Ubiquinol vs CoQ10: how are they different?

CoQ10 comes in many forms, with ubiquinol being the most reduced and ubiquinone being the most oxidized, contributing to CoQ10’s versatility in the body.

8 mins to read

The human body is composed of billions of different molecules. Many molecules have significant differences like proteins and lipids. They differ in both chemical composition and general structure.

While there are molecules that have glaringly obvious differences, there are some that only differ slightly yet they have very different functions within the body. One such example is that between ubiquinol and CoQ10.

Often times CoQ10 and ubiquinol are utilized interchangeably and while they are very similar, they serve different functions within the body.

Below is a deeper look into how these two molecules differ as well as the science behind reduction-oxidation reactions and how they can impact your health.

Having a more thorough understanding of CoQ10 and its derivatives can ensure you know what exactly you are getting when looking to support your cellular health through supplements.

Redox reactions

Chemistry is a huge part of the human body and understanding health. Understanding the basics of chemistry in the body does not require a chemistry degree and is actually a fairly easy concept to grasp.

An important type of reaction within the human body is known as the redox reaction. Redox reactions stand for reduction-oxidation reactions. At its most basic level, redox reactions are a reaction in which two molecules interact and transfer electrons from one molecule to another. The molecule that is the oxidizing agent takes electrons from the other molecule while a reducing agent gives electrons to the other molecule.

There are a number of examples of redox reactions occurring within the body but one of the most prominent is during the process known as cellular respiration, where your cells create the energy source of the cell known as ATP from carbohydrates and oxygen.

One of the most notorious redox reactions is those caused by radical oxidative species (ROS) within the body. ROS is considered a highly unstable oxidizing agent that will take electrons from nearby structures and molecules when left unchecked. This results in a condition known as oxidative stress. Antioxidants act as a reducing agent and can help to keep ROS at bay and from causing damage.

How redox reactions impact the body

While it is interesting to know more about the reactions occurring at a cellular level with redox reactions, ultimately understanding how these small changes can lead to larger issues to your health and wellness is equally as important.

Below is a closer look at the ways that redox balance plays an important role in your overall health and how oxidative stress can impact your overall health and wellbeing.


DNA is a vital cellular molecule that provides a detailed set of instructions for how to build proteins and how to make them. DNA is a molecule that is highly protected within the human body as DNA malfunction can lead to a number of potentially life-threatening conditions such as cancer.

Oxidative stress is a condition that can threaten DNA safety as reactive oxygen species may interact with the DNA molecule and steal electrons off of its structure.

Luckily there are a number of DNA repair mechanisms in our cells, but ultimately it can only repair so much, and if oxidative stress is persistent enough it can lead to DNA damage and the potential for a number of detrimental health outcomes.

Heart health

Recent studies have looked into the potential implications of increases in oxidative stress and one finding was that it can have negative impacts on overall heart health. Specifically, oxidative stress may be linked and have a role in the hardening of arteries, high blood pressure, and other heart conditions.

MitoQ Heart is a great way to support optimal heart help while also supporting your mitochondria against radical oxygen species. When you consistently take two 5mg capsules per day, MitoQ Heart can effectively provide your heart with some much-needed support to help combat oxidative stress and give it a healthy helping of supportive nutrients.

Brain health

The brain consumes a large amount of your daily energy requirements because it is constantly on and working to keep you alive. The mitochondria within the brain are some of the busiest as they constantly need to be turning over ATP. Mitochondria that are impacted by oxidative stress can begin to decrease mitochondrial efficiency - and in the brain, this is not ideal.

MitoQ Brain is a supplement tailor-made to help support optimal brain health and functioning while also helping to restore mitochondrial efficiency by giving it a vital membrane antioxidant. Since MitoQ can readily pass through the blood-brain barrier, it makes it a great antioxidant supplement for helping the brain ward off oxidative stress.

Ubiquinol vs. CoQ10

Within the human body, there are molecules that play important roles in multiple derived states.

A prime example of this is the energy molecules AMP, ADP, and ATP. All of these molecules are derived from the same molecule but differ in the number of phosphates attached to the molecule.

ATP stands for adenosine triphosphate. ADP and AMP are adenosine di- and monophosphate, respectively. Phosphate groups convey energy at a cellular level and ATP is utilized to assist many cellular functions. When ATP is spent it then becomes ADP which can have another phosphate cleaved for energy or it can be recharged by adding back a phosphate group.

There is a similar relationship between ubiquinol and CoQ10, also known as ubiquinone. As opposed to a different number of phosphates, the forms of CoQ10 differ based upon oxidation states.

CoQ10 comes in three distinct oxidation states, and those are ubiquinol, ubisemiquinone, and ubiquinone.

Ubiquinol is the most reduced form of CoQ10 and is the form that has the most antioxidant power. Ubiquinone on the other hand provides the mitochondria with an electron shuttle to help create ATP.

Below is a closer look at the different functions of the ubiquinone family of molecules. Understanding what forms of ubiquinone do can be important in ensuring the supplements you are buying as having the desired effects you are looking for.

Lipid soluble antioxidant

Ubiquinol has antioxidant properties which means it can act as a reducing agent and help to neutralize reactive oxygen species. The unique structure of ubiquinol allows the molecule to be integrated into the membranes of the body. This provides a layer of protection against oxidative damage.

The oxidative protective effects of ubiquinol make it an important molecule in the fight against free radicals and reactive oxygen species. One of its most important protective roles is within the mitochondrial membrane where oxidative agents are frequently produced as a result of aerobic respiration.

Having ubiquinol at the ready helps to avoid the mitochondria from feeling the effects of oxidative stress such as reduced efficiency.

Electron shuttle

The mitochondria are a structure that coordinates highly specific and delicate chemical reactions. It is responsible for the conversion of carbohydrates and oxygen into ATP and carbon dioxide. To accomplish this the mitochondria utilize a number of different redox reactions, and one of the most important of these is the electron transport chain.

The electron transport chain can be thought of as a series of redox reactions that occur within the mitochondrial membrane one after another, essentially allowing electrons to pass in a chain-like way. This movement of electrons allows for the mitochondria to actively pump hydrogen ions into its intermembrane space. The high concentration of hydrogen ions is then the driving force for ATP synthase to create ATP from ADP.

Best supplement to support mitochondria

Both CoQ10 and ubiquinol are derived from the same core molecule and because of this, they have many of the same properties.

If you are in the market for a means of supporting cellular health and mitochondrial health, CoQ10 can be an option many people consider. One of the downsides of CoQ10 supplements is that they suffer from low bioavailability, which essentially means that the body has a difficult time absorbing and implementing it where it needs to go.

MitoQ is the answer to help solve the problem of low bioavailability plagued by traditional CoQ10 supplements. MitoQ is up to 1000 times more effective at entering the mitochondria than standard CoQ10 supplements. This is possible because it’s been made smaller and a positive charge has been added that allows it to more readily cross membranes and integrate where it is needed most.

MitoQ can help support optimal mitochondrial function by combating free radical damage and helping to restore oxidative balance.


Ubiquinol is the more reduced form of CoQ10. Ubiquinol contains more electrons which allow it to act as a lipid-soluble antioxidant that is able to protect cellular structures and membranes from oxidative damage.

CoQ10 on the other hand is the most oxidized form and it is an important molecule in the electron transport chain.

Both molecules are important within the body and play specific and distinct roles in your overall health.

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