What is the best form of Q10 to take?


Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a popular antioxidant supplement shown to benefit heart health, brain function, exercise performance and more. It’s available in different forms, including ubiquinone and ubiquinol. This article examines the evidence on which form of CoQ10 may be most effective.

What is the best form of Q10 to take?

Overview of CoQ10

CoQ10 is a compound produced naturally in the body that is also found in some foods. Here are some key facts:

  • It helps generate ATP energy that powers cell functions.
  • It also acts as a potent antioxidant within cell membranes.
  • Your body’s production peaks around age 20 then steadily declines.
  • Deficiencies become more common after age 40.
  • Statin medications block CoQ10 synthesis.
  • Food sources include meat, fish, seeds, nuts, oils and spinach.
  • Supplements may provide greater increases in CoQ10 levels than food alone.

Now let’s compare the major supplemental forms.

Ubiquinone vs Ubiquinol

There are two main forms of CoQ10 supplements:

Ubiquinone: The oxidized form and most common type of supplement. Your body converts it to ubiquinol.

Ubiquinol: The reduced, antioxidant form that your body uses. More bioavailable than ubiquinone.

Ubiquinol is a newer form of supplement claimed to offer better absorption. But is there evidence to support taking ubiquinol over ubiquinone?

Ubiquinol May Offer Better Absorption

Several studies comparing ubiquinone and ubiquinol supplements show:

  • Ubiquinol appears to produce larger increases in blood CoQ10 levels at equal doses.
  • In one study, 150 mg/day of ubiquinol increased blood CoQ10 3-fold more than ubiquinone.
  • Ubiquinol may provide up to 8 times greater bioavailability than ubiquinone based on area under the curve data.
  • Higher blood levels indicate greater absorption from the digestive tract.

The superior bioavailability of ubiquinol is likely due to better solubility in lipids and ease of absorption.

But next let’s look at clinical outcome measures.

Ubiquinol May Improve Endpoint markers

A few studies reveal ubiquinol also appears more effective for improving clinical biomarkers:

  • In congestive heart failure patients, ubiquinol increased ejection fraction 4% more than ubiquinone.
  • Ubiquinol was also superior for decreasing inflammation (hs-CRP) and oxidative stress.
  • Another study found ubiquinol, but not ubiquinone, improved endothelial function.
  • This indicates ubiquinol more effectively raises tissue CoQ10 levels needed for results.

However, some trials find little difference between the two forms in efficacy for endpoints like exercise performance. More data is still needed in this area.

Safety Profile and Side Effects

Both ubiquinone and ubiquinol appear similarly safe with very few side effects in research studies. Reported side effects include:

  • Mild insomnia or excitation
  • Upset stomach or nausea
  • Headaches, dizziness or fatigue

These effects are uncommon and typically resolve by reducing dosage.

However, there are some caveats with ubiquinol related to its greater bioavailability:

  • Increased absorption may raise risks for drug interactions.
  • The optimal dosage ranges for ubiquinol aren’t as well established.
  • The long-term safety of sustaining high blood levels of ubiquinol requires further study.

But within recommended dosing ranges, both forms are considered very safe supplements.

Dosage Recommendations

Ubiquinone has a well-established effective dosage range of 100-300 mg per day.

Based on enhanced absorption, ubiquinol doses are typically reduced to:

  • 100-200 mg per day

But some studies use up to 400 mg of ubiquinol without issues.

Dosages are also impacted by health status. Those with severe CoQ10 deficiency may benefit from higher intakes under medical guidance.

As with any new supplement, it’s wise to start low and increase gradually while monitoring effects.

Cost Differences Between Forms

The major downside of ubiquinol is the price. On average ubiquinol costs around 3-8 times more than ubiquinone.

A 100 mg dose typically costs:

  • Ubiquinone: $0.05 to $0.30
  • Ubiquinol: $0.60 to $1.80 (Cibdol Q10)

So while ubiquinol may offer advantages in some cases, the added cost may limit its feasibility for long-term daily use.

For those sensitive to price, ubiquinone remains an effective option at typical dosages of 100-200 mg per day.

Should Ubiquinol Be Taken with Food?

