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Home > Living Well > Health Library > Coenzyme Q10 for Sports & Fitness
Some athletes say that coenzyme Q10 helps improve edurance.
Because CoQ10 plays a major role in fat and energy metabolism, it may be beneficial to athletes who are expending a lot of calories. However, CoQ10 has not been fully investigated in regards to its effect on athletic performance.
Strenuous physical activity lowers blood levels of coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10).1 However, the effects of CoQ10 on how the healthy body responds to exercise have been inconsistent, with several studies finding no improvement.2, 3, 4, 5 A few studies, using at least four weeks of CoQ10 supplementation at 60 to 100 mg per day, have reported improvements in measures of work capacity ranging from 3 to 29% in sedentary people and from 4 to 32% in trained athletes.6 However, recent double-blind and/or placebo-controlled trials in trained athletes, using performance measures such as time to exhaustion and total performance, have found either no significant improvement or significantly poorer results in those taking CoQ10.7, 8, 9
Congestive heart failure patients who are taking CoQ10 should not discontinue taking CoQ10 supplements unless under the supervision of a doctor.
An isolated test tube study reported that the anticancer effect of a certain cholesterol-lowering drug was blocked by addition of CoQ10.10 So far, experts in the field have put little stock in this report because its results have not yet been confirmed in animal, human, or even other test tube studies. The drug used in the test tube is not used to treat cancer, and preliminary information regarding the use of high amounts of CoQ10 in humans suggests the possibility of anticancer activity.11, 12, 13
Certain medicines interact with this supplement.
A number of tricyclic antidepressants have been shown to inhibit enzymes that require coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), a nutrient that is needed for normal heart function. In addition, treatment with amitriptyline has been associated with a reduction in CoQ10 levels. It is therefore possible that CoQ10 deficiency may be a contributing factor to the cardiac side effects that sometimes occur with tricyclic antidepressants. Some practitioners advise patients taking tricyclic antidepressants to supplement with 30–100 mg of CoQ10 per day.
A number of tricyclic antidepressants have been shown to inhibit enzymes that require coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), a nutrient that is needed for normal heart function. It is therefore possible that CoQ10 deficiency may be a contributing factor to the cardiac side effects that sometimes occur with tricyclic antidepressants. Some practitioners advise patients taking tricyclic antidepressants to supplement with 30–100 mg of CoQ10 per day.
In a group of patients beginning treatment with atorvastatin, the average concentration of coenzyme Q10 in blood plasma decreased within 14 days, and had fallen by approximately 50% after 30 days of treatment. Many doctors recommend CoQ10 supplementation to prevent the drug-induced decline in CoQ10 levels.
In a randomized study of 21 men with combined hyperlipidemia, ten to twelve weeks of gemfibrozil therapy reduced coenzyme Q10 blood levels to the levels seen in healthy men. The clinical significance of this finding is unknown.
In a preliminary study, supplementation with 100 mg of CoQ10 per day reduced the severity of muscle pain by 40% in people with muscle pain caused by a statin drug. A double-blind trial also found that CoQ10 (200 mg per day) significantly decreased drug-induced muscle symptoms in people taking statin drugs.
However, in another double-blind trial, CoQ10 in the amount of 60 mg twice a day for one month was not more effective than a placebo for relieving muscle pain. Although the evidence is conflicting regarding whether supplementing with CoQ10 relieves statin-induced muscle symptoms, many doctors recommend CoQ10 supplementation to prevent the drug-induced decline in CoQ10 levels.
Pretreating people with the antioxidant coenzyme Q10 before administration of doxorubicin has reduced cardiac toxicity —an action also reported in animals. Some doctors recommend 100 mg per day.
Phenothiazine drugs like thioridazine can cause changes in heart activity in some people, which might be prevented with coenzyme Q10 supplementation. Therefore, some doctors and pharmacists may recommend coenzyme Q10 supplements to individuals taking thioridazine.
Phenothiazine drugs similar to perphenazine can cause changes in heart activity in some people, which might be prevented by supplementing with coenzyme Q10. Therefore, some health practitioners may recommend coenzyme Q10 supplementation to people taking perphenazine.
In a group of 16 glaucoma patients treated with a timolol eye preparation, six weeks of oral coenzyme Q10 (90 mg per day) was reported to reduce timolol-induced cardiovascular side effects without affecting intraocular pressure treatment.
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is structurally similar to vitamin K and may affect blood coagulation. Four case reports describe possible interference by CoQ10 with warfarin activity. It remains unknown how common or rare this interaction is. Those taking warfarin should only take CoQ10 with the guidance of their doctor.
In double-blind trials, treatment with pravastatin and other HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors has resulted in depleted blood levels of coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10). Supplementation with 90–100 mg CoQ10 per day has been shown to prevent reductions in blood levels of CoQ10 due to simvastatin, another drug in the same category as pravastatin. In a preliminary study, supplementation with 100 mg of CoQ10 per day reduced the severity of muscle pain by 40% in people with muscle pain caused by a statin drug.
Propranolol inhibits enzymes dependent on coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10). In one trial, propranolol-induced symptoms were reduced in people given 60 mg of CoQ10 per day.
CoQ10 is found primarily in fish and meat, but the amounts in food are far less than what can be obtained from supplements.
Last Review: 06-01-2015
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