March 2008 - Please Note: The following FAQ was provided to iHerb
by Kaneka Corp. For more information about CoQ 10, visit
Kaneka's web site.
1. Coenzyme Q10 is an important cofactor functioning in both energy metabolism
and as an important lipophilic antioxidant.
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a lipid soluble enzyme cofactor and naturally found in nearly
every cell, tissue and organ in your body. CoQ10 is acquired through biosynthesis,
supplementation and in small amounts from the diet. CoQ10 has an established role
in cellular energy production. The antioxidant action of the reduced form of CoQ10
(ubiquinol) is now considered to be one of its most important functions in cellular
systems. Ubiquinol is a potent lipophilic antioxidant capable of regenerating other
antioxidants and provides important protection against oxidative damage to lipids,
proteins and DNA. Recent studies also reveal function in gene expression involved
in human cell signaling, metabolism and transport.
2. Only Kaneka Q10TM has Self Affirmed GRAS (Generally Regarded As Safe) status
supported by extensive safety studies that have been published in scientific refereed
Of all of the commercially available CoQ10 products on the market only Kaneka Q10TM
is supported by extensive safety studies and has obtained Self-Affirmed GRAS status.
3. Commercial CoQ10 is manufactured by two different processes.
There are in fact three different processes employed to manufacture CoQ10: 1. The
yeast fermentation method 2. A fermentation process using bacteria and 3. A synthetic
method that uses solanesol derived from tobacco as starting material.
4. Kaneka Corporation, the worlds largest CoQ10 manufacturer, has been manufacturing
CoQ10 using the proven yeast fermentation method for over 30 years. Most other CoQ10
manufacturers have been in operation less than five years.
Kaneka Q10TM is the worlds only yeast fermented CoQ10. It is the recognized industry
standard, with the highest purity and it is the most bio-identical to what humans
produce in vivo. Other producers of CoQ10 utilize bacterial fermentation or chemical
synthesis using solanesol from tobacco.
5. All CoQ10 products are manufactured by companies here in the US.
Kaneka is the only company that manufactures CoQ10 in the USA as well as in Takasago,
Japan. International Food and Pharmaceutical GMPs are strictly adhered to at both
6. The thousands of scientific studies focused on the biochemistry and health
benefits of CoQ10 published worldwide over the past thirty years have been conducted
using predominantly Kaneka Q10.
In all of the critical large-scale NIH granted and FDA approved Phase I, II and
now Phase III clinical studies evaluating the health benefits of CoQ10 for Huntington’s
Disease, Parkinson’s Disease and ALS only Kaneka Q10TM has been approved and used
in these studies conducted in major medial centers in the US.
Kaneka Q10TM has been used in the vast majority of clinical trials over the past
three decades, including FDA approved and National Institutes of Health (NIH) funded
7. Coenzyme Q10 exists in only one functional form in the body.
Coenzyme Q10 exist in at least three functional forms in the body. Formally there
are three active biological forms of CoQ10 of metabolic interest – CoQ ubiquinone
– CoQH ubisemiquinone – CoQH2 ubiquinol. They are all metabolically active – see
8. There is a very significant difference between the reduced form of CoQ10
(ubiquinol) and the oxidized CoQ10 form (ubiquinone) that has been commercially
available from Kaneka for over thirty years.
There is a simple structural difference but a very significant functional metabolic
difference between ubiquinone (the oxidized CoQ10 form) and ubiquinol (the reduced
CoQ10 form). Ubiquinol has two additional hydrogens (with the addition of two electrons)
as seen below on the left.
This enzymatically driven conversion (from ubiquinone to ubiquinol) in the mitochondria
facilitates the critical transfer of electrons in the mitochondrial electron transport
chain which is fundamental to subsequent ATP production.Additionally, it is the
transfer of these reducing agents that confer the strong lipid soluble active antioxidant
activity of the ubiquinol form in plasma and tissues. Over 90% of the CoQ10 in the
plasma of a healthy young individual is in the reduced ubiquinol form. Ubiquinol
is considered to be the strongest lipid soluble antioxidant that is biosynthesized,
providing an active defense against oxidative insult to lipids, proteins and DNA.
9. Ubiquinone is lipid soluble and ubiquinol is water soluble.
Both ubiquinone and ubiquinol are lipid soluble.
10. Ubiquinone is biosynthesized but ubiquinol is not.
Both are generated naturally in our bodies. Ubiquinone is biosynthesized as with
most all redox active cofactors (FAD, NAD, etc). The oxidized form is biosynthesized
and the reduced forms (ubiquinol, NADH, FADH, etc) are naturally derived (biosynthesized)
via reversible cellular enzymatic systems.
