Want more energy? Take caffeine! Want bigger increases in strength? Take creatine! Want to assist your mitochondria in energy production? Take CoQ10! Wait, what was that last one?
A supplement that continues to evade the spotlight, CoQ 10 is a little known supplement used primarily by endurance and ultra-endurance athletes. This supplement’s primary athletic performance function is to assist mitochondria, your cell’s proverbial power plant, in producing Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP), your body’s main source of energy. Along with mitochondrial enhancement, CoQ 10 has also been supplemented for risk of heart failure, cancer, migraines, and other specific medical conditions. As an antioxidant, according to the University of Maryland’s Medical Center, “(CoQ 10)… can neutralize free radicals and may reduce or even help prevent some of the damage they cause.” That’s right, CoQ 10 is an antioxidant, despite it not being found in blueberries.
Since CoQ 10 assists in optimizing mitochondrial function, it is no surprise runners and cyclists look to this naturally found compound for assistance in performance enhancement. Anything to help with rebuilding ATP (which isn’t illegal!) is an automatic yes in terms of supplementation. CoQ 10 has also become more popular amongst other endurance athletes, namely high level Crossfit Athletes. Some of the most broken athletes in the world are “Crossfitters,” breaking their bodies down with up to three to four exercise sessions PER DAY, and with training comes recovery. To speed that recovery along and cycle out those metabolic wastes, mitochondria need to work to provide energy to the body in order for a process known as homeostasis (or equilibrium) to occur in the body. By assisting that athlete in enhanced mitochondrial function, that athlete will recover faster than normal.
Leaders in the Crossfit Industry such as Crossfit Invictus are recommending supplements for their athletes and clients to take, and out of the top 7 CoQ 10 was listed. Founder of the Bulletproof Life Dave Asprey, a man who is known for finding the highest quality supplements and products for those who achieve optimal health and optimal brain function, developed a product specifically for enhanced mitochondrial function, and CoQ 10 is a main ingredient. The Journal of International Society of Sports Medicine published a study conducted on 100 German athletes and supplementation of CoQ 10 for power production, and the study presented results where the athletes who did supplement increased their power!
Keep in mind, this is a supplement. A supplement’s purpose is to replace or add to one’s diet. Most nutritionists or dieticians will encourage you to eat whole, non-processed foods that naturally contain the vitamins and minerals (and antioxidants) that your body needs to survive and thrive. At Accelerated Fitness we agree with that encouragement. Can CoQ 10 become an option to increase performance in the gym? Of course. The same can be said for amino acids and coffee. They should not consistently replace the excellent meal choices that fuel your body for the day.
If CoQ 10 is a viable option for supplementation, then look for Ubiquinone, not Ubiquinol. Ubiquinol is not as bioavailable a Ubiquinone, yet may cost more. Take CoQ 10 with a fat source, coconut oil or your omega-3 oil, to optimize absorption. Test the effects for about a 2-week period to ensure the effects of the supplement are noticeable and there is a difference in training/exercise.
There are many supplements out there, as proven by walking in to your local Whole Foods, GNC, Vitamin Shoppe, Trader Joe’s, Stop n’ Shop, etc. Many of them do not prove effective, but CoQ 10 may be one of the few which provide an advantage. Through enhanced mitochondrial function, recovery speed can be increased along with power production and endurance capabilities. See if this supplement is an option for you!