What is Coenzyme Q10?
Coenzyme Q10 is a vitamin-like, fat soluble nutrient central to energy production at the cellular level, essential for generating metabolic energy in the form of ATP.
What is ATP?
ATP is the energy currency of every cell in the human body, it is necessary for not only exercise but for life. ATP is produced in the mitochondria, the power-house of cells, where Coenzymes Q10 plays its role.
CoQ10 levels and age
Unfortunately, CoQ10 levels decrease with age. A factor that may actually contribute to the aging process. It is believed that exhaustive, prolonged exercise may further deplete CoQ10 levels. Food content of CoQ10 can be very low, thus many healthcare providers recommend supplementing with Coenzyme Q10. Given CoQ10’s vital role in energy production, supplementation seems to be a wise decision for any athlete engaging in exhaustive exercise.
Clinical trials on Coenzyme Q10
Clinical trials have demonstrated Coenzyme Q10’s usefulness as an ergogenic aid, which are substances that benefit athletic performance. One study demonstrated that only 8 weeks of CoQ10 supplementation at 100mg showed performance improvement and fatigue reduction in repeated bouts of exercise compared to placebo (1).
Another study showed significant improvement in power production in elite, Olympic athletes after 6 weeks of supplementation (2).
In 2008, a clinical trial showed that CoQ 10 supplementation improved time to exhaustion for participants in only 2 weeks (3).
CoQ10 and Athletic Performance
CoQ 10’s use as an ergogenic aid extends beyond its direct improvement of performance markers, it also helps athletes deal with exercise-induced stress. Taking CoQ 10 before strenuous bouts of exercise has been shown to reduce oxidative stress and inflammatory signaling, preventing further damages to the muscles (4).
- Gökbel H, Gül I, Belviranl M, Okudan N. The effects of coenzyme Q10 supplementation on performance during repeated bouts of supramaximal exercise in sedentary men. J Strength Cond Res. 2010;24(1):97-102.
- Alf D, Schmidt ME, Siebrecht SC. Ubiquinol supplementation enhances peak power production in trained athletes: a double-blind, placebo controlled study. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2013;10:24.
- Cooke M, Iosia M, Buford T, et al. Effects of acute and 14-day coenzyme Q10 supplementation on exercise performance in both trained and untrained individuals. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2008;5:8.
- Díaz-castro J, Guisado R, Kajarabille N, et al. Coenzyme Q(10) supplementation ameliorates inflammatory signaling and oxidative stress associated with strenuous exercise. Eur J Nutr. 2012;51(7):791-9.