11. Only ubiquinone is required – not ubiquinol – for cellular ATP production.
All forms of CoQ10 are critical for ATP production. Without the reversible transfer
of electrons (hydrogens) between ubiquinone and ubiquinol there would be no electron
transport in the mitochondrial Electron Transport Chain – which means there would
be no production of cellular energy in the form of ATP.
12 All forms of CoQ10 are metabolically important.
13. All forms of CoQ10 are found at the same levels in the plasma of healthy
Over 90% of the CoQ10 in the plasma of a healthy young individual is in the reduced
ubiquinol form. Ubiquinol is considered to be the strongest lipid soluble antioxidant
that is biosynthesized, providing an active defense against oxidative insult to
lipids, proteins and DNA.
14. Ingested ubiquinone is effectively converted (reduced) to ubiquinol in young
Normally, when you ingest CoQ10 either from food or a supplement, the ubiquinone
form generally follows the digestive path of most lipids – it is first incorporated
into chylomicrons, reduced in the small intestine and shuttled through the lymphatic
system to the circulation. The supplemental ubiquinol form – Kaneka QHTM – is already
reduced (has the added two electrons) and seems to be more readily absorbed as indicated
by enhanced blood plasma levels – where it functions as a strong lipid soluble antioxidant
and is further distributed to tissues.
15. Ubiquinol seems to produce a higher level of bioavailability than ubiquinone.
Studies published in refereed scientific journals indicate that ubiquinol may provide
greater absorption based on resulting plasma levels. Absorption seems to increase
with age and/or in the presence of acute or chronic disease states.
16. As we age or are affected by disease and oxidative stress our body is still
capable of metabolizing and maintaining optimum Q10 levels and functional forms.
As we get older the ability of our bodies to produce and metabolize CoQ10 declines.
We not only biosynthesize less CoQ10 (ubiquinone), but in addition, the ability
of our body to efficiently convert it to the reduced ubiquinol form also declines.
The result is less cellular energy and subsequently diminished protection against
Ubiquinol provides a strong first stage defense against cellular oxidative insult/disease
and needs to be replenished to maintain optimum health. Supplementation with the
new Kaneka QHTM readily replenishes optimum levels of this important cellular antioxidant.
17. Only one form of CoQ10 is redox active.
All forms of CoQ10 are redox active and play very important metabolic roles in conversion
from one form to the other. All CoQ10 forms are essential for the maintenance of
energy homeostasis, cell growth and development and viability.
18. What does ‘redox active’ mean and why is it important?
A ‘redox active’ material is one that has the capability of accepting or donating
one or more electrons. Coenzyme Q10 functional redox activity is reversible in cellular
systems which means that it continuously and reversibly transfers electrons. This
function is fundamental and critical to its role in cellular respiration (ATP production)
which occurs primarily in the mitochondria, and this function is also fundamental
to CoQ10 role as a strong lipid soluble antioxidant.
‘Redox’ is an abbreviation for Reduction – Oxidation reactions which are reversible
reactions in biological systems. It is implied when we refer to CoQ10 as an electron
carrier in mitochondria generated cellular respiration that CoQ10 can accept and
release electrons. Formally there are three active biological forms of CoQ10 of
metabolic interest – CoQ ubiquinone – CoQH ubisemiquinone – CoQH2 ubiquinol. They
are all metabolically active. CoQ is the oxidized form and active ‘acceptor’, CoQH
is both an active acceptor and ‘antioxidant’ as it can donate its lone H to reduce
(antioxidize) and/or accept another H to form CoQH2.
19. Both Ubiquinone (oxidized form) and Ubiquinol (reduced form) are active
lipid soluble antioxidants.
Of the two only Ubiquinol (CoQH2) is the active antioxidant form that is derived
de novo via reduction of ubiquinone (CoQ) the active and critical coenzyme in mitochondrial
electron transport (cellular respiration) and thus essential for the maintenance
of energy homeostasis, cell growth and development and cell viability.
20. Ubiquinol is unstable in air. In order to make Ubiquinol (Kaneka QHTM)
commercially available, it has taken nearly ten years of development.
Since ubiquinol is easily oxidized in air, it is difficult to supply a commercially
viable, stable, reduced form. Kaneka established the technology that enables the
manufacture of ubiquinol in bulk and its encapsulated form with stability and has
confirmed its safety in preclinical toxicity studies and published human clinical
21. Only Kaneka Corporation has developed the technology to produce commercially
stable Kaneka QH TM and is the only bulk manufacturer of Kaneka QH TM.
Kaneka researchers developed the now commercially available ubiquinol (Kaneka QHTM)
, conducting over a decade of research and development to provide a pure, stable
form of Ubiquinol, and to conduct extensive safety and efficacy studies that have
been published in scientific refereed journals.
