New Ubiquinol—CoQ10 Finally Comes of Age
An exclusive interview with Robert Barry, Ph.D.
While visiting the world's largest manufacturer of CoQ10, Kaneka Nutrients, in Houston, I had the pleasure of meeting with Dr. Robert Barry, who shared with me his personal experiences with CoQ10 and Kaneka's new, biologically active Q10 supplement, Ubiquinol. Following are some highlights from our discussions.
~Lee Swanson, President of Swanson Health Products
Dr. Robert Barry
Dr. Robert Barry, Chief of Scientific Affairs for Kaneka Nutrients, LP, earned his bachelor's degree in biology from Boston College, his Ph.D. in chemistry/biochemistry from the University of Maryland, did postdoctoral research in Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology at Harvard Medical School, and was a staff researcher in neuropathology at Harvard Medical School. He has served as a principle advisor for the National Institutes of Health. Prior to joining Kaneka, Dr. Barry founded a company focused on identifying new lead-drug candidates.
SWANSON: Thank you for taking the time to meet with me today. I'm very excited about this new development in CoQ10 supplementation. Can you tell our readers what makes it so special?
DR. BARRY: It's a pleasure to meet you, Lee. Let me start by saying that this new development does not render your original CoQ10 obsolete; rather, it's a new alternative form better suited for more advanced uses and for those of truly advanced years. That being said, what exactly is Ubiquinol as opposed to Q10? Basically, it's a molecular difference. Functionally, it can be several times more effective at increasing blood CoQ10 levels. You see, original CoQ10 supplements contain what is known as “ubiquinone,” which is the oxidized form of the nutrient as it is found in foods. But over 90 percent of the CoQ10 that is stored and used in the body is in the form of “ubiquinol,” which is a reduced form of the ubiquinone molecule. When you ingest ubiquinone, your body metabolizes it, creating the reduced Ubiquinol form. Kaneka's Ubiquinol (Kaneka QH®) is the first stabilized supplemental form of bio-identical ubiquinol ever developed. It took our scientists years to create a process that stabilizes this highly reactive and unstable substance, but it's finally here and we're very excited about it.
SWANSON: Is there clinical data on Ubiquinol?
DR. BARRY: First, let me say that the CoQ10 Kaneka produces is the exact form used by scientific researchers in 99 percent of published studies. We are one of the only companies that produces 100 percent natural CoQ10 through a biological fermentation process. And our CoQ10 is the only CoQ10 ingredient with extensive safety data. Our new Ubiquinol follows a similar research and production model. In fact, it begins with our original CoQ10, which is further refined and reduced into ubiquinol through a series of patented processes. We have many patents on Ubiquinol alone. As for research specifically on Ubiquinol, we have papers demonstrating stability, papers demonstrating safety, and papers demonstrating efficacy.
The existing data on CoQ10 in terms of benefits applies to Ubiquinol, because once it's in the body, ubiquinone becomes ubiquinol. The exciting thing is that, according to the studies done thus far, we can achieve much higher blood levels with a much smaller dose using Ubiquinol. Just 150 mg of Ubiquinol can produce the same plasma level increases as 1,200 mg of conventional CoQ10—that's almost an eight-fold advantage (see graph).
SWANSON: Why, if Ubiquinol is so much more bioavailable, shouldn't everyone make the switch from their current Q10?
DR. BARRY: That's a good question, and it really comes down to age and need. Younger, healthy individuals will do just fine continuing with conventional CoQ10. It's safe; it's effective; and it's affordable. Because of the unstable nature of Ubiquinol and the added production costs, it's a more expensive intervention—and that's what it's suited for: intervention. Ubiquinol is best suited for people over 50 years of age who have, for one reason or another, substantially lower CoQ10 levels. Unfortunately, testing Q10 levels is not as commonplace as we would like. Doctors can do it, but it's costly because the test has to be performed by a third-party lab. Fortunately, however, it's easy to ascertain in general who needs advanced CoQ10 supplementation. Elderly people are likely to find increased benefits with Ubiquinol.
Part of the equation is health status, but another part is simple aging. Not only does the body produce less CoQ10 as it ages, it also loses some of its ability to absorb it from foods or supplements and convert it to Ubiquinol. So at 80 years of age, the CoQ10 supplement you were taking when you were 40 is not performing the same for you. People at this life stage may want to consider Ubiquinol.
SWANSON: Thank you for sharing this information with us and for all the work you do with CoQ10 and now Ubiquinol. I encourage our readers to read more about the evidence—and the importance—of this powerful supplement.
The History of CoQ10