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CoQ-10: The Ubiquinol vs Ubiquinone Debate

Posted Feb 23 2010 5:21am 1 Comment
I remember when coenzyme Q-10(CoQ-10) raw material prices were sky high. I remember rejecting a huge of order of CoQ-10 because a supplier we inherited (when we bought the company) cheated on the amounts.

I remember when CoQ-10 became scarce after a big research study touting the benefits of CoQ-10 suddenly got mainstream attention. I remember scrambling to get CoQ-10 in stock during that time.

Notable was how dramatically the price for CoQ-10 raw material dropped after the patents expired and global competition kicked in. Since we serve many fixed income seniors (as well as some rather well-to-do value shoppers), the price drops were beyond welcome. They enabled customers to take higher doses of CoQ-10 that in-the-know doctors were starting to recommend for heart health.

Fast forward to 2009-2010. The big buzz is whether to take CoQ-10 in the ubiquinone form (the form studied for over three decades and also the less expensive raw material) or the ubiquinol form (the new patented form of CoQ-10, purportedly better at boosting serum levels of CoQ-10).

The promise with the new ubiquinol is that you can take smaller doses and get the same results as with higher doses of ubiquinone. Yes, there have been studies on rats that show ubiquinol to be superior to ubiquinone in boosting CoQ-10 for healthy cellular function and energy production.

Trouble is that no human studies have been done on ubiquinol yet; thus, the actual dosing is still up for debate.

The marketing campaigns claim that the ubiquinol form of CoQ-10 is more hydrophilic (more water soluble) than ubiquinone (but that's not saying much, as the form is still fundamentally fat soluble and it is debatable whether the ubiquinol claims are fact or fiction (see "Coenzyme Q-10 Facts or Fabrications" by Dr. William Judy .

Our independent laboratory testing director, a Ph.D. biochemist, agrees and says that the ubiquinol he has been testing is not proving to be as stable as the marketing campaigns would have your believe. I have found few people in my life who are right as often as our lab director is. He's a brilliant scientist and incredibly generous in sharing the very deep knowledge he continually amasses. Our lab director said not to bother with the more expensive material, as: (1) the body easily converts ubiquinone into ubiquinol in the body and (2) the more stable ubiquinone form is preferable for the money.

I have some notes out to our research consultants and a university professor of chemistry, who has done some very intriguing work on CoQ-10.

I'm not ruling out introduction of ubiquinol at some point but I'm also not ready to get on the bandwagon and offer something that is so much more expensive without having more confidence about stability and dosing.

Call me cautious but given the industry we operate in is filled with surprises, I prefer to feel confident in my own research. I like to go to sleep at night knowing that we are providing the best combination of nutritional efficacy and pricing possible.

Stay tuned for my next installment on the current CoQ-10 debate!
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New paper recently published on the Ubiquinol vs Ubiqiunone debate
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