Browse the shelves of any health food store or surf the internet for dietary supplements that may support cardiovascular health, and you will likely come across a supplement called "coenzymeQ10." It's a micronutrient, meaning that you only need minute amounts for optimal health. Simply known as CoQ10, you may also find it in one its variant forms, namely "ubiquinone" or "ubiquinol." As with any supplement, consult your doctor before use, especially If you already have cardiovascular problems or any other medical condition.
Ubiquinol Vs. CoQ10
Ubiquinol is simply the reduced form of CoQ10 that serves as an antioxidant. By definition, antioxidants reduce oxidative stress. They do so by ridding your body of cell-damaging substances called free radicals. Ubiquinol and CoQ10 are both organic vitamin-like substances. However, unlike CoQ10, ubiquinol does not require vitamin E to function as an antioxidant. You may think of ubiquinol as the active version of CoQ10, even though CoQ10 does not completely lose its activity in the absence of vitamin E-rich food or dietary supplement.
CoQ10 and ubiquinol are functionally similar. Both compounds are extremely powerful antioxidants. They occur in nearly every cell and play key roles in energy production. As antioxidants, they scavenge free radicals, a type of very unstable, highly reactive and short-lived molecules that can come from airborne emissions, sunlight, chlorination, environmental pollution or metabolic reactions. Free radicals can damage and destroy healthy cells, leading to premature aging and a number of conditions, including heart disease and cancer. By neutralizing free radicals, CoQ10 and ubiquinol help prevent damage to your cells.
Heart Health Benefits
CoQ10 and its reduced form ubiquinol are best known for their heart disease prevention and treatment benefits. They are effective because they improve energy production in heart cells, inhibit potential blood clot formation and reduce oxidative stress. Indeed, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center, heart attack patients who take CoQ10 supplements are less likely to die from heart disease than patients who do not. Also, patients who experience heart failure often have low levels of CoQ10, making supplementation of great benefit. However, CoQ10 or ubiquinol alone will not prevent heart attacks, because other lifestyle and dietary factors also play important roles.
Other Potential Benefits
University of Miami School of Medicine researchers Niven R. Narain and Indushekhar Persaudat report CoQ10's ability to block a protein involved in cancer development. According to Narain and Persaudat, CoQ10 can be useful in the prevention or treatment of a number of cancers, particularly melanomas. People with high cholesterol tend to have low levels of CoQ10 and some cholesterol-lowering prescription medications also block CoQ10 production in your body. Taking CoQ10 or ubiquinol supplements can help restore normal blood levels, says physician Peter Langsjoen, M.D. CoQ10 supplementation may also improve high blood pressure and blood sugar control in diabetics, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.
- Linus Pauling Institute: Possible Health Benefits of Coenzyme Q10; Roland Stocker, Ph.D.
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Coenzyme Q10
- University of Washington Faculty Page: Introduction to Coenzyme Q10; PETER H. LANGSJOEN, M.D.
- University of Miami Medical School; UM Miller School Researchers Identify How Coq10 Fights Cancer, Present Findings at Top International Cancer Conference; Kelly Kaufhold
- VitaminLife.org: Free Radicals and Antioxidants
- vitamins image by Roman A. Kozlov from Fotolia.com
This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.