Unlike ubiquinone supplements, ubiquinol should be taken without food for optimal absorption.

Taking it with food appears to substantially reduce peak blood levels of ubiquinol. One study found a 4-fold decrease in absorption when taken with a high-fat meal.

For the full benefits, it’s best to take ubiquinol supplements at least 30-60 minutes before or after eating.

Who May Benefit Most From Ubiquinol?

While more research is still needed, the current evidence suggests ubiquinol may provide the greatest advantages over ubiquinone for:

  • Older adults over 50: declining CoQ10 production means better absorption from ubiquinol.
  • Those with digestive disorders: conditions like celiac disease impair nutrient absorption, favoring the more bioavailable ubiquinol form.
  • People taking statins: cholesterol medications deplete CoQ10, so maximizing absorption is beneficial.
  • Individuals with CoQ10-dependent disorders: includes hereditary CoQ10 deficiency and mitochondrial diseases.

For young, healthy adults already producing sufficient CoQ10, ubiquinone seems adequate in most cases.

Should You Switch from Ubiquinone to Ubiquinol?

There’s no need to switch if you are tolerating and receiving benefits from ubiquinone supplementation.

However, some signs ubiquinol may be worth trying include:

  • Difficulty achieving desired results or blood levels with ubiquinone.
  • Need to take very high ubiquinone doses for a therapeutic effect.
  • Impaired ability to absorb dietary fats and CoQ10.
  • Advanced age over 50 when CoQ10 production declines.

You can try switching to a lower dose of ubiquinol to see if it improves absorption or results.

How to Choose a Quality Ubiquinol Supplement

With any supplement, purity and quality are important. For ubiquinol, follow these purchasing tips:

  • Seek brands indicating 100 mg or more per capsule. Lower amounts may lack efficacy.
  • Look for products standardized to levels like 50-100 mg per dose.
  • Avoid products claiming unusually high ubiquinol amounts (400+ mg), which may indicate an unbalanced ratio with carriers.
  • Seek reputable brands that follow cGMP quality standards and provide CoA assays.
  • Ubiquinol degrades faster than ubiquinone, so refrigerated capsules in opaque packaging help maximize stability.

Following these guidelines can help you find an effective ubiquinol supplement for optimal potency.


  • Ubiquinol exhibits superior bioavailability compared to ubiquinone, resulting in higher blood levels when supplementing.
  • Some trials indicate better improvements in clinical biomarkers and outcomes like heart function with ubiquinol.
  • Safety and side effects are minimal for both forms at appropriate dosages.
  • Effective ubiquinol doses range from 100-200 mg daily but can be up to 400 mg.
  • Ubiquinol is significantly more expensive than ubiquinone.
  • Certain groups like the elderly and those with absorption issues may benefit most from ubiquinol.

What is the best form of Q10 to take? Conclusion

In summary, evidence suggests ubiquinol is a more bioavailable form that may offer advantages over ubiquinone supplements in some cases.

Specifically, older adults, those taking statins and people with digestive or absorption issues appear most likely to benefit from ubiquinol.

However, ubiquinone remains an effective option for increasing CoQ10 levels for the average healthy adult at a lower cost.

If you’ve struggled to achieve desired results with ubiquinone or have absorption issues, ubiquinol is worth considering. But it provides no clear advantage for general wellness in young, healthy people.

Work with a healthcare practitioner to weigh out which form of CoQ10 fits your needs and budget to maximize benefits.

Resources used to write this article

  • Ubiquinol vs ubiquinone absorption:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24414552 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22070157

  • Ubiquinol clinical outcomes:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21845307 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15229351

  • Safety profile:

https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/dietary-factors/coenzyme-Q10#safety https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12378087

  • Dosage recommendations:

https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/CoenzymeQ-10-HealthProfessional/ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22070157

  • Cost differences:

https://www.consumerlab.com/answers/which-is-better-ubiquinol-or-ubiquinone/coq10_ubiquinol_ubiquinone/ https://wellnessmama.com/56913/ubiquinol-vs-ubiquinone/

  • Ubiquinol with food:


  • Who may benefit from ubiquinol:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3782221/ https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/dietary-factors/coenzyme-Q10#deficiency

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