Coenzyme Q10: Ubiquinol vs Ubiquinone

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Please note this article is not intended to discuss the many benefits of CoQ10, but rather to demystify the differences in the two forms available for supplementation.This question comes up frequently when considering our Dr. Ron’s Ultra-Pure formula.There has been a massive advertising campaign to promote the newer ubiquinol oil, but is it truly better absorbed and utilized?

Dr. Ron’s research and experience suggested there is little to no difference which form you ingest, which is corroborated by a number of research studies, including Health & Science, Dr. Stephen Sinatra Q-Symbio, and KiSel-10.1, 2, 3, 4Further, a newsletter (“Coenzyme Q10 Facts or Fabrications”) that was issued by a group of leading experts, called these campaigns “false” and “misleading”.They also make a point of mentioning that, since the different forms of CoQ10 can easily be converted within the body from one form to the other, it makes sense to stick with a form that is more affordable.

CoQ10 shifts back and forth between its ubiquinone and its ubiquinol form in a continuous cycle inside the body as a natural part of CoQ10’s role in biology.When you ingest ubiquinol, it changes to ubiquinone and vice versa.

  • Ubiquinone (oxidized form) is essential for CoQ10’s role in cellular energy metabolism (ATP synthesis).
  • Ubiquinol (reduced form) is essential for the antioxidant function of CoQ10.

Depending on whether CoQ10 is in the blood and lymph or inside the mitochondria of the cells, it shifts to the form that is needed.Within the blood and lymph, CoQ10 primarily serves as an antioxidant. In the mitochondria, it supports energy metabolism by switching between the two forms many times per second.

Because ubiquinol is reduced, it is susceptible to oxidation. When it oxidizes, it converts back into ubiquinone. Trying to maintain ubiquinol in its non-oxidized form inside the capsule has created problems for producers as it is technically challenging to protect the vulnerable compound against oxidation.

There may be a decline in the body’s ability to absorb CoQ10 with age.The following could be a rough guideline for daily dosage:

  • Healthy individuals under 60: between 50 to 100 mg
  • Over 60:100 to 200 mg
  • After a recent heart surgery, heart attack, or with congestive heart failure:200 to 300 mg

In summary:

  • The number of scientific studies conducted with ubiquinone is more extensive than the number of studies carried out with ubiquinol.
  • In terms of absorption, there is no documented difference between ubiquinone and ubiquinol.
  • The International Q10 Association, ICQA uses an ubiquinone formula as its official science reference.
  • Ubiquinol costs more to manufacture than ubiquinone and is, therefore, more expensive for consumers and researchers.


  1. Health and Science, Ubiquinone or Ubiquinol (online only). Retrieved from
  2. Dr. Stephen Sinatra, Which Form of CoQ10 Is Best, Ubiquinol or Ubiquinone? 10/11/2016 (online only).Retrieved from
  3. Alehagen U, Johansson P, Bjornstedt M, et al. Cardiovascular mortality and N-terminal proBNP reduced after combined selenium and CoQ10 supplementation. Int J Cardiol 2012;167:1860–6.
  4. Mortensen SA, Rosenfeldt F, Kumar A, et al. The effect of coenzyme Q10 on morbidity and mortality in chronic heart failure. J Am Coll Cardiol HF 2014;2:641–9.
  5. FL Crane, Y Hatefi, RL Lester, C Widmer (1957) Isolation of a quinone from beef heart mitochondria. Biochim Biophys Acta 25: 220-221.
  6. FL Crane (1989) Comments on the discovery of coenzyme Q. Biochim. Biophys. Acta 1000: 358-361.
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