There are many coenzymes. Among the most important is called Coenzyme Q10, or CoQ10. This vitamin-like substance is made naturally in the body and plays a critical role in the creation of cellular energy.
It’s no surprise, then, that lots of CoQ10 is found inside the tissue of energy-demanding organs such as the heart, brain, liver and kidneys. In fact, it exists in virtually all our cells and tissues.
The problem with conventional CoQ10 is that your body must convert it into Ubiquinol (the more advanced type of CoQ10) before it can help make the cellular energy your heart and other vital organs need to function at optimal levels.
Unlike conventional CoQ10, Ubiquinol is also a strong antioxidant that helps neutralize free radicals that might otherwise damage healthy cells in the body. Starting around the age of 30, your body has a harder time turning conventional CoQ10 into Ubiquinol CoQ10, and the entire process becomes less efficient. That is why so many “older” adults are now taking the more advanced Ubiquinol form of CoQ10.
This large and still growing amount of research has found Ubiquinol CoQ10:
- Supports optimal heart health. Many studies have shown various ways in which the Ubiquinol form of CoQ10 supports heart health. Part of Ubiquinol’s role in heart health is based on it playing such a vital role in providing the cellular energy needed to power the heart. Research has also found Ubiquinol supplementation improves certain blood markers associated with heart health. Ubiquinol is the preferred form of CoQ10 in the body, and is better for your heart and vessels than regular CoQ10 (ubiquinone).
- Supports natural cellular energy production. Humans need massive amounts of cellular energy to function at optimal levels. To make this energy, conventional ubiquinone CoQ10 must be converted to Ubiquinol.
- Helps prevent damage in the body caused by oxidative stress. Ubiquinol is the only form of CoQ10 that also functions as an antioxidant. Ubiquinol CoQ10 is the body’s strongest fat-soluble antioxidant, protecting our cells from the damage caused by free radicals. This damage contributes to various diseases and even premature aging. The conventional ubiquinone form of CoQ10 is not an antioxidant.
- Replenishes CoQ10 blood levels depleted by many cholesterol medicines. Doctors often prescribe statin medications because they are effective in lowering the type of cholesterol that’s bad for heart health. But this type of medicine also inhibits the body’s natural production of CoQ10, which can lead to less Ubiquinol in the blood. Ubiquinol is the form of CoQ10 that is better able to replenish CoQ10 levels for statin users, as compared to conventional ubiquinone.
- Ubiquinol is more readily absorbed in the intestinal tract and therefore considered more “bioavailable” than conventional CoQ10. Before it can do many of the wonderful things people associate with CoQ10, the conventional form of CoQ10 needs to be converted by our bodies into a more advanced form of CoQ10 called Ubiquinol. This becomes harder with age. Certain traits in the Ubiquinol form of CoQ10 make a big difference in the nutrient’s ability to move through the blood and be absorbed into cells.
Ubiquinol promotes healthy aging and improves quality of life in older women. Americans are getting older – a trend sometimes called the “graying of America”. The U.S. Census Bureau projects that in 2035, more than 21% of our population will be over the age of 65, compared to 15% in 2015. As we age, our bodies are generally subject to greater oxidative stress, and research has shown that Ubiquinol CoQ10 (a powerful antioxidant) naturally decreases as we get older. More recent research has found a link between Ubiquinol supplementation and age-related quality of life measures such as vitality and mental health in general.
Short-term Ubiquinol supplementation can reduce oxidative stress associated with strenuous exercise. Strenuous exercise produces strain on the body because of its high energy and physical demands which increases the creation of free radicals. Since CoQ10, particularly in its activated form Ubiquinol, is known to positively affect energy output and oxidative stress, this study assessed the benefit of short-term Ubiquinol supplementation on biological markers of performance and recovery in well-trained individuals undergoing strong physical exertion. This randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study included 68 firemen (average age, 38 years) who received 200 mg/day of Ubiquinol or placebo for two weeks prior to two sessions of intense physical exercise (a sequence of 10 bodybuilding exercises) with a 24-hour rest period between them. There were no significant differences in anthropomorphic (body-type) measures, general physical activity, or dropouts between the two test groups. Levels of CoQ10 were significantly elevated in plasma and red blood cell membranes in the Ubiquinol group compared to placebo following supplementation and throughout the study (all p<0.05). Maintaining adequate [or healthy] levels of CoQ10 is especially important during exercise, to keep a ready supply for use in the production of cellular energy. Isoprostanes (markers of oxidative stress, especially during exercise) were significantly lower in the Ubiquinol group before, during, and after the first exercise session compared to placebo at the same time points (all p<0.05). The study also showed that intense exercise results in increased oxidation of LDL cholesterol (OxLDL). The control group showed statistically significant increases in OxLDL after both exercise sessions and during the intra-session rest period. The Ubiquinol group showed an increase only after the second session, suggesting that Ubiquinol protected LDL from oxidation during intense exercise. Maintaining low levels of OxLDL is important for overall vessel health. In addition, levels of nitric oxide were elevated in both groups following the first exercise session, but decreased significantly in the placebo group before and after the second session, whereas they stayed elevated through the second session for the Ubiquinol group (all p<0.05). This suggests that Ubiquinol helps the body sustain NO levels under exertion. Nitric oxide is a signaling molecule that dilates the blood vessels and thereby improves circulation. It is thought that by improving blood flow, more oxygen and nutrients can be delivered to muscles, which may improve performance and hasten recovery. Supplementation with 200 mg/day of Ubiquinol for two weeks prior to strenuous exercise improved plasma CoQ10 levels, decreased oxidative stress markers, protected LDL cholesterol from oxidation, and maintained nitric oxide levels during physical exertion. These factors could potentially improve endothelial function, energetic substrate supply, and muscle recovery during strenuous exercise.
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