CoQ10, Ubiquinone and Ubiquinol

Ubiquinone and Ubiquinol: What are the differences?

With so many benefits for the body, in so many places, it’s appropriate that CoQ10 should also be known by the medical term ubiquinone. A ubiquitous substance, found the cells of the body, coenzyme Q10 , was originally discovered in 1957 by scientists from the Merck pharmaceutical company. They used the number 10 in reference to its biochemical structure (10 isoprenoid units on its side chain), but apart from assigning the name that stuck, they didn’t do much to explore its properties.


The Japanese began testing CoQ10 on humans in 1963, and by 1976 it was “placed on the formulary” (that is, accepted as a d medicine) for Japanese hospitals. In 1978, Peter Mitchell was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his studies of energy production in the human body, which led to hypotheses on how CoQ10 works and how it relates to heart disease.

From that time on, hundreds of studies on CoQ10 have been done in Japan, the United States, and other countries. (So much of the research has been done by Dr. Karl Folkers of the University of Texas that he is often referred to as the “father of coenzyme Q10″) By the mid 1990s coenzyme Q10 was widely accepted in the health-food industry as a popular supplement to help improve heart health. Unfortunately, even today, there are many cardiologists who do not recommend CoQ10.

CoQ10 is found in high amounts in meat and fish. Nuts are also a source as are some vegetables like broccoli and spinach. The body manufactures CoQ10 from the amino acid tyrosine. This synthesis requires the action of vitamins C, B2, B6, B12, folic acid, niacin, and pantothenic acid. Another important function of CoQ10 is that it works to recycle vitamin E.