Reduced CoQ10 shows superior bioavailability: SGTI study

By Lorraine Heller

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Coq10, Coenzyme q10

A reduced formulation of Coenzyme Q10 was better absorbed than a standard commercial formulation in a senior population sample, suggests a small company-sponsored study.

Published this month in the Journal of Functional Foods, ​the study tested the bioavailability of a branded CoQ10 from Californian Soft-Gel Technologies Inc (SGTI).

The firm’s reduced CoQH-CF preparation was found to have “far superior”​ bioavailability to a commercial formulation supplied by Canada’s Nutri-Chem, according to the authors of the study, which was conducted at the KGK Synergize clinic in London, ON, Canada.

SGTI markets its CoQH-CF as an “enhanced delivery system for ubiquinol”​ (reduced CoQ10). ‘CF’ stands for ‘crystal-free’, as CoQ10 naturally is in a crystal/powder state.

Absorption obstacles

CoQ10 – or coenzyme Q10 – is a powerful antioxidant, which plays a vital role in the production of chemical energy in mitochondria – the 'power plants' of the cell – by participating in the production of adenosince triphosphate (ATP), the body's co-called 'energy currency'.

It has been studied for its role in cognitive health, heart health, and anti-ageing (in oral and topical formulations). It has also been shown to benefit those suffering from angina, heart attack and hypertension.

Its use in supplements, particularly in the US, has been boosted by the rise in popularity of statin drugs which deplete the body's natural stores of CoQ10.

However, CoQ10 is not easily absorbed by the body, which has spurred the need for innovation in the sector to improve its bioavailability – or the levels that reach the human bloodstream.

“The biggest issue with CoQ10 products is absorption, so instead of focusing on the biological function of CoQ10, it’s almost more important to show better absorption,” ​said Steve Holtby, president and CEO of SGTI, which sponsored the new study.

“We found that using food-grade d-limonene broke down the CoQ10 crystals without altering its chemical structure, and the idea behind smaller CoQ10 molecules is better absorption (…) Now with this study demonstrating superior absorption in a cohort of aging individuals, our CoQH-CF offers the optimal, ultimate coenzyme Q10 efficacy benefits shown in the years of efficacy research,”​ he said.


The researchers recruited ten healthy subjects for the study, all over the age of 60. Eight of the participants were female and two were male.

They were randomly and blindly assigned to receive a single dose of one of two test materials, each formulated to contain 100mg of CoQ10.

SGTI’s formulation was encapsulated in a soft gel capsule, while the Nutri-Chem product came in a hard shell capsule.

Blood samples were taken before the CoQ10 was taken, and with the subjects on an empty stomach. They were then given the test dose, together with water and breakfast.

More blood samples were taken two, four, five, six, eight and 12 hours after the dose was administered. Meals were provided after the four- and eight-hour sampling. Participants then left the clinic and returned for more blood samples after 24, 48 and 72 hours.

“Though the pattern of the plasma response curves was similar, the results demonstrated that the plasma total CoQ10 response was 4.3-fold (430 per cent) higher after supplementation with CoQH-CF as compared to the CoQ10 commercial formulation,”​ wrote the researchers.

“The reduced CoQH-CF preparation was found to be far superior to the commercial formulation for bioavailability and warrants consideration not only as a dietary supplement, but also for clinical application,”​ they concluded.


‘A Randomized, Double-Blind, Crossover Trial Comparing the Bioavailability of Two CoQ10 Formulations’Journal of Functional Foods​, I (2009) 65-73doi: 10.1016/j.jff.2008.09.010Authors: Malkanthi Evans, Joshua Baisley, Sonya Barss, Najla Guthrie

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