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Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) & Ubiquinol: What’s the Difference?

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When it comes to matters of the heart, your body needs good nutrition to keep this vital muscle healthy and strong. Coenzyme Q10 and ubiquinol are key nutrients for optimal cardiovascular health, but also much more—here’s the scoop on why they’re so important.

CoQ10 vs. Ubiquinol

CoQ10 is a vitamin-like nutrient and antioxidant that is naturally found in every cell of your body. It plays a major role in energy production for cellular function, so the organs with the highest energy needs—the heart, kidneys and liver—tend to store the largest amounts of CoQ10 throughout your body.

CoQ10 comes in two forms—ubiquinone (the oxidized form) and ubiquinol (the reduced form). As the active form of CoQ10, ubiquinol serves as a better antioxidant because it can give its two spare electrons to free radicals, leaving the rest of your body’s cells untouched. On the flip side, CoQ10 (ubiquinone) is better for energy metabolism inside of cells due to its oxidized state.

Interestingly, you only need to take one form because your body smartly converts between the two forms of CoQ10 automatically, depending on what it needs at that moment. However, as you age, your body has a more difficult time metabolizing CoQ10 and converting it to ubiquinol. Some medical experts suggest that younger people can benefit more from CoQ10, while older people can benefit more from ubiquinol.

Comparison of CoQ10 vs ubiquinol on green background

Keep Your Ticker in Top Shape

Time and time again, research has found CoQ10 to have significant cardiovascular protective effects. The evidence is promising, especially considering how many Americans struggle to maintain optimal heart health as they age.

As you age, your body naturally loses its ability to keep up with your continuous CoQ10 needs over the years. You still produce it—just not at the same rate as when you were young. That’s why it’s so easy to become deficient in CoQ10 later in life, and this deficiency is most commonly noticed first in the heart. Studies also suggest that taking statins can inhibit CoQ10 activity and lead to further deficiency.

Line graph on white background showing a decline in natural CoQ10 over time

To take the best care of your heart, it’s important to seek additional external sources of CoQ10. Some foods contain CoQ10, but not in high enough amounts that would provide much benefit to your overall health and wellness. For this reason, many people are turning to high-quality supplements to meet their CoQ10 needs.

There is no established ideal daily intake of CoQ10, but a typical dose is 100 mg to 200 mg per day. CoQ10 is best taken with a meal or alongside an oil-based supplement like krill oil or coconut oil because it’s fat soluble. The presence of fat will help your body break CoQ10 down to absorb it more efficiently. As always, follow the usage instructions provided on any supplement you choose, and consult with your healthcare provider if you have questions about what is right for you and your own wellness routine.

My Favorite CoQ10 Supplements

There are several CoQ10 products out there, but these picks are at the top. Both are a great way to get your daily intake, it just comes down to your preference on how you like to take your nutrients.

Swanson CoQ10
Supports cardiovascular health and promotes antioxidant activity with a potent 200 mg of CoQ10 per capsule.

Nutrition Now CoQ10 Gummy Supplement
Delicious, naturally flavored peach gummies with 200 mg CoQ10 as ubiquinone. Perfect if you’re not a fan of swallowing pills.

My Favorite Ubiquinol Supplements

These top picks will both deliver ubiquinol and its benefits, but if you’re looking for a formula that combines it with other nutrients for better mitochondrial function, an enhanced form may be the way to go.

Swanson Ubiquinol
Achieves higher elevations of circulating CoQ10 in the bloodstream with just a fraction of the dose compared to a regular CoQ10 supplement.

Swanson Enhanced PQQ with Ubiquinol
Features Kaneka QH® enhanced bioactivity CoQ10 to support cardiovascular health and energy production. Also features pyrroloquinoline quinone (PQQ)—a compound that promotes cognitive function by supporting neurons in the brain.

Pumped about heart health? You might also like CoQ10 Pairings for Heart Health, Energy and More, CoQ10 Food Sources, and CoQ10 Side Effects.

Lindsey Toth, MS, RD | Swanson Health Products

About Lindsey Toth, MS, RD

Registered Dietitian, Swanson Health Products

Lindsey is a nationally-recognized registered dietitian and nutritionist with a soft spot for pie. She empowers people to take charge of their health by finding the balance between the pleasure and nourishment in food. Her philosophy is that you should take care of your body because it’s the only permanent home you have. It’s what inspired her to pursue a career in nutrition and, ultimately, led her to Swanson Health.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.


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