Ubiquinol is a powerful antioxidant your body uses in the many mitochondria in each one of your cells. The mitochondria are like your typical power plant, supplying energy for the cell at the expense of producing harsh, toxic chemical pollutants.
In the body, these “pollutants” are called free radicals. Anti-oxidants such as ubiquinol, otherwise known as CoQ10, have an extraordinary ability to neutralize these free radicals. But why does CoQ10 have this amazing power when you supplement it with it?
Well, normally this is what it's responsible for in the body anyways.
Where Does CoQ10 Come From?
Making energy is a three-step process in the cell. First, the molecules being used for energy need to go through their own unique process depending on if they are sugar, fat, or protein.
The most commonly known and referenced of these mechanisms is called glycolysis. Glycolysis does produce some energy, but the main product of glycolysis is a molecule called Acetyl-CoA. The other processes for fats and proteins also produce this acetyl-CoA.
Acetyl-CoA is a nice molecule the body puts through a process known as the Krebs cycle. The Krebs cycle has a lot of different reactions, but what the mechanism tries to achieve is the slow oxidation of a carbon atom in order to secure the most energy it can from breaking that single carbon bond. If it broke the bond all at once a lot of the energy would be wasted through heat and other means. Each time the process moves the carbon down an oxidation stage an electron carrier molecule grabs some electrons and can move them to the electron transport chain.
The electron transport chain is the final step of the energy-making process and where our star, ubiquinol, resides in its natural habitat. The electron carrier molecules mentioned before react with some iron holding enzymes in the membrane wall. Then CoQ10 in the form of ubiquinone grabs the electrons from the iron, turning ubiquinone to ubiquinol, and ferries them through the membrane till they can be passed along to cytochrome c.
This transport process is important because of the polarity of electrons and protons. CoQ10 is acting like a magnet, pulling the protons towards this mechanism up ahead. Once the protons are in ATP synthase they flow down the chemical gradient which your mitochondria mechanically turn into energy.
In the process of making energy CoQ10 has a vital role in deoxidizing iron over and over again. So, it is no surprise then that it has extraordinary benefits for reducing the number of free radicals throughout the body if you take a coq10 supplement.
By taking a supplement, it will help increase the levels of coq10 in your body. It is recommended that you can take 60 mg to 500 mg in a capsule or tablet a day of CoQ10. To find out exactly what dosage you should be taking, consult with your healthcare provider first.
Potential Side Effects of Ubiquinol Supplements
While there are many benefits to taking a CoQ10 (Ubiquinol) supplement, there are some side effects to keep in mind.
- Diarrhea (In rare cases).
- Loss or decrease of appetite
- Upset stomach
Foods That Contain CoQ10
Not only do you receive essential nutrients from food, some foods also contain CoQ10.
- Vegetables (Broccoli and Cauliflower)
- Organ meats (Heart, liver and kidney)
- Muscle meats (Pork, beef and chicken)
- Fatty Fish
So, CoQ10 has some antioxidant abilities, but how does that help your health exactly?
Benefits of Ubiquinol
As you might have expected, taking CoQ10 has an important role in recovering some of your energy. When you take CoQ10 some of this is able to make its way into the mitochondria where it is naturally occurring in the body. When it does do this it can speed up the energy production process in your mitochondria affording you more energy.
Fatigue and increased energy levels are very close in nature, but slightly different. Improving your energy level is something you can do even when you are already fit and healthy, but mitigating the effects of fatigue is something that you do in response to the negative effects.
For example, improving your energy level means supporting your energy production, but mitigating fatigue can mean reducing the effects of oxidative stress on the body. Fatigue can also be from a variety of sources including other diseases, not just energy production. CoQ10 has powerful effects in this category as well.
One category where bodily fatigue has an interestingly large contribution is depression. One study found that CoQ10 was able to reduce the effects of depression. After doing more research another group of individuals identified the mechanism that was taking place.
Since CoQ10 is a powerful antioxidant it can reduce some of these problems that depression causes, hence why the first study was able to find a reduction in the symptoms of depression when administering CoQ10. Remember that the biological functions of the body have an impact on the emotive-cognitive ones!
A great deal of research has been directed at the effects of CoQ10 on heart health. It seems as though the benefits for CoQ10 as it relates to heart health are amongst the most well-known of any benefit, but what is the research behind these benefits?
One study looked at the cardiac tissue of a plethora of patients who had recently died from a heart attack and many of these people were found to have been deficient in CoQ10.
Later studies even go on to show that the severity of heart attack than a person experiences may be directly correlated to the amount of CoQ10 that was present in their heart at the time of cardiac arrest. This evidence shows the importance of CoQ10 for heart health, but it gets even bigger than that.
However, findings show that statins deplete the heart’s CoQ10 stores. Taking a statin without supplementing with CoQ10 does not leverage the best health for your body. Keep your heart healthy; try CoQ10!
One of the last major benefits of CoQ10 that we are going to cover today is fertility. Fertility is one benefit of CoQ10 that is mildly contested in many websites, but after looking at the facts, here’s what we can tell you. CoQ10 was not shown to directly impact the likelihood of a man to contribute to higher pregnancy rates.
However, CoQ10 was shown to positively impact factors such as sperm motility, sperm count, and the size and shape of the sperm. All of these factors, on the other hand, have been associated with increased pregnancy rates in other studies.
Meanwhile, female fertility has significantly less research on its intersection with CoQ10. What we do know is that CoQ10 is a strong antioxidant and that oxidation does play a harmful role in female fertility. The reduction of oxidative stress has been shown to restore mitochondria function in the ovaries, increase ovarian response for women with a decreased reserve, and it can reduce oxidation-induced aging of the ovaries.
Other Health Benefits of Ubiquinol
Here are a few other health-related issues that can be relieved with ubiquinol:
- Decrease in blood sugar levels.
- Helps maintain cholesterol levels.
- High blood pressure.
All in all, the effects of CoQ10 in its most bioavailable form, Ubiquinol, can benefit your health in a variety of areas including heart health, mental health , fatigue, energy, and possibly even fertility. Definitely consider leveraging these effects through a supplement, and talk to your doctor!
Meet our Experts
This article has been reviewed by members of our Scientific Advisory Board.
Dr. Jay Cowin, Nutrition Expert
Founder of Functional U, a Nutrition, Performance & Optimal Health practice.