Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)
The benefits of CoQ10 supplementation may improve general health, enhance sports performance and promote recovery from training
- CoQ10 is a naturally-occurring vitamin-like substance essential for metabolism but found in only small concentrations in dietary foods
- Benefits associated with CoQ10 supplementation include
- increasing energy production,
- promoting fat loss,
- strengthening immune defence,
- enhancing exercise performance,
- promoting recovery from training, and
- providing protection against several disease states
- Intakes of CoQ10 of approximately 120 mg per day have been shown to maximally raise blood CoQ10 levels1.
- Most easily achieved by supplement form rather than through dietary sources.
CoQ10 (also also known as ubiquinone or ubiquinol) is a naturally-occurring fat-soluble vitamin-like substance. CoQ10 plays an essential role as a co-enzyme in the formation of energy and is found in every cell in the body in a part of the cell known as the mitochondrion. This is the powerhouse of the cell where most of the cell’s energy is produced. Enzymes are proteins that help speed up (or slow down) the rate at which important chemical reactions occur in the body. Co-enzymes like CoQ10 function by assisting these enzymes to do their work. CoQ10 is found at higher concentrations in organs with high energy demands such as the skeletal muscles, brain, heart, liver, kidneys and endocrine organs (i.e. pancreas, which is important for controlling blood sugar and insulin levels). CoQ10 levels are known to decrease with age, in cancer patients, and as a result of taking statins (a class of drugs prescribed for cardiovascular disease patients to help lower blood cholesterol levels)9.
CoQ10 is also a potent antioxidant. Antioxidants help to protect cells against free radical damage. Free radicals are highly reactive molecules that can cause damage to lipid and protein structures (i.e. DNA, cell membranes). Providing antioxidant support is particularly important to promote athletic recovery as exercise increases the production of free radicals. Due to the instrumental role of CoQ10 in energy production, maintaining adequate levels of CoQ10 is important not only to support the healthy growth and development of cells but also because decreased levels in the blood are associated with increased risk of several disease states such as myopathies, fibromyalgia, Parkinson’s/Huntington’s disease, cardiovascular disease (CVD) and diabetes4-8.
What does the research say?
Recent research supports the use of CoQ10 supplementation for it’s ability to increase energy levels, promote fat burning (potentially decreasing body fat)10, strengthen immunity (antioxidant action and regeneration)2,3, promote recovery (removal of waste products and for antioxidant and anti-inflammatory support)11,12, and protect against several disease states including myopathies, fibromyalgia, Parkinson’s/Huntington’s disease, CVD and diabetes4-8. These benefits of CoQ10 supplementation may improve general health, enhance sports performance and promote recovery from training.
Energy production & body composition One of the primary functions of CoQ10 is for its essential role in energy production. CoQ10 functions as a co-enzyme required for the production of adenosine tri-phosphate (ATP; the “energy currency” of all cells). Maintaining adequate energy production rates is vital to ensure the healthy growth and recovery of cells (including muscles) and for optimal body functioning. CoQ10 supplementation has also been shown to increase fat burning capacity10, which may help promote decreased body fat levels, particularly for individuals following energy-restrictive diets.
ImmunityAs a very potent antioxidant, CoQ10 helps to protect cells against chemicals called free radicals. Ubiquinone, due to it’s fat-soluble nature can move freely within cell membranes, helping to protect membranes against free radical damage. Furthermore, CoQ10 also enhances antioxidant support by helping to regenerate other important antioxidants such as retinol (Vitamin A), ascorbate (Vitamin C) and tocopherol (Vitamin E)2,3.
Sports performance and recovery from trainingCoQ10 supplementation promotes fat burning during exercise10 and thereby decreasing the reliance upon carbohydrate stores, which in turn can improve performance in more intensive exercise bouts. Indeed, CoQ10 supplementation has been shown to enhance power10, muscular endurance (increased number of repetitions)13 and aerobic endurance (more prolonged exercise duration)14, possibly attributable to enhanced energy production and delayed onset of fatigue.
CoQ10 may also have a beneficial vasodilatory effect11, which means greater rates of blood flow in muscles, which assists in the delivery of oxygen and nutrients and the removal of waste products to and from muscles, which are important processes for supporting sports performance and recovery. Additionally, CoQ10 supplementation decreases oxidative stress and excessive inflammation induced by strenuous exercise12. This may help to reduce muscle damage/breakdown, promoting more rapid recovery and enhanced adaptation to training.
Protection against disease Because CoQ10 is present in all human body cells and is essential for energy production, it is therefore not surprising that suboptimal levels of CoQ10 have been implicated to have negative consequences on health and well-being. Furthermore, vital organs that contain the highest levels of CoQ10 (due to their particularly high energy demands) such as skeletal muscles, the brain, heart, liver, kidneys and endocrine organs may be particularly susceptible to suboptimal CoQ10 levels. Indeed, ensuring adequate CoQ10 intake and maintenance of CoQ10 levels through CoQ10 supplementation may help to prevent and/or help control several disease states associated with several of these major organs including myopathies (muscle dysfunction related to statin intake)4 and fibromyalgia (i.e. skeletal muscles)5, Parkinson’s/Huntington’s disease (the brain)6, CVD (the heart)7 and diabetes (endocrine organs)8.
What does this mean in practice?
