– An important protein for health comes in two forms: active and regular.
COENZYME Q10 (CoQ10) isn’t new to most people. In recent years, CoQ10 has garnered positive reviews among the medical profession, especially cardiologists, for promoting energy and heart health, but most people might not be aware that there are actually two different forms of this important protein.
Over the past 30 years, thousands upon thousands of people worldwide have been taking CoQ10 as a daily supplement.
Many people however, are unaware that CoQ10 exists in two forms in our body.
The regular form of CoQ10, known as ubiquinone, is produced by our body, and then converted into the metabolically active form (ubiquinol) – one of the most powerful lipid-soluble antioxidants produced in our body.
As ubiquinol is such a powerful antioxidant, it is easily oxidised in the air. This makes it a huge challenge to keep it stable in a dietary supplement.
That is why, despite being aware of ubiquinol, scientists and researchers were unable to produce a stable form of it outside the body.
It took them more than a decade to stabilise this active form of CoQ10 for use in supplements.
But now that this has been accomplished, clinical trials have so far shown that the stabilised form of ubiquinol is more absorbable than regular form CoQ10.
Coenzyme Q10 defined
CoQ10 is vital for life. It is made in virtually every cell of the human body and is essential to produce energy.
We need to produce enough energy to do our daily activities, keep our hearts beating, our brains thinking and limbs moving.
Energy is also needed for maintenance and repair when cells get injured, or to make new cells when cells die.
Besides increasing energy levels, CoQ10 is a powerful antioxidant that protects our body from harmful free radical damage.
However, once past 50 years of age, our body’s CoQ10 production drops drastically. Our ability to convert regular CoQ10 to the active form also diminishes.
This then affects our body’s ability to rejuvenate itself and protect us from excessive free radical damage, resulting in feelings of tiredness and weakness.
Ubiquinol, or the active form, is the predominant form of CoQ10 in a healthy body.
About 90% of our plasma CoQ10 is in active form, while most CoQ10 supplements in the market are regular form.
However, only ubiquinol is an antioxidant, while ubiquinone – the regular form – is not.
Good for diabetics
Aside from heart conditions, CoQ10 is also recommended as a supplement for people who have diabetes.
Singaporean researchers found in one study that diabetics have approximately 75% less ubiquinol in their bodies, compared to non-diabetics.
Another study showed that ubiquinol significantly improved the HbA1c levels of type 2 diabetic patients, meaning that their blood sugar levels were much better controlled.
As with diabetics, scientists found similar loss of ubiquinol in people with liver disorders, as these conditions increase free radical damage.
Researchers at the University of Tokyo, Japan, showed that patients with hepatitis, cirrhosis and liver cancer, all showed a decrease in ubiquinol levels.
So, those past 50 years of age, who feel constantly tired and weak, or suffer from any age-related chronic health conditions, should try supplementing themselves with the active form of CoQ10 to help protect and re-energise their ageing bodies.
For those already taking CoQ10 supplements, check the label. If it states ubiquinone or ubicarenone, then you are taking the regular form, and might want to consider changing to the more beneficial active form. If you are unsure, please check with your pharmacist.