 absorbs the released energy and pass it on in the form of electrons. This is why the property to attract and release electrons is so important.
Ubiquinol vs. CoQ10
There are a few traits that are worth considering and they highlight the main difference between ubiquinol and ubiquinone CoQ10.
Unlike CoQ10, ubiquinol has a much higher absorption rate in the body. The absorption amount may vary according to a person’s age and general health but ubiquinol in its reduced state is always more easily absorb than CoQ10.
Transportability is another important factor. Namely, your blood prefers ubiquinol for energy transport. What’s more, the CoQ10 found in your blood is almost entirely in the ubiquinol form. In fact, once you take in CoQ10, it comes into contact with blood and quickly become reduced to ubiquinol. But the transformation process doesn’t work well for some people, leading to fewer benefits if they decide to take CoQ10.
The extra electrons in ubiquinol make it a more efficient antioxidant. The basic way that free radicals harm our cells is by taking away and holding onto electrons. And they would do it to any available sources which may include cell membranes, DNA, cholesterol molecules, etc. This is what leads to potential cellular damage and disease.
On the other hand, ubiquinol readily gives up electrons to neutralize the free radicals, becoming oxidized to ubiquinone CoQ10 in the process. But there’s more. ubiquinol is among a handful of antioxidants that interact with bodily lipids. More importantly, it also helps mitochondria improve their antioxidant properties.
The organelle has their own way of letting free radicals off but ubiquinol provides some extra protection. To be exact, the enzyme protects the mitochondria’ lipid membrane from free radical.
Lastly, ubiquinol has the ability to recycle vitamins C and E. This property is important since it rounds off the antioxidant network in your entire body.
The Bottom Line
Both CoQ10 and ubiquinol are crucial for efficient energy production. And the main difference between the two enzymes is their transportability and bioavailability. In addition, the lipid-solubility of ubiquinol shouldn’t be overlooked.
One could conclude that ubiquinol is far superior to CoQ10. But that would be misleading. Ubiquinol is easier for the body to absorb but, once in the bloodstream, it readily converts to ubiquinone CoQ10 and back. The reduced ubiquinol form is a very powerful antioxidant and the oxidized ubiquinone form helps with energy production.