One such study showed that ubiquinol had significant decelerating effects on aging problems in middle-aged mice. The mice were given either ubiquinol for ubiquinone 6 or 14 months, then the conditions of their livers, hearts, brains and kidneys were examined.
According to the study, as reported by Green Med Info:
"Stringent evaluation of the resulting data revealed that [ubiquinol] has a stronger impact on gene expression than [ubiquinone], primarily due to differences in the bioavailability. Indeed, [ubiquinol] supplementation was more effective ... to increase levels of CoQ(10) in the liver".
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is the fifth most popular supplement in the United States, taken by about 53 percent of Americans, according to a 2010 survey by ConsumerLab.com. This is a good thing as one in every four Americans over 45 is taking a statin and every single one of these individuals needs to be taking CoQ10.
No doubt it's become popular for a reason -- CoQ10 is actually used by every cell in your body. In fact, it is so important for your body's daily functions that it is also known as "ubiquinone" because it's 'ubiquitous' in the human body.
What you may not know, however, is that to benefit from the form of the nutrient needed to produce cellular energy and help you reduce the typical signs of aging, your body must convert the ubiquinone to the reduced form of Coenzyme Q10, ubiquinol -- and research is showing that this reduced form may actually be superior for your health in a number of ways. Ubiquinol is actually a FAR more effective form of CoQ10—I personally take one a day as it has far-ranging health benefits.
If You're Over 25, the Reduced Form of CoQ10 May be Better for You
If you're under 25 years old your body is capable of converting CoQ10 from the oxidized to the reduced form. However, if you're older, your body becomes more and more challenged to convert the oxidized CoQ10 to ubiquinol. Aside from aging, numerous other factors can also impact this conversion process, including:
Increased metabolic demand Oxidative stress Insufficient dietary CoQ10 intake Deficiency of factors required for biosynthesis and ubiquinol conversion Potential effects from illness and disease Age-related changes in your genes
If you're over 40, I would highly recommend taking the reduced form of coenzyme Q10 because it's far more effectively absorbed by your body. Some reports say your CoQ10 level decline becomes apparent as early as your 20's, however, so I generally recommend it from age 25 and beyond. If you're younger than 25, your body should absorb regular CoQ10 just fine.
An Important Message if You Take Statin Drugs
If you take statin drugs to lower cholesterol, making sure you take ubiquinol is even more important. These drugs work by reducing an enzyme in your liver, which not only reduces the production of cholesterol, but it also reduces the production of coenzyme Q10. When you lower the production of CoQ10, you increase your risk of a variety of different health problems.
Premature aging is one primary side effect of having too little CoQ10 because this essential vitamin recycles other antioxidants, such as vitamin C and E.
CoQ10 deficiency also accelerates DNA damage, and because CoQ10 is beneficial to heart health and muscle function this depletion leads to fatigue, muscle weakness, soreness and eventually heart failure. Therefore, it is absolutely vital to supplement with CoQ10 if you're taking a statin drug.
It's also important to supplement right from the start. According to Dr. Duane Graveline, a family doctor with 23 years experience and a former astronaut, once the mitochondrial damage and mutations are formed they cannot be reversed—no matter how much CoQ10 you take. So early intervention is key. Dr. Graveline goes into further detail of how CoQ10 offers protection against mitochondrial DNA damage in this interview, so for more information, please listen to it in its entirety.
As for dosage, Dr. Graveline makes the following recommendation:
- If you have symptoms of statin damage such as muscle pain, take anywhere from 200 to 500 mg
- If you just want to use it preventively, 200 mg or less should be sufficient
In my view it is medical malpractice to prescribe a statin drug without recommending one take CoQ10, or better yet ubiquinol. Unfortunately, many doctors fail to inform their patients of this fact.
Research Highlights Ubiquinol's Superior Benefits
As I said, a reduced form of Coenzyme Q10 called ubiquinol is one of the few supplements I consider highly beneficial for most adults, as it allows you to become less dependent on your body to convert ubiquinone to ubiquinol. Remember, in the plasma of healthy humans, more than 90 percent of CoQ10 exists in the reduced form.
With ubiquinol you can absorb CoQ10 that's already in the active state your body needs, which translates into proven health benefits. For instance, an animal study found that the reduced form of CoQ10 (ubiquinol) may be more effective at slowing down aging than the oxidized form (ubiquinone). Other studies have also shown distinct differences between the reduced form and oxidized form on markers of cholesterol metabolism and reducing oxidative stress.
Why CoQ10 and Reduced CoQ10 are So Important
CoQ10 is required for your cells to produce energy, and is an integral part of helping cells take fat and other substances and convert them into usable energy. CoQ10 can also help protect your body from free radical damage. Free radicals are oxygen atoms deficient in electrons that become highly reactive. This in turn causes potential damage to your tissues and DNA.
It is because of its powerful antioxidant protection that CoQ10 is often recommended for a wide variety of heart-related conditions, such as heart attack, high blood pressure and congestive heart failure, which require extra protection from free radical damage.
CoQ10 has actually been the subject of thousands of research studies, and may:
Help you produce more energy for your cells Reduce the risk of fatty liver in people with obesity Boost your heart health Act as an antioxidant to protect you from free radicals Help you reduce the signs of normal aging Help you maintain blood pressure levels within the normal range Provide a boost to your immune system Support your nervous system
There's also evidence that CoQ10/ubiquinol is beneficial for Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease, and even cancer, and that large doses may be justified in those cases.
In addition, CoQ10 is believed to play an important role in preventing premature aging in general by preventing telomere shortening, which can slow or potentially even reverse the aging process. This is just one of the additional benefits of CoQ10, and one of the reasons why I take ubiquinol daily even though I've never been on a statin drug.
Tips for Finding High-Quality Ubiquinol
CoQ10 is found in certain types of food, including fish, organ meats (such as liver, kidney and heart), and the germs of whole grains. However, food concentrations are not well documented, so it is difficult to determine how much of this nutrient you can get from food alone, and it may be difficult to achieve therapeutic levels from dietary sources.
Fortunately, there are no reported side effects of CoQ10 supplementation, and I have not heard of anyone overdosing on it. The only drawback is cost. However, if you're taking ubiquinol, here's some cost-saving information for you. There is a patent on ubiquinol so every brand has to purchase it from the same company, so if you decide to use it pick a company that you trust.