Ubiquinol is a reduced form of the coenzyme, Q10 (CoQ10). CoQ10 is made within the human body and is needed by all cells for basic functioning. Levels decrease with a person’s age, and levels can be depleted when a person suffers from serious diseases like Parkinson’s disease, heart disease, and cancer. CoQ10 can be acquired in small amounts from foods such as beef, broccoli, and fish, but it is often supplemented if deficiency is suspected. CoQ10 was first identified in 1957 by scientists researching the catalyst for metabolic functions within a cell. Scientists found that the substance is present in the majority of cells in the body, and that the highest concentration was present in tissues that have large energy requirements, like the kidneys, heart, and skeletal muscles.
The substance acts as the mediator of adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP synthesis is the mechanism by which cells generate energy to accomplish many cellular tasks, and a lack of ubiquinol leads to cellular degeneration. The organs found to be high in levels of ubiquinol were also found to rely heavily on ATP production. CoQ10 owes its ability to act as a major metabolism-booster to the ubiquinol cycle, a process that cycles between ubiquinone and another form of CoQ10, ubiquinone. This cycle, in addition to providing energy, is a process that protects cell membranes from oxidative damage.
CoQ10 is a powerful antioxidant, one of a small number of inherent antioxidants synthesized within the human body. As an antioxidant, it inhibits the process of oxidation, which halts the formation of free radicals that can cause pathologies and rapid aging. Several studies have been done on aging populations that show the reason levels of CoqQ10 decrease is because the ability to convert ubiquinone to ubiquinol is diminished. Supplementing can encourage conversion and has shown promise in treating age-related neurological diseases, like Parkinson’s.
Another way in which CoQ10 prevents age-related diseases relies on its ability to regenerate other antioxidant substances like vitamin E, or tocopheral, and vitamin C, known as ascorbate. Free radicals can cause more damage to the body if these nutrients are depleted and not replenished. Ubiquinol is also an essential compound in making blood lipids. Beneficial cholesterol, lipids that are needed by the body to keep arteries clear from plaque buildup, is synthesized, in part, from ubiquinol and the other forms of CoQ10.