CoQ10 is also a fat-soluble antioxidant vitamin that plays an indispensable role in intracellular energy production.1 As a fat-soluble antioxidant it helps to stabilise cell membranes, preserving cellular integrity and function. It also helps to regenerate vitamin E to its antioxidant form.2 CoQ10 is a powerful antioxidant that buffers the potential adverse consequences of free radicals produced during oxidative phosphorylation in the inner mitochondrial membrane.1
What does CoQ10 do?
CoQ10’s primary functions include activity as an antioxidant, a membrane stabiliser, and as a cofactor in many metabolic pathways, particularly in the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) in oxidative respiration. Many of the therapeutic benefits of coenzyme Q10 are primarily attributed to its antioxidant effects and its role in the generation of ATP. 3
How do you supplement CoQ10?
There are two supplemental forms of CoQ10 available: ubiquinol and ubidecarenone. While it may seem logical to supplement with ubiquinol as it is the biologically active form of CoQ10 in the body, ubidecarenone remains the most studied form of COQ10. 4 Ubidecarenone is more shelf stable than ubiquinol.4
How is it absorbed?
CoQ10 is absorbed in a part of the small intestine known as the duodenum. It is converted to ubiquinol then passes to the lymph and is bound to cholesterol for transport.1 Inside to body, ubiquinol and ubiquinone are continually inter-converted within the cells as part of normal function of the coenzyme.4CoQ10 has notoriously low bioavailability.4 Recent advancements in nutrient delivery technologies have seen improved absorption and bioavailability of ubidecarenone powder by the modification of micelles, decreasing lipophilicity and particle size.5 The absorption of CoQ10 can also be improved by consuming with a meal.1
Are there any food sources of CoQ10?
Fish products contain the highest amounts of CoQ10. Lesser quantities can be found in cauliflower, broccoli, nut, spinach and soy. 1
1. Braun L & Cohen M,. Herbs and Natural Supplements an Evidence-Based Guide. 4th Ed. Elsevier; 2015.
2. Mason P. Dietary Supplements. Pharmaceutical Press; 2007.
3. Gregory, P J, et al; Natural Medicines. Therapeutic Research Centre; 2019.
4. Mantle D, Dybring A. Bioavailability of Coenzyme Q10: An Overview of the Absorption Process and Subsequent Metabolism. Antioxidants. 2020;9(5):386. doi:10.3390/antiox9050386
5. Pravst I, Rodríguez Aguilera JC, Cortes Rodriguez AB, et al. Comparative Bioavailability of Different Coenzyme Q10 Formulations in Healthy Elderly Individuals. Nutrients. 2020;12(3):784. doi:10.3390/nu12030784