Coenzyme Q10 may boost exercise performance

April 1, 2008 in Nutrition Topics in the News, Sports Nutrition and Exercise, Vitamins, Minerals, Supplements

Coenzyme Q10 may boost exercise performance

The supplement coenzyme Q10 may give exercisers' endurance a lift, the results of a small study suggest.

CoQ10, also known as ubiquinone, is a compound the body naturally produces naturally and uses for cell growth. It also works as an antioxidant, which means it neutralizes cell-damaging compounds called free radicals.

While the body produces CoQ10 naturally, some research has found that levels are low in certain medical conditions, including heart failure, Parkinson's disease and diabetes. CoQ10 supplements are being studied for treating these conditions; one recent study found that the supplements seemed to boost exercise capacity in people with heart failure.

Studies looking at CoQ10 for improving exercise capacity in healthy, active people have yielded mixed results. The new study, published online in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, took a slightly different tack.

The researchers investigated a newer, "fast-melt" formulation of CoQ10, looking at its short-term effects on CoQ10 levels in exercisers' muscles and its longer-term effects on their workout capacity.

The researchers recruited 22 regularly active young adults, along with 19 who were healthy, but sedentary. The subjects were randomly assigned to take either the fast-melt CoQ10 supplement or a placebo twice a day for 2 weeks.

On the first day, participants gave blood samples and a muscle tissue sample, taken through a needle, right before and soon after receiving either the CoQ10 supplement or placebo. The research team found that those who took the supplement tended to show in increase in muscle CoQ10 levels.

After two weeks, their performance on exercise tests was improved. In general, the researchers found, supplement users were able to exercise for a longer period before reaching exhaustion.

The researchers say, however, that it's too early for people to run out and buy CoQ10 for the sake of their athletic performance.

While more research is needed, the current findings do suggest that the fast-melt formulation may affect the body's short- or longer-term responses to exercise.

The compound has also not been carefully studied for safety and effectiveness.

The current study was funded by Switzerland-based Pharma Base, S.A., which also supplied the CoQ10.

All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.