CoQ10 may cut muscle injuries for athletes

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Adenosine triphosphate

Supplements of co-enzyme Q10 may reduce the occurrence of muscular
injuries in athletes, suggests new research from Japan.

Levels of markers associated with increased wear and tear in the muscle, like creatine kinase and lipid peroxide, were significantly lower in elite Japanese kendo athletes after consuming co-enzyme Q10 for 20 days, compared to placebo. Researchers from University of Tsukuba, University of Tokyo, and Kobe Gakuin University report their findings in the British Journal of Nutrition​. The study adds to an ever growing body of studies supporting the benefits of the coenzyme for sports nutrition. Only recently, another Japanese group reported that CoQ10 supplements may boost physical performance and reduce feelings of tiredness associated with exercise (Nutrition​, doi:10.1016/j.nut.2007.12.007). CoQ10 has properties similar to vitamins, but since it is naturally synthesized in the body it is not classed as such. With chemical structure 2,3-dimethoxy-5-methyl-6-decaprenyl-1,4-benzoquinone, it is also known as ubiquinone because of its 'ubiquitous' distribution throughout the human body. The level of CoQ10 produced by the body begins to drop after the age of about 20, and the coenzyme is concentrated in the mitochondria - the 'power plants' of the cell. It plays a vital role in the production of chemical energy by participating in the production of adenosince triphosphate (ATP), the body's so-called 'energy currency'. A role beyond the mitochondria is also acknowledged, with CoQ10 acting as a potent antioxidant. The coenzyme plays an important role in preserving levels of vitamin E and vitamin C. Can do for kendo ​ Michihiro Kon and co-workers recruited 18 elite Japanese kendo student athletes and randomly assigned them to receive daily supplements f CoQ10 (300 mg) or placebo for 20 days. The study was double-blind, meaning neither volunteers nor researchers knew who was receiving the active or placebo dose. The volunteers had daily training sessions of five and a half hours per day for six days during the intervention period. At day three and five of the six day training period, the researchers report that both groups experienced increased in serum creatine kinase activity and the concentration of myoglobin, but these increases were significantly lower in the group receiving the CoQ10 supplements. Creatine kinase is an enzyme that catalyses the conversion of creatine to phosphocreatine, in the process consuming adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and generating adenosine diphosphate (ADP). Elevated levels of the enzyme are indicative of muscle damage and injury. Moreover, levels of lipid peroxide, a marker of oxidative stress, were also lower in the CoQ10 group after three and five days of training, said the researchers. "These results indicate that CoQ10 supplementation reduced exercise-induced muscular injury in athletes,"​ concluded the researchers. Mechanism ​ The underlying mechanism appears to be due to the antioxidant potential of the coenzyme, suggest the researchers, although further research is necessary to confirm these findings. Source: British Journal of Nutrition​ Published online ahead of print, doi:10.1017/S0007114508926544 "Reducing exercise-induced muscular injury in kendo athletes with supplementation of coenzyme Q10" ​Authors: M. Kon, K. Tanabe, T. Akimoto, F. Kimura, Y. Tanimura, K. Shimizu, T. Okamoto, I. Kono

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