MicroActive CoQ10 Could Give Horses a Competitive Edge

Absorption of crude ubiquinone (an antioxidant form of coenzyme Q10, or Co Q10) powder by horses is as low as 1% for the following reasons:

  1. Crude ubiquinone crystals have poor solubility because they’re fat soluble and also clump together in the aqueous environment of the gut and are, thus, too large to absorb, and
  2. CoQ10 has a melting point of 48-52ºC (118.4-125.6ºF), so it doesn’t melt at body temperature¹.

There are many different preparations of CoQ10 available on the market now in which different technological approaches have been used to increase absorption and bioavailability of the raw CoQ10.²,³ Some examples of these delivery systems include oily dispersions, self-emulsified drug delivery systems, nanoemulsions, polymeric nanoparticles, nanoliposomes, lipid nanoparticles. and cyclodextrin encapsulation.³

Plusvital’s EnerGene-Q10 uses a patented cyclodextrin encapsulated form of CoQ10 called MicroActive CoQ10. Cyclodextrin is essentially a cone-shaped structure composed of sugar units, the interior of which is fat-soluble and exterior is water-soluble. In this way, a single molecule of the raw, fat-soluble CoQ10 sits inside two cyclodextrin cones and the overall complex then dissolves in water because of the water-soluble exterior.4 This then allows for efficient transport through the digestive system and these micronized (broken into tiny fragments) particles allow for delivery of individual molecules of CoQ10 to the intestinal wall for absorption, at which point the complex comes apart, releasing the CoQ10 to the luminal surface of the cells lining the intestine.

Human Trials

Clinical trials in humans compared MicroActive CoQ10 to crystalline and solubilized versions of CoQ10. MicroActive CoQ10 provides CoQ10 in a form which has been clinically proven to have bioavailability superior to other formulations of CoQ10. One study showed a sustained release and significantly improved bioavailability compared to the crystalline form of CoQ10.5 More importantly within this study, the intersubject variance in the bioavailability of the solubilized form was significantly greater than in the other two forms. This essentially means that products which use a solubilized form (i.e., CoQ10 in medium-chain triglycerides) work well in some subjects and poorly in others and that there is no consistency in absorption across subjects within the study.

In contrast, MicroActive CoQ10 shows increased absorption in all subjects and is termed to have “universal bioavailability.”6 In the second study, the 0-to-24-hour absorption confirmed the sustained-release property of the MicroActive CoQ10 complex, as well as the significantly higher and uniform bioavailability. In all human subjects in this study, researchers saw a doubling in plasma CoQ10 levels after 21 days of MicroActive CoQ10 supplementation, which represents a 100% response rate.5 The solubilized form showed a response rate of only 44%, again confirming the greater and more uniform bioavailability of the MicroActive product.

Unique Technology

This unique technology provides CoQ10 increased solubility and, thus, ensures universally enhanced absorption from the intestine. Subsequently, this reduces the requirement to orally supplement CoQ10 at higher doses. Additionally, because CoQ10 is fat-soluble, low dosing can be used over a longer period, which will result in elevated plasma and tissue CoQ10 concentrations, as the fat solubility allows for accumulation within tissues.

To date there is very little research published on the properties of CoQ10 relative to the physiology of horses. There is also very little information available on oral supplementation of CoQ10 in horses and CoQ10 absorption or tissue bioavailability data. Plusvital researchers have previously identified that horses with greater stamina, as identified by Plusvital’s Speed Gene Test, actually have lower concentrations of skeletal muscle CoQ10 when compared to other horses.7

Further, Plusvital researchers have recently completed a field research study with oral supplementation of MicroActive CoQ10. This involved daily supplementation of 200mg of CoQ10 in the MicroActive CoQ10 form for nine weeks, with plasma samples and skeletal muscle biopsies collected both before and after the supplementation trial. They observed a 40% increase in CoQ10 skeletal muscle concentrations after nine weeks’ supplementation.8

This result indicates three points relative to the use of MicroActive CoQ10 in horses:

  1. MicroActive CoQ10 is absorbed successfully within the equine intestine and reaches the circulation
  2. MicroActive CoQ10 accesses the equine skeletal muscle tissue, where it is has an integral function in aerobic energy generation
  3. MicroActive CoQ10 accumulates over time in equine skeletal muscle tissue with daily supplementation.

Proven in Horses

MicroActive CoQ10 is the world’s first CoQ10 product to be shown to reach equine skeletal muscle tissue after a period of oral supplementation. With the potential positive impact that CoQ10 can have on aerobic energy production with skeletal muscle tissue, it is extremely beneficial to know that this formulation of CoQ10 can access this site. With ever-decreasing margins between equine competitors, there is a general demand to find ways in which supplementation can enable the cells within the equine body to maximize their full potential, in terms of more efficient energy production and reduced recovery times relative to expanding competition calendars. MicroActive CoQ10, a scientific-research-backed supplement, is a primary candidate to fill such a role within the equine diet.

Now Available in The USA

Plusvital’s EnerGene-Q10, along with the rest of Plusvital’s range of scientifically-based supplements, is now available to customers in the United States. Any of this range can be order directly by contacting Plusvital’s North American territory Manager, Marylu Ernsting, at 859/351-3217 or marylu.ernsting@plusvital.com.


1. Judy WV., Stogsdil WW., Judy DS. and Judy JS., 2007, Coenzyme Q10 facts or fabrications, Natl Prod Insid, 2, 1-4.
2. Kalenikova E.I., Gorodetskaya E.A. and Medvedev O.S., 2009, Bioavailability of coenzyme Q10 in various pharmaceutical formulations, Pharm Chem J, 43(8), 468-471.
3. Barakat A., Shegokar R., Dittgen M. and Müller R.H., 2013, Coenzyme Q10 oral bioavailability: effect of formulation type, J Pharm Invest, 43(6), 431-451.
4. Fir M.M., Smidovnik A., Milivojevic L., Zmitek J. and Prosek M., 2009, Studies of CoQ10 and cyclodextrin complexes: solubility, thermo-and photo-stability, J Incl Phenom Macro, 64(3-4), 225-232.
5. Madhavi D. and Kagan D., 2010, A study on the bioavailability of a novel sustained-release coenzyme Q10-β-cyclodextrin complex, Integr Med, 9(1), 20-24.
6. Kagan D., Madhavi D., Bank G. and Lachlan K., 2010, Universal” and “reliable” bioavailability claims: criteria that may increase physician confidence in nutritional supplements, Nat Med J, 2(1), 1-5.
7. Rooney M.F., Porter R.K., Katz L.M. and Hill E.W., 2017, Skeletal muscle mitochondrial bioenergetics and associations with myostatin genotypes in the Thoroughbred horse. PloS one, 12(11), p.e0186247.
8. Hill E.W., Rooney M.F., Porter R.K., Curley C., Parnell A.C., Griffin M. and Katz L.M., 2018, A field trial to establish the bioavailability of MicroActive® CoQ10 in targeting skeletal muscle mitochondria in horses, in preparation.