CoQ10 is found in various food sources, the richest sources being meat (beef, pork, chicken), fish and oils (especially soybean and olive). However, due to the poor absorption kinetics of CoQ10, the uptake and use of dietary CoQ10 is limited. To this end, consuming CoQ10 in supplement form as an adjunct to a healthy, whole foods-based diet is likely to offer the following benefits:
- Weight loss: may help to promote fat loss, particularly for individuals following energy-restrictive diets
- Endurance training: helps to delay the onset of fatigue, prolonging exercise time to exhaustion
- Team-sport athletes: promotes increased fat burning, sparing carbohydrate stores for more intensive exercise bouts
- Gym-based training: helps to increase power and muscular performance, prolonging muscle fatigue, facilitating for the performance of more repetitions
- Recovery & illness: may help to promote for more rapid recovery from training and strengthen immune defence, therefore reducing potential training days lost due to illness
- Disease management: supplementation helps to maintain optimal CoQ10 levels, which is important as sub-optimal levels are associated with increased risk of several disease states
CoQ10 supplementation at ROS Nutrition
Due to the inability of CoQ10 to dissolve in water and its large molecular weight (i.e. size), the absorption and use of dietary/powder-based CoQ10 formulations are slow and limited1. At ROS Nutrition Co-enzymeQ10 is specially-formulated in gel capsules, containing optimum amounts of CoQ10 (120mg), Bioperine® and β-cyclodextrine to maximize the absorption and delivery of CoQ10 in the body. Plasma CoQ10 levels have been shown to increase with increasing levels of CoQ10 supplementation up to a point, following which no further increase in plasma CoQ10 levels occur1. Supplementation with 120mg has been shown to maximally increase plasma CoQ10 levels1.
Find CoQ10 at ROS Nutrition
Co-enzyme Q 10®
- Enhances performance
- Supports recovery and adaptation from training
- Increases energy levels
- Supports fat burning (loss)
- Enhances body composition
- Strengthens immunity
- Protects against chronic disease states
- Bhagavan HN & Chopra RK (2006) CoenzymeQ10: Absorption, tissue uptake, metabolism and pharmacokinetics. Free Radical Res, 40 (5), 445-453.
- Quiles JL, Ochoa JJ, Battino M, Gutierrez-Rios P, Nepomuceno EA, Frías ML, Huertas JR & Mataix J (2005) Life-long supplementation with a low dosage of coenzymeQ10 in the rat: Effects on antioxidant status and DNA damage. BioFactors, 25 (1-4), 73-86.
- Arroyo A, Navarro F, Gómez-Díaz C, Crane FL, Alcaín FJ, Navas P & Villalba JM (2000) Interactions between ascorbyl free radical and coenzyme Q at the plasma membrane. J Bioenerg Biomembr, 32 (2), 199-210.
- Littarru GP & Tiano L (2005) Clinical aspects of coenzymeQ10: an update. Clin Nutr Metab Care, 8 (6), 641-646.
- Castro-Marrero J, Cordero MD, Saez-Francas N, Jimenez-Gutiérrez C, Aguilar-Montilla FJ, Aliste L & Alegre-Martin J (epub ahead of print) Could mitochondrial dysfunction be a differentiating marker between chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia? Antioxid Redox Signal.
- Smith KM, Matson S, Matson WR, Cormier K, Del Signore SJ, Hagerty SW, Stack EC, Ryu H & Ferrante RJ (2006) Dose ranging and efficacy study of high-dose coenzymeQ10 formulations in Huntington’s disease mice. Biochemica et Biophysica Acta, 1762, 616-626.
- Tsuneki H, Tokai E, Suzuki T, Seki T, Okubo K, Wada T, Okamoto T, Koya S, Kimura I & Sasaoka T (2013) Protective effects of coenzymeQ10 against angiotensin II-induced oxidative stress in human umbilical vein endothelial cells. Eur J Phar, 701 (1-3), 218-227.
- Hodgson JM, Watts GF, Playford DA, Burke V & Croft KD (2002) CoenzymeQ10 improves blood pressure and glycaemic control: a controlled trial in subjects with type 2 diabetes. Eur J Clin Nutr, 56, 1137-1142.
- 9. Crane FL (2001) Biochemical functions of coenzymeQ10. J Amer Coll Nutr, 20 (6), 591-598.
- Zheng A & Moritani T (2008) Influence of CoQ10 on autonomic nervous activity and energy metabolism during exercise in healthy subjects. J Nutr Sci Vitaminol, 54 (4), 286-290.
- Dai Y, Luk T, Yiu K, Wang M, Pandora MCY, Stephen WLL, Li S, Tam S, Fong B, Lau C, Siu C and Tse H (2011) Reversal of mitochondrial dysfunction by coenzymeQ10 supplement improves endothelial function in patients with ischaemic left ventricular systolic dysfunction: A randomized controlled trial. Atherosclerosis, 216 (2), 395-401.
- Díaz-Castro J, Guisado R, Kajarabille N, García C, Guisado IM, de Teresa C & Ochoa JJ (2012) CoenzymeQ10 supplementation ameliorates inflammatory signalling and oxidative stress associated with strenuous exercise. Eur J Nutr, 51 (7), 791-799.
- Deichmann RE, Lavie CJ & Dornelles AC (2012) Impact of coenzyme Q-10 on parameters of cardiorespiratory fitness and muscle performance in older athletes taking statins. Phys Sports Med, 40 (4), 88-95.
- Fu X, Ji R & Dam J (2010) Antifatigue effect of coenzymeQ10 in mice. J Med Food, 13 (1), 211-215.