The results were based on a comparative study of pharmacokinetic parameters assessed in 54 healthy volunteers after supplementation with one of three delivery forms: solubilizates, oil dispersions, or a crystalline form.
There is an ever-growing body of scientific data that shows substantial health benefits of CoQ10 supplementation for people suffering from angina, heart attack and hypertension. Clinical trials have also reported benefits for cardiomyopathy and congestive heart failure.
However, the formulation of the CoQ10 is known to play a key role in its bioavailability. Since the coenzyme is lipophilic (fat-loving), its absorption is enhanced in the presence of lipids. Therefore, when taken as a supplement apart from meals, the absorption of some formulations is lower.
"Solubilizates were clearly superior to oily dispersions and crystalline CoQ10 in their overall bioavailability, with the best absorption characteristics seen for the novel Solu Q10 solubilizate," wrote lead author Christiane Schulz from BioTeSys GmbH in Germany.
Solubilizates are said to form micelles with a very fine particle distribution, which simulates the natural digestive process and the body can rapidly absorb the coenzyme.
The CoQ10 ingredients were compared against a standard crystalline CoQ10 form, and included Solu Q10 (Aquanova), Swanson Ultra Q-Gel (Tishcon Corp.), CoQsol (Soft Gel Technologies), and Nature Made CoQ10 (Pharmavite).
Writing in the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, the authors, including scientists from BASF and the University of Hohenheim, looked at the difference in the pharmacokinetic parameters of maximum plasma concentration, time to reach the peak plasma concentration, and the area under the curve between 0 and 12 hours.
The 54 volunteers (average age 28; average total cholesterol levels 182.4 milligrams per decilitre of blood; and baseline CoQ10 levels, adjusted for cholesterol, 0.15 micromoles per millimole), were randomly assigned to one of the five groups, each containing 12 people except the crystalline CoQ10 control group, which contained six people. Doses of 60 milligrams of CoQ10 were given and measurements taken every hour for eight hours and then after ten and 12 hours.
The scientists report that the solubilizates showed earlier 'flooding' compared to the oily dispersions and the crystalline CoQ10 control.
Looking at the area under the curve, the scientists report that the relative bioavailabilities of the supplements, compared to the crystalline CoQ10, were: 142 per cent for Solu Q10, 131 per cent for Nature Made CoQ10, 107 per cent Swanson Ultra Q-Gel, and 89 per cent for CoQsol.
"In summary, clear differences in bioavailability between various types of CoQ10 supplements are visible. This is even more prominent during the early stages of absorption," said the researchers.
"Solubilizates were clearly superior to oily dispersion and crystalline CoQ10 with the best overall absorption characteristics seen for the novel Solu Q10 solubilizate."
The research was welcomed by Kai Sievert, head of business development and product management for specialities in BASF's global Nutrition unit, who said in a statement:"Solu Q10 exhibits outstanding bioavailability and can be manufactured using far fewer formulation aids than other solubilizates."
"This makes coenzyme Q10 from BASF an extremely 'label-friendly' ingredient for customers. Solu Q10 also has very good dosing properties and is easy to use."
However, the comparisons chosen by the German researchers was by no means conclusive for all CoQ10 ingredients available.
Indeed, US distributor Blue California offers a line of water-soluble coenzyme Q10 ingredients that it claims are more bioavailable than standard forms of the co-enzyme. CoQ10-WS is described as a free-flowing, water-soluble powder, available in both 10 and 20 percent concentrations. It is suitable for use in beverages, tablets and capsules.
DSM, meanwhile, has its All-Q brand that uses a starch-based powder as a carrier for 10 per cent purity CoQ10, making the normally fat-soluble ingredient stable for formulation in water-based beverages, dairy products or energy drinks, the company said.
Others have set their sights on similar functionality. For instance, AquaNova has applied its nanotech system known as NovaSol to CoQ10, whereby the active substance is contained within product micelles. The aim is to make more bioavailable and lend the active ingredient fat and water solubility, which means it can be added to clear liquids without affecting the clarity.
Source: International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition Volume 57, Issue 7-8, Pages 546-555 "Comparison of the relative bioavailability of different coenzyme Q10 formulations with a novel solubilizate (Solu Q10)" Authors: C. Schulz, U.C. Obermüller-Jevic, O. Hasselwander, J. Bernhardt, H.K. Biesalski