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CoQ10 and ubiquinolNovel,safe dietary supplementation for trained and untrained athletes

1. Department of Physiology, Institute of Nutrition and Food Technology ‘‘José Mataix’’, University of Granada, Biomedical Research Center, Avda. del Conocimiento s/n 18100 – Armilla , Granada, Spain.
2. Kaneka Pharma Europe N.V., Functional Food Ingredients Division, Triomflaan 173, 1160 Brussels, Belgium).


Strenuous or non-planned exercise induces inflammatory reactions together with high production of free radicals and therefore muscle damage. Coenzyme Q10 or Ubiquinone (CoQ10) is an endogenous lipid-soluble benzoquinone/benzoquinol compound that functions as a diffusible electron carrier in the mitochondrial respiratory chain. It is essential for energy production and is also a powerful antioxidant. Several studies have shown that CoQ10 supplementation in trained and untrained athletes is an efficient way of reducing the degree of oxidative stress and preventing over-expression of pro-inflammatory mediators. This leads to the maintenance of cell integrity and a reduction in secondary tissue damage, factors that could affect peak performance, endurance and recovery after exercise. CoQ10 has to be converted into its reduced, active form (Ubiquinol) in order to be used by the body. Several studies have shown that Ubiquinol can be taken up by the body more quickly and efficiently than conventional coenzyme Q10. This higher bioavailability is an advantage, increasing the nutrient’s beneficial effects, compared with traditional CoQ10 (oxidized form) supplementation. Our aim is to review the effect of CoQ10/Ubiquinol on diverse negative aspects associated with strenuous or non-planned exercise. In addition, the ergogenic effect of CoQ10/Ubiquinol and its influence on physical performance has also been reviewed.


Increased production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) that lead to cellular oxidative stress is linked to several pathologies, such as cancer, diabetes, and neurological diseases (1). Therefore, it seems paradoxical that although exercise promotes oxidative stress, a routine of regular non-exhaustive exercise is associated with numerous health benefits, including a lower risk of all-cause mortality stemming from a reduced threat of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes (2). Growing evidence indicates that although high levels of ROS production can damage cellular components, low-to-moderate levels of cellular oxidants play important regulatory roles in the modulation of skeletal muscle force production, control of cell signaling pathways, and regulation of gene expression (3). Many studies using both animal and human subjects have demonstrated that a variety of exercise intensities and exercise modes (e.g., cycling, running, and resistance exercise) result in increased biomarkers of oxidative damage in both blood and skeletal muscle (4, 3).

During strenuous or non-planned exerci ...