Many coenzyme Q10 supplements are available, but some are better than others. To help you select the best form of coenzyme Q10 supplement for you, I’ve reviewed the difference between ubiquinone, ubiquinol and mitoquinone below, and explain why coenzyme Q10 is one of the supplements I take every day. Coenzyme Q10 becomes increasingly important over the age of around 40, and if you are taking a statin drug to lower your cholesterol levels.
What is coenzyme Q10?
Coenzyme Q10 (often abbreviated to CoQ10) is a powerful antioxidant that is vital for energy production in cells. The amount of coenzyme Q10 you make declines with age and depleted amounts is associated with premature cell ageing and fatigue. Known as nature’s spark plug, you may benefit from taking a coenzyme Q10 supplement if you have high blood pressure, feel lacking in energy, or are taking a statin drug to lower a raised cholesterol or lower your future risk of heart disease.
Statin drugs work by switching off cholesterol production in the liver. This action also switches off coenzyme Q10 production, and can halve circulating levels of this important cell energy-producing substance within 2 to 4 weeks. This may contribute to the muscle-related side effects associated with statin medication.
Vitamin D is also produced from a cholesterol-derived building-block, and a low-level of vitamin D may be involved in statin side effects, too.
Which is the best dose of coenzyme Q10?
Coenzyme Q10 supplements come in three main forms:
- Ubiquinone must be converted into another form, ubiquinol, in the body before it is used. This form is widely available and offers best value for money for younger people.
- Ubiquinol is the reduced ‘body-ready’ form, also known as Co-enzyme QH. This form is the most effective for older people, and those taking a statin drug.
- Mitoquinol is a positively-charged form which easily penetrates into the cells’ power houses (mitochondria) so that a lower dose is needed. This new version is more expensive but may suit you if you have not achieved optimal results with other versions, or if you have mitochondrial dysfunction which is associated with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue.
The optimum dose of coenzyme Q10, and the best form, depends on your age and why you wish to take it. The ubiquinone form is cheapest, but must first be converted into ubiquinol by cells before it is used. This conversion may be less efficient as you get older. Ubiquinol is therefore the ‘body ready’ form but is more expensive as it has to be manufactured in strict oxygen-free conditions.
A dose of 100mg ubiquinol is equivalent to around 280mg ubiquinone.
If you are in good general health, my suggested doses for coenzyme Q10 are:
- If you are under 30 years of age and in good health – 30 mg ubiquinone coenzyme Q10
- If you are aged 30 to 40 years and in good health – 60mg ubiquinone coenzyme Q10
- If you are aged 40 and over and are in good health – 100mg ubiquinone coenzyme Q10
- If you have high blood pressure, are taking a statin drug, or have reduced fertility or heart problems – 100mg ubiquinol (or 200mg ubiquinone form).
Higher doses of ubiquinone and ubiquinol can be taken, but these are best used under the advice of a medical nutritionist to supervise any underlying health problems such as high blood pressure.
Mitoquinol is taken at a typical dose of two 5mg capsules each morning. It may be suitable for people with mitochondrial dysfunction who feel they have not achieved optimum benefit from taking ubiquinone or ubiquinol alone. It is expensive for general use.
Which coenzyme Q10 supplements are best?
My advice is to select a product made to a pharmaceutical standard known as GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice). This quality control ensures that each capsule supplies what it says on the label. As coenzyme Q10 is fat soluble, capsules supplying ubiquinone or ubiquinol in an oil-base will aid maximum absorption. Some supplements also include black pepper extract (piperine) which also increases absorption.
Have you taken co-enzyme Q10 supplements? If so, what for? Did you find them helpful?
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