A lot of people take supplements of coenzyme Q10 to increase their energy levels but according to a new study the substance is even able to counteract muscle damage caused by intense physical activity.
Sport requires a lot of energy and many athletes use the vitamin-like substance as a natural shortcut to increased energy and improved performance. However, the compound also appears to protect against some of the muscle damage that is often seen among hardcore athletes. In a study which researchers from the University of Granada in Spain conducted on 20 ultra-runners, those athletes who took supplements of coenzyme Q10 had significantly less muscle tissue damage compared with runners who were given identical “dummy” capsules. The study is published in the European Journal of Nutrition and is claimed to be the first to show that coenzyme Q10 protects muscle tissue against damage caused by extreme sport.
Less DNA damage and inflammation
The 20 runners were randomly assigned to two equal groups. The participants in the first group were each given a capsule with 30 mg Q10 two days before the race, three 30 mg capsules on the day before the race, and one 30 mg capsule an hour before dispatch. The participants in the second group received the same amount of capsules, only as placebo capsules with no effect. All participants competed in a 50 kilometre race along Europe’s highest road through the Sierra Nevada mountain range.
The scientists observed a clear difference between the two groups. The Q10-supplemented runners had less than half the level of DNA damage as the runners in the placebo group. Also, levels of inflammation in the Q10 group were substantially lower than among the controls.
Kidney protectionIn addition, the scientists observed that urine levels of creatinine were much lower in the Q10-supplemented athletes. Creatinine is a natural substance that is released as a result of the break-down of muscle tissue. It is also an indicator of kidney damage.
A Finnish study from 1996 found that supplements of Q10 helped top-notch cross-country skiers recover faster after arduous training sessions, and the new study on ultra-runners may help explain why: the less muscle damage a person is exposed to, the faster the recovery.
European Journal of Nutrition (ahead of print), October 12, 2011
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