What's the Best Form of CoQ10?
I feel coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is critical to your health—especially as you age. This compound is the spark that fuels energy production in every cell in your body, including your heart, which is your body’s biggest energy user.
What I’ve found is that as you get older your heart is more vulnerable to lack of oxygen and other stressors including emotional stress, anxiety, and depression. What makes your heart so vulnerable, I believe, is falling levels of CoQ10 in the heart tissue.
That’s because as you age your body’s natural production of CoQ10 declines. Plus, if you’re taking statin medications, your body’s level of CoQ10 is depleted even further. Just as important as taking CoQ10 is making sure you’re taking it in the right form...which can be tougher than you might think.
Ubiquinone vs. Ubiquinol
Most supplement manufacturers push the ubiquinol form of CoQ10 telling consumers it's better because it’s what your body makes naturally. But quite frankly, the marketing claims surrounding ubiquinol aren’t all they’re cracked up to be.
Ubiquinol has become commercially available in the past few years, and some distributors are calling it a "major improvement" in CoQ10 supplementation. That’s because it’s identical to the CoQ10 your body makes naturally, so they feel it’s faster and easier for your body to use.
The biggest claim is that ubiquinol can be absorbed up to eight times better than other forms of CoQ10. Yet, I haven’t seen solid evidence to back up that claim. In fact, for years I’ve used the ubiquinone form of CoQ10 with great success.
There have been some absorption problems with the ubiquinone form of CoQ10, primarily when taken as a powder-filled capsule. However, the type of ubiquinone that I use—and have recommended to patients—is a high-quality hydrosoluble form that has superior absorption.
Unraveling the Facts From the Fiction
I did my own informal study of 12 volunteers. Half of the participants took either 200 mg of ubiquinol or 200 mg of ubiquinone for the first month. In the second month, I had them take nothing. In the third month, the participants switched to the other form of CoQ10.
I checked their CoQ10 blood levels each month and found that both groups achieved excellent results, with ubiquinol resulting in only slightly higher levels in most people—making it not worth the higher cost. Plus, in one person, ubiquinol actually resulted in a significantly lower CoQ10 blood level when compared to ubiquinone.
More importantly, I was disturbed by feedback from several volunteers who complained of fatigue when they took ubiquinol. I also heard about complaints of fatigue from two respected colleagues who are nutrition experts.
One said she felt considerable fatigue after starting ubiquinol—something I’ve never heard from anyone taking ubiquinone. On the contrary, the usual feedback from ubiquinone takers is that they feel they have more energy, not less.
The Bottom Line...
Based on this feedback, the fact that all of my study participants had approximately equal blood levels of CoQ10—not to mention the fact that ubiquinone costs less than ubiquinol—I see no reason to switch. I’m sticking with hydrosoluble ubiquinone as the best kind of CoQ10 supplement.
So, how much should you take? I suggest that healthy people under age 60 take a minimum daily dose of 50 to 100 mg of hydrosoluble CoQ10 to improve the metabolic efficiency of their cardiovascular system. If you’re over 60 or on a statin drug, I recommend to my patients that they should increase their CoQ10 to 100 to 200 mg daily. If you had recent heart surgery, heart attack or congestive heart failure, I recommend 200 to 300 mg daily.
A general rule of thumb with CoQ10 is the sicker the individual, the more CoQ10 is required. One of the mysteries, and highly beneficial qualities of CoQ10, is that it will help to “rescue” any tissue in need.
I also recommend dividing the dosages, taking half of your daily CoQ10 in the morning and the rest in the afternoon. That’s because when CoQ10 is taken twice a day, as opposed to one, the blood levels are much higher.
There’s no question that CoQ10 is an absolutely essential nutraceutical for most medicine chests. And remember, when CoQ10 is converted to hydrosoluble form, it provides even greater energy and helps you maintain heart health.
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Meet Dr. Sinatra
Dr. Stephen Sinatra is a highly respected and sought-after cardiologist and nutritionist with more than 30 years of clinical practice, research, and study. His integrative approach to heart health focuses on reducing inflammation in the body and maximizing the heart's ability to produce and use energy. More About Dr. Sinatra
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