Ubiquinol outperforms ubiquinone in enhancing CoQ10 status in older men
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) exerts its functions in the body through the ability of its benzoquinone head group to accept and donate electrons. The main function is to transfer electrons in the electron transport chain to produce ATP and serve as an important lipophilic antioxidant.
Ubiquinone is the oxidized form of CoQ10, often formulated in commercial supplements, and must be reduced to ubiquinol after consumption in order for CoQ10 to function. So whether ubiquinol is more effective at enhancing CoQ10 status in older men than ubiquinone.
For older men, ubiquinol appears to be a better supplement form than ubiquinone for enhancing CoQ10 status. Neither ubiquinol nor ubiquinone supplementation affected measured oxidative stress biomarkers.
Difference Between Ubiquinol and Ubiquinone
Ubiquinol and ubiquinone are both forms of CoQ10 (coenzyme Q10), an antioxidant commonly used to support fertility, heart health, and overall health. Antioxidants are essential for protecting the body's cells from free radicals and oxidative stress, which can lead to chronic disease and damage sperm health.
From a chemical perspective, the main difference between ubiquinol and ubiquinone is that ubiquinol is the reduced form of CoQ10, while ubiquinone is the oxidized form. This means that ubiquinone has more electrons than ubiquinol. But does this small—like microscopic—difference really change how they operate?
CoQ10 is naturally produced in the body and helps all cells produce energy; it is highest in organs with high metabolic rates, such as the heart, kidneys, spleen and liver. In the body, CoQ10 molecules actually switch back and forth between oxidized and reduced forms. Both ubiquinol and ubiquinone supplements are safe, and studies show they function similarly in the body.
Is ubiquinol better than ubiquinone?
Some researchers hypothesize that ubiquinol is more "bioavailable." Bioavailability is a term that refers to the ability of a drug or other substance to be absorbed and utilized by the body. In a 2018 study of older men, two weeks of ubiquinol supplementation increased CoQ10 activity compared to ubiquinone supplementation. However, research results have been mixed.
A 2020 study found no statistically significant difference in bioavailability between ubiquinol and ubiquinone. Even when ingested as ubiquinone, CoQ10 appears almost exclusively in the blood as ubiquinone, indicating the body's ability to convert the coenzyme into its most efficient form.
Another 2019 study showed that the type of supplement is actually more important than the form of CoQ10 when it comes to bioavailability. After testing seven different supplements, researchers found that softgel capsules containing either ubiquinone or ubiquinol were the most effective.
Considering these studies, there is no strong evidence that ubiquinol is better when taken in supplement form.
There is no statistically significant difference in bioavailability between ubiquinol and ubiquinone. Even when ingested as ubiquinone, CoQ10 appears almost exclusively as ubiquinol in the blood, indicating the body's ability to convert the antioxidant into its most effective form.
Benefits of Ubiquinone CoQ10
One noteworthy thing about ubiquinone CoQ10 is its history. There have been thousands of clinical trials using ubiquinone CoQ10, including fertility studies and heart health studies, but there have been very few clinical trials using ubiquinone. (This does not mean that ubiquinol is less effective. Studies show that when comparing ubiquinol to ubiquinone, they function similarly and are relatively bioavailable.)
Ubiquinone appears to be more stable and less expensive to make than ubiquinol.
Benefits of taking ubiquinone CoQ10 include:
- Same absorption rate as panthenol
- Safety backed by thousands of clinical trials
- May enhance heart function, prevent migraines, support healthy skin, reduce fatigue, act as an antidepressant, reduce inflammation, and combat infertility in both men and women.
Using Ubiquinone CoQ10 to Promote Fertility
As mentioned above, CoQ10 is an antioxidant, a compound that protects body cells from free radicals and oxidative stress.
Free radicals are unstable molecules that are natural byproducts of everyday life, such as toxin exposure, disease, and poor lifestyle. If left unchecked, free radicals can cause damage to our cells. This damage is called "oxidative stress" and can be detrimental to sperm health.
Oxidative stress has been linked to male infertility and is present in 30-80% of cases of infertility. Men's sperm quality tends to decline with age; CoQ10 levels also decline with age, making high-energy functions like sperm development less efficient and more difficult. (CoQ10 levels in women can also decrease, which can also affect women's fertility.)
As early as 1997, researchers studied CoQ10's correlation with sperm health. Research shows that supplementing with CoQ10 as part of a healthy lifestyle can enhance fertility and may improve sperm concentration, motility (ability to swim) and morphology (size and shape of sperm). This research includes:
In a 2009 study, patients with reduced sperm motility were treated with 200 mg of CoQ10 daily for six months. Over the course of the study, antioxidant levels in patients' semen increased and sperm motility improved.
In a 2013 study, men with low sperm counts and poor motility/morphology also received 200 mg of CoQ10 daily for three months. The supplement group was associated with significant improvements in sperm morphology compared to the placebo group.
In a 2020 study that compiled data from three clinical trials of CoQ10, researchers found that CoQ10 supplementation had a profound impact on sperm motility over a period of 3-6 months.
Since many energy-dependent processes in sperm cells rely on the availability of CoQ10, many male fertility supplements contain ubiquinol or ubiquinone.
What type of CoQ10 does Legacy supplement contain?
Legacy's Sperm Health Coenzyme Q10 supplement contains ubiquinone, which is designed to enhance sperm concentration, motility and morphology. Legacy's supplement comes in a softgel form, which research shows is the most effective delivery form of CoQ10.
Each capsule contains 100 mg of CoQ10 antioxidants and healthy plant-based fats. This supplement is ideal for anyone who wants to enhance sperm health, is pregnant, or is considering freezing sperm.