Antioxidants have been getting a bad rap over the last few years, primarily because very few experts talk about the differences between natural and synthetic supplements.
But even as we’re busy having the debates, antioxidants are busy supporting our health – and protecting us from free radicals that can cause oxidative damage that can lead to degenerative conditions – along with premature aging.
And one of the most important talked-about antioxidants in recent years is CoQ10. However, did you know that there are two forms of CoQ10?
Ubiquinone which is the most common form available while Ubiquinol is the form of CoQ10 that can be most effectively used by the body. You see, Ubiquinone needs to be converted to Ubiquinol in order for the body to get the maximum benefits of CoQ10.
In fact most people over 40 can't properly convert Ubiquinone into the bio-available Ubiquinol for energy which means it makes sense to opt for supplements and products that contain this bio-available active form of CoQ10 instead of the common form.
“Ubiquinol helps to slow down the aging process, improves energy, reduces blood pressure, and decreases your chances of developing heart failure,” said Bryce Wilde, author of “The Antioxidant Prescription: How to Use the Power of Antioxidants to Prevent Disease and Stay Healthy for Life.” (Ref. 1)
Wilde, a member of the medical advisory board for “The Doctor Oz Show,” has a web series called “The Supplement Score Card,” during which he grades certain supplements, and the power-packed ubiquinol scored an A, especially so because levels of this powerful antioxidant in your body begin to drop around the age of 30, in part because the body has a more difficult time converting ubiquinone CoQ10 into ubiquinol as we age, suggesting that we need to supplement with Ubiquinol to sustain optimum levels, helping to prevent both premature-aging and the onset of degenerative conditions.
An antioxidant with oomph
From the moment we wake up until we go to sleep – and during the time we spend sleeping – we burn energy, expose ourselves to environmental toxins and grow a little bit older, putting ourselves at risk of oxidative stress from the free radicals that our activities produce.
Because they’re damaged cells, free radicals act a bit like a tornado, ravaging all the cells they come into contact with, including nerve tissues, the linings of our organs and vessel walls.
The damage is called oxidative stress, and antioxidants are the storm chasers that can quiet the activity, remove the offending byproducts and protect cells from additional damage. (Ref. 2)
As one of the most potent antioxidants available, ubiquinol scavenges free radicals, protecting against oxidative stress, especially in cell membranes, strengthening them and making them more capable of performing functions including the absorption of hormones.
What’s so great about ubiquinol?
Levels of ubiquinol are the most concentrated in organs that use the most energy, including the heart, liver and kidneys, where the antioxidant helps to protect the organs from damage.
Research has shown that when problems develop in those organs, including congestive heart failure, levels of CoQ10 are usually quite low.
Two studies, both by Dr. Peter H. Langsjoen and his wife, Dr. Alena M. Langsjoen, found that low levels of ubiquinol appeared to be linked to incidents of congestive heart failure, although supplementing to boost levels significantly improved cardiovascular function.
“When you replenish ubiquinol, you can bring about just beautiful changes in heart muscle function that can't be explained in any other way. In other words, you're not changing the anatomy of valves in the heart, you're not changing the blood flow or the coronary circulation. So I think you could safely say that the majority of patients with failing hearts have as one of the fundamental problems an energy deficit or a weakening of heart muscle function,” Dr. Peter H. Langsjoen said in an online interview.
While ubiquinone CoQ10 has been more studied in heart health, ubiquinol is most readily absorbed, so the body can use it more efficiently and more quickly, Langsjoen said, making it a preferable option for cardiovascular health.
If you’re on statins, you need ubiquinol
As the top-selling medication in the world, statins are big business.
And while the medications reportedly help prevent the cardiovascular problems associated with high cholesterol, they also lower the levels of natural ubiquinol in the body.
A study that appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that patients using the statin Zocor (simvastatin) had a 22 percent decrease in their ubiquinol levels, while other studies have shown that levels of the antioxidant can be reduced by as much as 40 percent.
The loss of the antioxidant could contribute to some of the drug’s side effects, including nerve damage and the breakdown of muscle tissue. (Ref. 2)
At Xtend-Life, we recommend that those on statins take our Omega-3 QH Ultra Fish Oil, which includes genuine Kaneka QH Ubiquinol. While we use Ubiquinol, the more easily absorbed version of Coenzyme Q10 in this product, most other supplements on the market use CoQ10 in the form of ubiquinone, which is more difficult for our bodies to use, and essentially, renders the supplement much less effective.
It’s also important to remember that Ubiquinol is very unstable and if exposed to air it will quickly change to Ubiquinone, the much less active form of CoQ10. So, you have to be careful where you buy it from. We mix it into our fish oil as we can do so in controlled conditions under a nitrogen blanket so it never gets exposed to air. This is a very important process and something we’re proud of.