Ubiquinol: The little-known energy-boosting compound

Dr Sarah Brewer and nutritionist Rob Hobson examine the roll Ubiquinol plays as an energy producer and antioxidant in our cells.

Ubiquinol is a vitamin-like substance needed for energy production in cells. It is the active form of coenzyme Q10 and is one of the main antioxidants found inside your cells.

What does ubiquinol do?

There are two main forms of coenzyme Q10, ubiquinone and ubiquinol. These form a vital part of the mechanism (known as an electron transport chain) that generates energy within a cell’s batteries – its mitochondria. During this process, ubiquinol  donates an electrical charge in the form of an electron and is converted into the ‘spent’ form of ubiquinone. Ubiquinone must then accept an electron from somewhere else before it can convert back into the active form of the substance. This cycle repeats itself over and over within each cell every second of every day.  


Nurses who took supplements every day for 4 weeks experienced a significant reduction in physical symptoms related to job stress, had better work engagement and job satisfaction.[i]


The antioxidant improved symptoms of daily fatigue in healthy people who took 100mg per day for 12 weeks.[ii]

Exercise tolerance

A steady supply of ubiquinol is vital for muscles during exercise.[iii] Long distance runners who took supplements for 12 days during training had significant improvements in feelings of fatigue the day after a 45km run compared with those taking placebo. Blood tests also confirmed reduced muscle tissue damage.[iv]

Who’s deficient?

Your cells can make ubiquinol and ubiquinone but the amount they produce reduces with age. The amount of the antioxidant you make peaks in your 20s then tails off by around 10% every 10 years of age.[v]

At the same time, the efficiency with which coenzyme Q10 is absorbed from the diet also decreases. The ability to convert ubiquinone into biologically active ubiquinol also diminishes at a faster rate after the age of 50. This decreased availability means cells produce less energy and has been linked with many common complaints such as lethargy, fatigue, poor resilience to stress and to age-related health conditions such as high blood pressure and heart failure from mid-life onwards.

Statin drugs lower both ubiquinol and cholesterol levels by blocking an enzyme (HMG-CoA reductase) in the liver. As a result, statins lower blood levels of ubiquinol by around half within eight weeks.[vi] This lack may contribute to the muscle side effects and tiredness that some people experience when taking a statin. Taking supplements may help to reduce these unwanted side effects without affecting the cholesterol-lower benefits of statin treatment.[vii] 


The usual dose of the ubiquinol form of coenzyme Q10 is 100mg, which is equivalent to around 280mg ubiquinone coenzyme Q10.

Where can we get it?

Coenzyme Q10 is found in meats and plant-based foods. However, average adult dietary intakes of Coenzyme Q10 are relatively low and estimated at 3–5 mg daily among meat eaters and 1 mg daily among vegetarians.


Taking either form of co-enzyme Q10 will provide benefit but taking the ubiquinol form puts the process one step ahead. Within the circulation, more than 90% of coenzyme Q10 is present in the reduced ubiquinol form. Try Healthspan Ubiquinol, (60 capsules £34.95) a  highly absorbable form of coenzyme Q10 with vitamin B1 to support your heart health and energy metabolism. Just one capsule daily provides 100mg of ubiquinol, equivalent to 280mg of efficiently converted CoQ10.

[i] https://www.researchgate.net/publication/286103148_Usefulness_of_regular_intake_of_the_reduced_form_of_CoQ10_for_stress_management_for_workers

[ii] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7352232/  

[iii] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32003645/

[iv] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32003645/

[v]  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6627360/ 

[vi] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15942122

[vii]  https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/0098299794900280

A to Z of vitamins and minerals is a guide by Dr Sarah Brewer who is the Medical Director at wellbeing brand Healthspan and Rob Hobson who is a Registered Nutritionist.

Tags: Last modified: June 13, 2023

Written by 11:01 am A to Z of Vitamins