The recommended intake level for Ubiquinol can be found on the product packaging. But how are these levels determined? Kaneka uses data from human studies, which point to an intake level of 100-300 mg per day. Let’s understand how that works.
The kind of study that is used is called a pharmacokinetic study (it can also be called a bioavailability study). It measures the amount of a supplement or its metabolites that can be found in the blood after ingestion. Here’s the procedure: a group of subjects takes a certain level of a supplement daily for a given period of days (called a chronic study). Blood is taken both at beginning before any supplement intake, and at certain time periods after intake. The difference in the blood levels indicates how much of the supplement has entered the blood. This can be measured over a period of weeks and helps determine the intake level for Ubiquinol.
In the case of Ubiquinol, what is found in the blood is the Ubiquinol itself, rather than a metabolite. This makes it easy to relate the amount that was ingested with what is available for the body to use.
Three studies have measured the blood levels of Ubiquinol after its ingestion by healthy people, all using KanekaQH™ Ubiquinol. In the most extensive study using KanekaQH1 performed by Hosoe et al. in 2007, 3 intake levels were used: 90, 150, and 300 mg per day. The supplement was taken in 2 intakes per day (for example 45 mg at both breakfast and dinner for a 90 mg per day total intake). There were 20 subjects for each intake level. This was done for 4 weeks, and the blood levels were measured at the start of the study (before any intake of supplement) and at 2 and 4 weeks after starting the supplement. All 3 intake levels showed significant increases from initial levels at both 2 and 4 weeks. At 4 weeks, blood levels were 5.0-, 5.9- and 11.1-fold greater for 90, 150, and 300 mg intake levels, respectively. One would expect that the more Ubiquinol the subjects took, the more would end up in the blood, and that is exactly what happened.
Another study used 100 mg per day in 11 subjects for 6 months and found an average increase of 3.9 mg of Ubiquinol in the blood,2 while a third tested 150 mg per day in 53 subjects for 2 weeks and found an increase of 4.8-fold above initial levels.3
Another important piece of information that came from the Hosoe et al. study was that the amount of Ubiquinol in the blood built up steadily for the first two weeks, but plateaued between 2 and 4 weeks. This leads to the recommendation that a higher intake level is appropriate in the 2-3 weeks to help bring blood levels up initially, which can then be lowered thereafter to maintain blood levels.
Having such increases in the blood after Ubiquinol supplementation provides confidence that when taking Ubiquinol at the levels tested, namely 100-300 mg/day, the body has far greater amounts available to use. This is especially important for a number of populations, including those on statin drugs (see the post, “How the Use of Statins Can Affect Your Coenzyme Q10 Levels”), older adults, who have been shown to have lower levels of Ubiquinol in their blood,4 and people with health conditions such as diabetes5 and heart disease,6 which are also associated with lower blood levels of Ubiquinol.
Another way to determine the intake level is to do an intervention study. This means that the subjects take the supplement at one or more intake levels for a period of time, and what is measured is a physiological response in the body. With Ubiquinol this could be, for example, support of energy production. However, support of energy production is not something that is easily measured. So we use instead the blood level data as a gauge.
For information on intake levels that are right for you, the best first step is always to consult you doctor.
1 Hosoe K, Kitano M, Kishida H, Kubo H, Fujii K, Kitahara M. Study on safety and bioavailability of ubiquinol (Kaneka QH) after single and 4-week multiple oral administration to healthy volunteers. Regul Toxicol Pharmacol. 2007 Feb;47(1):19-28.
2 Shoko D, Fujii K, Kurihara T. The effect of the reduced form of coenzyme Q10 (Ubiquinol, Kaneka QH™ ) on QOL improvement in the elderly. J Clin Therap Med 2008; 24:233-238.
3 Schmelzer C, Niklowitz P, Okun JG, Haas D, Menke T, Döring F. Ubiquinol-induced gene expression signatures are translated into altered parameters of erythropoiesis and reduced low density lipoprotein cholesterol levels in humans. IUBMB Life. 2011 Jan;63(1):42-8.
5 Lim SC, Tan HH, Goh SK, Subramaniam T, Sum CF, Tan IK, Lee BL, Ong CN. Oxidative burden in prediabetic and diabetic individuals: evidence from plasma coenzyme Q(10). Diabet Med. 2006 Dec;23(12):1344-9.