CoQ10 structure

The CoQ10 structure has some unusual features. Namely, the structure has two interconverting forms, ubiquinone and ubiquinol. These two forms differ by two electrons and two protons, making them an oxidized and reduced form, respectively.

The oxidized CoQ 10 structure is shown here. This molecular form is known as a quinone.

ubiquinone, coq10 structure, oxidized coq10

The reduced CoQ 10 structure is shown below. This molecular form is known as the hydroquinone form.

ubiquinol, coq10 structure, reduced coq10

What's the difference?
Because of the extra solubility conferred by the two -OH groups in ubiquinol, the reduced form is absorbed almost three times as effectively as ubiquinone (1).

The CoQ10 structure shares a feature with another potent antioxidant

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1. Hosoe, K, Kitano, M, Kishida, H, et al. "Study on safety and bioavailability of ubiquinol (Kaneka QH) after single and 4-week multiple oral administration to healthy volunteers." Regul Toxicol Pharmacol 47 (2007) 19-28.