22. Safety Studies have been conducted on Kaneka QH TM.
Safety studies have been conducted and published exhibiting that this is safe and
effective. This may be a new ‘reduced form’ – but it is still Coenzyme Q10 – fully
recognizable metabolically whether in the oxidized ubiquinone form or the reduced
23. Kaneka completed the formal FDA submission for ubiquinol as a New Dietary
The name for the NDI is “Kaneka QHTM”. Kaneka QHTM (ubiquinol) – the active antioxidant
form of Coenzyme Q10 - is the first supplemental form of bio-identical ubiquinol
ever developed. The scientists at Kaneka have created a process that manufactures
this highly active antioxidant - and it is redefining the market!
24. Kaneka QHTM is recommended for everyone.
If you are young and healthy, and up to the age of roughly 40 to 45, you would probably
want to consider the conventional oxidized ubiquinone form – Kaneka Q10 TM.
If you are older, baby-boomers and beyond, and/or suffering from acute or chronic
disease, or are compromised by excessive oxidative stress, then you may want to
consider the reduced ubiquinol form – Kaneka QH TM.
Of special note is the fact that many recent studies point out that the plasma ubiquinol
ratio is reduced in response to cardiovascular disease, neurodegenerative disease,
cancer, fatigue and especially type-2 diabetes - as the ubiquinol acts as an important
first-line defense against the oxidative insult associated with these diseases.
The plasma ubiquinol ratio is also reduced with the aging process. Supplementation
with Kaneka QHTM helps replenish effective CoQ plasma levels and optimized the ubiquinol-plasma
As a healthy twenty year old you readily biosynthesize/reduce all the CoQ10 you
can use. In fact, in a healthy individual the predominant form of CoQ10 in the plasma
and tissues is in the reduced ubiquinol form. This reduced form is a very powerful
lipid-soluble antioxidant that is readily converted from the ubiquinone form in
As we get older the ability of our bodies to produce and metabolize CoQ10 declines.
There can be a number of reasons for this including increased metabolic demand,
diseases, insufficient dietary CoQ10 intake, deficiency of factors required for
biosynthesis, gene mutation, oxidative insult, or any combination. Some reports
say this decline becomes apparent around 40 years of age, some as early as 20 with
slow but continuous decline. The result is less cellular energy, slower conversion
to the reduced form and subsequently diminished protection against oxidative insult.
Not surprisingly more and more scientific reports indicate that dramatic decreases
in CoQ10 concentrations, mitochondrial dysfunction and increased oxidative stress
are associated with the aging process and many age related diseases.
25. General recommended dosages have been established.
This could vary and you should always consult with your healthcare provider, but
a general rule of thumb may be as follows: If you fit the older and or disease/stress
category mentioned earlier, and you are looking to maintain optimum health you may
want to start at 200mg to 300mg per day - studies show that the CoQ10 plasma levels
plateau at about two to three weeks at this dose, then 50mg to 100mg per day is
a good maintenance dose thereafter.
26. Orally administered Kaneka QH TM, the reduced, ubiquinol form of CoQ10 survives
the digestive tract resulting in higher plasma ubiquinol concentrations.
Published scientific studies report that ingested Kaneka QHTM results in significantly
higher plasma ubiquinol concentrations in a dose dependant manner.
Following oral administration of a single dose, ubiquinol was gradually absorbed
reaching a maximum at 6 hr.
Results of a 4-week multiple dose study is exhibited in Fig. 2 below – taken directly
from the published paper (Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology 47 (2007) 19-28,
K. Hosoe, et. al.) – measured plasma ubiquinol concentrations reached a markedly
high value of 8.413 umol/L, an 11-fold increase over baseline.
27. There are no published studies directly comparing ubiquinone (CoQ10) to
ubiquinol (Kaneka QH TM) in human subjects.
Direct comparative studies between CoQ10 and Kaneka QHTM have consistently shown
that an equivalent dose of Kaneka QHTM results in substantially higher plasma Q10
levels in older healthy individuals. More recently, a direct comparative study in
cardiovascular disease patients also resulted in significantly higher plasma concentrations
and improved function and clinical profile.
28. Summary/Concluding Remarks
It is very important to note that plasma and tissue concentrations of CoQ10 decrease
as we age. This decrease in CoQ10 is associated with many of the age-related diseases
such as the varied forms of Cardiovascular disease, Neuro-degenerative disease,
Cancer, Diabetes, Fatigue and the decline in stamina and energy often associated
with aging. Supplementation with Coenzyme Q10 replenishes the diminished levels
of Q10 fostering a strong protective defense against oxidative stress and age-related
Both CoQ10 (Ubiquinone) and CoQ10H2 (Ubiquinol) are critically important nutrients
that should be considered seriously for optimum health.