Coenzyme Q10: Exercise Duration Is Increased

Posted by: Kevin Flatt

Cycling - Coenzyme Q10 appears to increase the duration of exercise to exhaustion in healthy untrained and trained individuals.Coenzyme Q10 appears to increase the duration of exercise to exhaustion in healthy untrained and trained individuals.

Coenzyme Q10 is a vitamin like, fat-soluble substance existing in all cells. Coenzyme Q10 acts as an essential antioxidant and supports the regeneration of other antioxidants. Coenzyme Q10 has been used as a supplementary treatment for chronic diseases such as Chronic Heart Failure (CHF), muscular dystrophies, Parkinson’s disease, cancer, and diabetes.

In Chronic Heart Failure patients, a disease characterized by lower than normal Coenzyme Q10 levels, Coenzyme Q10 supplementation has shown to improve stroke volume, ejection fraction and exercise capacity in several double-blind, placebo-controlled studies.

In athletes, Coenzyme Q10 deficiency may also be experienced as metabolic stress and free radical formation is elevated during times of intense training.

Several studies have found that Coenzyme Q10 supplementation (60–100 mg/day for 4–8 weeks) improves aerobic power, anaerobic threshold, exercise performance, and/or recovery after exercise in trained athletes and untrained individuals.

Other studies using similar dosages have found no ergogenic benefit on maximal or submaximal exercise capacity in untrained and trained individuals.

One possible explanation for these inconsistent findings is that the absorption of Coenzyme Q10 into the mitochondrial membrane (part of a cell containing enzymes responsible for producing energy) or non-deficit tissues is rather inefficient.

Coenzyme Q10 is a relatively large, hydrophobic molecule, therefore absorption of Coenzyme Q10 into tissues is often slow and limited. Formulations that could maximize Coenzyme Q10 absorption would not only improve its uptake into the blood plasma, but potentially improve its absorption into the skeletal muscle.

Recently, the bioavailability and absorptive properties of several Coenzyme Q10 preparations were examined (i.e., fast-melt tablet, effervescent tablet, soft gelatin liquid capsule, and a hard shell powdered capsule).

Results indicated that the fast-melt tablet and effervescent formulation provided a more rapid delivery of Coenzyme Q10 to the blood, while exhibiting similar pharmacokinetic properties (the process by which a drug is absorbed, distributed, metabolized, and eliminated by the body) compared with the soft gel and hard capsule forms of Coenzyme Q10, suggesting that Coenzyme Q10 in a fast-melt or effervescent form may facilitate Coenzyme Q10 delivery and uptake to the muscle.

Researchers in the United States, reporting in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, conducted a study to determine whether acute (single dose) and/or chronic (14-days) supplementation of Coenzyme Q10 would improve anaerobic and/or aerobic exercise performance by increasing blood plasma and muscle Coenzyme Q10 concentrations within trained and untrained individuals. (The above information is extracted from the same study).

The results of their study demonstrated that a fast-melt form of Coenzyme Q10 is a safe and effective supplement that prolongs exercise performance in healthy individuals. Further, acute Coenzyme Q10 supplementation increased total Coenzyme Q10 concentration within the skeletal muscle and lowered blood plasma oxidative stress during and following exercise.

Studies that have reported improvements in aerobic power, anaerobic threshold, and/or recovery following Coenzyme Q10 supplementation have not generally been published in peer-reviewed journals.

The authors of this study stated that, to their knowledge, this is the first study to demonstrate both improvements in exercise performance and increased muscle Coenzyme Q10 concentration in healthy trained and untrained humans following Coenzyme Q10 supplementation.

This study showed a strong trend for increased time to exhaustion following Coenzyme Q10 supplementation. Additionally, acute Coenzyme Q10 supplementation tended to increase Coenzyme Q10 levels within the muscle, albeit not significantly.

Though no significant changes were observed following chronic supplementation, it is evident that muscle Coenzyme Q10 concentration was generally higher at the end of the study, compared to the start of the study, in the Coenzyme Q10-supplemented group compared to the placebo group.

In fact, muscle Coenzyme Q10 levels declined in the placebo group over the 2-week period.

The findings indicate that ingestion of a fast-melt form of Coenzyme Q10 will increase blood plasma availability of Coenzyme Q10 and may also influence muscle concentrations on an acute and/or chronic basis.

The authors concluded that their study demonstrated that a fast-melt Coenzyme Q10 formulation appears to be a safe dietary supplement that tended to increase the duration of exercise to exhaustion in healthy untrained and trained individuals.

Extracted and adapted from: Matthew Cooke, Mike Iosia, Thomas Buford, Brian Shelmadine, Geoffrey Hudson, Chad Kerksick, Christopher Rasmussen, Mike Greenwood, Brian Leutholtz, Darryn Willoughby and Richard Kreider. Effects of acute and 14-day coenzyme Q10 supplementation on exercise performance in both trained and untrained individuals. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 2008, 5:8. © 2008 Cooke et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (

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