Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) supplements have grown in popularity in recent years but, as with many types of supplement, CoQ10 comes in several forms and with varying levels of bioavailability. Ensuring you choose the right product is therefore essential, not only for the potential therapeutic outcomes, but also to ensure the best value for money. Here we discuss CoQ10’s role in energy production and as an antioxidant, explaining when and why increasing your intake may be beneficial, as well as detailing why VESIsorb Ubiquinol-QH is the ideal supplement for individuals seeking therapeutic benefits.
How Coenzyme Q10 works
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a vitamin-like nutrient that is found embedded in the mitochondria in our cells. As part of the energy making process, CoQ10 acts to shuttle electrons through a series of reactions, culminating in the production of the energy molecule adenosine tri-phosphate (ATP) – upon which all cellular functions in the body depend. As CoQ10 accepts electrons, it becomes ‘reduced’ (to ubiquinol) and as it gives up electrons, it becomes ‘oxidised’ (to ubiquinone). As long as the body is fuelled with CoQ10 through our diet, and CoQ10 is present in our cells, it’s a perpetual energy process that sustains us. If, however, CoQ10 levels become depleted, the production of ATP is significantly affected. For many people, low energy and fatigue may simply be a symptom of CoQ10 deficiency.
Fuelling mitochrondria – the energy powerhouse
There are many reasons that people may experience low levels of energy – with diet, lifestyle and illness all key influencers. But if you have been putting your low energy levels down to too little sleep, ongoing stress or just feeling under the weather, you might want to think a little deeper. Our food provides the fuel that gives us energy, but if the body is simply inefficient at converting food into energy (even if your diet is wholesome and nutritious) then it may be worth looking at measures that can be taken to improve the process that ultimately fuels our everyday functions at both the cellular and molecular levels.
The first port of call is the mitochondria – tiny structures within cells often referred to as the cell ‘powerhouse’ due to their generation of ATP. Normal mitochondrial function is essential for optimal energy production; indeed, mitochondrial dysfunction may lead to decreased ATP production and thus to low energy and fatigue. Normal mitochondrial function relies on the successful input from several ‘team players’ which participate in a series of reactions, transferring molecules called electrons from a donor molecule to an acceptor molecule and, collectively as the ‘electron transport chain’, culminate in the release of energy.
Why supplement with CoQ10?
Whilst the body can make CoQ10, levels within the body peak around the age of 20, after which they begin to decline. Interestingly, the body’s ability to convert ubiqinone into ubiquinol also diminishes with age. Furthermore, anyone with high cholesterol who is taking statins will have difficulty in manufacturing CoQ10. This is because the enzyme targeted by statins is responsible for both the production of cholesterol and CoQ10. Statins, whilst reducing cholesterol, may simultaneously cause side effects associated with CoQ10 deficiency, including muscle pain, muscle weakness and general symptoms of fatigue.  CoQ10 supplements therefore offer a convenient and effective way of increasing CoQ10 levels, increasing energy production and overcoming statin-induced symptoms. 
Ubiquinol vs ubiquinone – what’s the difference?
There are two types of CoQ10 used in supplements: ubiquinone and ubiquinol. The most commonly available (and cheapest) form of CoQ10 is ubiquinone, often in low doses of 30 mg, in powder form or dispersed in oil in an attempt to increase its bioavailability. Ubiquinol, however, is bio-identical to over 95%, which means the body doesn’t have to convert it into a usable form – it is already ‘body-ready’. Ubiquinol has only become available as a supplement in the past 10 years – before this, all CoQ10 supplements contained ubiquinone.
Approximately 96% of total CoQ10 in healthy individuals is in the form of ubiquinol, reflecting the importance of the reduced, antioxidant form over the oxidised form ubiquinone . In conditions associated with high levels of oxidative stress, ubiquinol levels are significantly lower. Ubiquinone can be converted by the body to ubiquinol via a multi-step process, but a deficiency in any of the co-factors (vitamins B2, B3, B5, B6, B12 & C) can inhibit the conversion process. With a dual role as both a coenzyme in the body’s energy production processes and as an antioxidant, ubiquinol offers superior benefits for heart health, energy production within the heart, brain & muscles and protection from free radicals. Ubiquinol is altogether therapeutically superior to standard CoQ10 supplements containing the oxidised form, ubiquinone.
Ubiquinol – the potent antioxidant that recycles other antioxidants
One of the principal benefits of ubiquinol is its powerful antioxidant activity, “mopping up” potentially harmful free radicals – unstable free-floating electrons that, when not attached to other molecules, are capable of causing damage to cell membranes. Remarkably, ubiquinol also plays a role in helping to regenerate other antioxidants, such as vitamin E and vitamin C. Antioxidants only work if they are in their reduced forms. If they (and CoQ10) are oxidised, they have no antioxidant capacity because they do not have a free electron to donate to a free radical. Once an antioxidant molecule has given up its free electron to stabilise a free radical, it needs to be regenerated in order to become functional again. By handing over electrons to the oxidised version of vitamins E and C, and thus converting back to their reduced forms, ubiquinol regenerates their antioxidant potential.
VESIsorb® for superior bioavailability & greater health benefits
The different health benefits of ubiquinol vs ubiquinone is just half the picture. As a fat-soluble nutrient, absorption and bioavailability of ubiquinol supplements are generally poor. The gut’s water layer barrier makes it difficult for large fat-soluble nutrients to get past so that, ordinarily, unassimilated particles are left unabsorbed and excreted by the body. VESIsorb® however is a breakthrough patented delivery system that overcomes this problem. It mimics the natural transport system of the intestine and uses patented colloidal technology that converts ubiquinol into a water-soluble nutrient, in effect pre-digesting it into tiny water-soluble particles that pass easily through the gut wall and into the bloodstream where they can get to work, to keep us energised and healthy.
Clinical studies show that colloidal-solubilised Ubiquinol-QH using the VESIsorb® delivery system offers enhanced absorption and tissue distribution, leading to superior health benefits over standard supplements of the same dose. In short, VESIsorb® Ubiquinol-QH acts twice as fast and lasts up to six times longer than standard ubiquinol, reaching peak plasma levels that are more than 2.5 times higher than comparable doses of standard CoQ10 supplements.
Increasing ubiquinol levels with VESIsorb® Ubiquinol-QH helps to increase energy levels and improves the activity of the body’s high-energy tissues, such as the heart, skeletal muscles, liver and brain. Ubiquinol supplementation is particularly useful for conditions where mitochondrial dysfunction and coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) deficiency are implicated, such as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome  and Fibromyalgia . In addition to fighting fatigue, ubiquinol’s potent antioxidant activity may also be of additional benefit in cardiovascular disease, neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s disease and diabetes. [7-11]
Supplementing with colloidal-solubilised ubiquinol overcomes issues associated with bioavailability and offers huge potential for maximising the blood plasma levels that are required for increasing and maintaining energy levels as well as providing antioxidant support. Given that there is age-related decline in total CoQ10 levels and in the body’s ability to convert ubiquinone to ubiquinol, supplementing with Igennus VESIsorb Ubiquinol-QH would benefit anyone over the age of 20 but particularly individuals aged 40 years and over and especially anyone taking cholesterol-reducing drugs.
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