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Coenzyme Q10 Helps with Strenuous Exercise
By Greg Arnold, DC, CSCS, November 7, 2011, abstracted from “Coenzyme Q10 supplementation ameliorates inflammatory signaling and oxidative stress associated with strenuous exercise” in the European Journal of Nutrition
The benefits of moderate exercise include helping reduce risks for cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, and all causes of death (1). The current recommendations by the Center for Disease control include 60 minutes of exercise per day for children under 17 years of age (2), and a combination of moderate aerobic exercise and weight training several days per week for adults (3) and the elderly (4).
But many Americans are becoming involved in strenuous physical activities, from ultra-marathons (100-miles races), cross-country running and Iron Man Triathlons (5). These activities can actually cause structural damage to cells that include muscle soreness and swelling, prolonged loss of muscle function, and leakage of muscle proteins into circulation (6). As a result, we are seeing that strenuous exercise may actually have harmful effects on health and consequently, there is to find ways to help offset these effects.
Now a new study (7) suggests that Coenzyme Q10 may help offset the harmful effects of strenuous exercise. In the study, 20 professional runners between the ages of 38 and 45 took either 150 mg of CoQ10 (as 5 30-mg capsules) or placebo. The CoQ10 and placebo were taken as follows:
- 1 capsule two days before the test with dinner
- 3 capsules on the previous day (with breakfast, lunch, and dinner)
- 1 capsule the same day of the run, one hour before beginning the physical test.
The physical test was a run along the “Pico Veleta” course in the Sierra Nevada in Spain (8), one of the most difficult races in the world. The runners provided blood and urine samples before and after the run.
The researchers noticed four significant differences between the two groups after the race:
-The CoQ10 group saw an 8% decrease in triglycerides after the race (1.91 to 1.75 mmol/L) compared to a 24% drop in the placebo group (1.71 to 1.31 mmol/L). This much smaller drop is thought to be due directly to CoQ10 as higher levels of triglycerides during exercise improve skeletal muscle activity and exercise capacity (9), “which could indicate potential ergogenic effect of CoQ10.”
- Regarding levels of DNA damage as measured in the urine by a protein called 8-OHdG, the CoQ10 group saw a 43% increase (0.023 to 0.033 pg/mL) while the placebo group saw a 71% increase (0.028 to 0.048 pg/mL), indicating CoQ10’s ability to decrease DNA damage.
- Regarding levels of fat tissue damage measured in the urine by isoprostanes, the CoQ10 group saw a 300% increase (1.0 to 4.0 ng/mL) while the placebo group saw a 427% increase (1.1 to 5.8 ng/mL).
For the researchers, “CoQ10 supplementation before strenuous exercise decreases the oxidative stress and modulates the inflammatory signaling, reducing the subsequent muscle damage.”
Greg Arnold is a Chiropractic Physician practicing in Danville, CA.  You can contact Dr. Arnold directly by emailing him at PitchingDoc@msn.com or visiting his web site at www.PitchingDoc.com
1.       Siddiqui NI, Nessa A, Hossain MA (2010) Regular physical exercise: way to healthy life. Mymensingh Med J 19:154–158
2.       “How Much Physical Activity Do Children Need?” - http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/everyone/guidelines/children.html
3.       “How Much Physical Activity Do Adults Need?” - http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/everyone/guidelines/adults.html
4.       “How Much Physical Activity Do Older Adults Need?” – http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/everyone/guidelines/olderadults.html
5.       Liu CC, Huang CC, Lin WT, Hsieh CC, Huang SY, Lin SJ, Yang SC (2005) Lycopene supplementation attenuated xanthine oxidase and myeloperoxidase activities in skeletal muscle tissues of rats after exhaustive exercise. Br J Nutr 94:595–601
6.       Suzuki K, Yamada M, Kurakake S, Okamura N, Yamaya K, Liu Q, Kudoh S, Kowatari K, Nakaji S, Sugawara K (2000) Circulating cytokines and hormones with immunosuppressive but neutrophil-priming potentials rise after endurance exercise in humans. Eur J Appl Physiol 81:281–287
7.       Diaz-Castro J. Coenzyme Q10 supplementation ameliorates inflammatory signaling and oxidative stress associated with strenuous exercise. Eur Jou Nutr 2011. DOI 10.1007/s00394-011-0257-5
8.       “Pico de Veleta” - http://www.climbbybike.com/climb.asp?col=pico-de-veleta&qrymountainid=4755
9.       Hawley JA. Effect of increased fat availability on metabolism and exercise capacity. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2002; 34:1485–1491