Ubiquinol is a powerful antioxidant with many health benefits, although it is often forgotten when considering the long list of nutrients our bodies require. With its unique energy-boosting, heart health and anti-ageing properties, it really should be in the limelight when considering our optimal health needs.
The form of CoQ10
As with most supplements, there are often different forms which can be taken, all of which have varying effects on the body. CoQ10 comes in two main forms, namely ubiquinol and ubiquinone. With very similar names, they are often confused, however they are very different. Ubiquinol is the ‘active’ form of CoQ10 which is ready to be used in the body. Ubiquinone is the oxidised form of CoQ10 and therefore has to first be converted to ubiquinol in the liver before it is ready to be used. For those with suboptimal liver function, this conversion may not be successful, therefore taking the already active form, ubiquinol, is far superior for ensuring high plasma levels. The body’s ability to convert ubiquinone to ubiquinol in the liver also reduces with age, and this process requires high levels of B vitamins and vitamin C.
What is ubiquinol and what does it do?
Ubiquinol is the active form of Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) and can therefore be used directly by the body. You may have heard of this wonderful antioxidant for its luxury effects like smoothing wrinkles, but that is certainly not all it does. As one of the most potent antioxidants, ubiquinol also helps to recycle other antioxidants such as vitamins E and C, giving great protection against free radical damage, thereby reducing risk of associated health conditions, such as cardiovascular disease.
In addition to its antioxidant capacity, ubiquinol is required in every cell in our bodies to produce energy. The mitochondria in the cells act like engines to keep the cells functioning; ubiquinol provides the fuel to keep these engines going.
Ubiquinol may also support carbohydrate metabolism, and therefore may be beneficial for someone with diabetes, by positively influencing blood sugar levels. Ubiquinol also supports healthy circulation, oxygen transport to muscles and brain health.
Do I need ubiquinol?
The simple answer is yes, as our bodies are constantly using up ubiquinol to provide energy and to protect cells against damage, including protection of the heart and brain. A small amount of CoQ10 can be sourced from meat and fish, although the majority of the ubiquinol in our cells does not come from our diets, but is actually made in the liver; cholesterol is, similarly, mostly produced in the liver.
At a young age, our bodies are quite efficient at producing and maintaining ubiquinol at sufficient levels to keep our cells full of energy, but from the age of around 30, production of ubiquinol starts to slow; as a result, those little powerhouses in our cells (mitochondria) may struggle to produce enough energy, and free radical damage from pollutants and other unavoidable chemicals may take their toll on our bodies. Low plasma levels of ubiquinol can lead to premature ageing and we may feel more easily fatigued. In extreme cases, low levels of ubiquinol may lead to muscle weakness, as the muscle cells cannot function properly.
Groups at risk of low ubiquinol levels
The most important group of individuals who may benefit from supplementing with ubiquinol are those on statins (a type of medication prescribed to reduce cholesterol), and anyone at high risk of cardiovascular disease. Statins work in the body by reducing production of cholesterol in the liver, which may help to reduce risk of cardiovascular disease, however an unwanted side effect of statins is that they may simultaneously reduce the production of ubiquinol in the liver.
As ubiquinol supports cardiovascular health by providing energy to heart cells and offering antioxidant protection, lowered levels of ubiquinol may therefore increase risk of cardiovascular disease as a result of taking statins. Luckily there is an answer this problem; if you are taking statins, you can simply take a ubiquinol supplement (ubiquinol, as the active form of CoQ10, can be utilised directly by the body and may reduce risk of cardiovascular disease).
The elderly are also at great risk of having very low levels of ubiquinol, as production severely diminishes with age. If you are older and feel that your energy levels are getting lower than you would like, a ubiquinol supplement may help to boost your energy levels.
For other individuals who may not be elderly, but may suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome, or extreme lack of energy, ubiquinol production can be slow in some individuals, or requirements may be higher – for example, if you are exposed to high levels of oxidation from pollution or illness. With chronic fatigue syndrome it is also common for someone to have mitochondrial dysfunction, therefore the cells may require more ubiquinol.
Absorption of ubiquinol
As ubiquinol is a large, fat soluble molecule, it can be difficult to pass the gut barrier, explaining why many ubiquinol supplements are poorly absorbed. Igennus Ubiquinol uses the ‘VESIsorb’ delivery system, which allows ubiquinol to become water soluble and therefore offers a ‘pre-digested’ form of ubiquinol which can be readily taken up by the gut’s water layer, into the bloodstream and delivered directly to cells. The VESIsorb delivery system results in much higher plasma levels compared to standard ubiquinol and up to 6 x longer-lasting action, so is ideal for anyone looking to achieve a therapeutic level.
Supplementing with ubiquinol
Ubiquinol can significantly increase energy production, so supplementation is recommended for anyone wishing to boost energy levels, including those with chronic fatigue, the elderly, and even for those wishing to increase performance at the gym! Supplementing in the morning is the most suitable time, to ensure approximately a 10 hour window throughout the day of increased energy.
Anyone at high risk of cardiovascular disease, especially those who have a family history of the condition, may be able to reduce risk of disease by taking ubiquinol, particularly after the age of 30-40.
Just 1 capsule a day taken with food offers a therapeutic dose of 100mg, which has been shown to reach optimal plasma levels required to offer these health benefits.