Definition: "An ergogenic aid is any substance or phenomenon that enhances performance "

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Q10 boosts endurance by 40 percent in animal study

Even if humans bear only a little resemblance to the mice that Swedish researchers at Uppsala University used for their experiments, then endurance athletes looking for an effective supplement would do well to try Q10. According to a study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food, this co-enzyme boosts endurance capacity by 39 percent.

In theory Q10 enhances humans' performance capacity: the co-enzyme helps the mitochondria to produce more energy. But the results from human studies are varied: some show positive results and others disappointing results. That’s why the researchers decided to use animals to test different doses, varying from modest to hefty.

The highest dose that the researchers tested was 45 mg/kg/day. In an athlete weighing 60 kg that would correspond to a dose of 2700 mg/day, the Swedes write. But that's not true. If you want to convert a dose for rodents into a human dose, then you also have to take into account the fact that mice and rats' metabolism is 7 times higher than that of humans, giving you a dose of 400-600 mg/day.

Still. The researchers mixed Q10 with their mice's food for a period of 4 weeks. A control group was not given Q10. At the end of the 4 weeks the researchers tied a weight to the mice's tails and put them into an aquarium. They then recorded how long the mice managed to swim for.

Q10 boosts endurance by 40 percent in animal study

The mice that had been given 15 mg Q10 per kg bodyweight swam for significantly longer than the mice in the control group. They held out for 68 minutes. The animals in the control group only managed to swim for 49 minutes. So the supplement improved the animals' endurance capacity by 39 percent.

Q10 boosts the production of glycogen in the liver, the researchers discovered. And the glycogen reserves in the liver explain at least to some extent the performance enhancing effect of Q10.

Q10 boosts endurance by 40 percent in animal study

An interesting effect for strength athletes who also do cardio training is that Q10 reduced the rise in concentration of urea in the blood after the swimming test. That would suggest that the mice converted less muscle protein into energy.

Q10 boosts endurance by 40 percent in animal study

The optimal dose for the mice was 15 mg/kg/day. For a man weighing 100 kg that's equivalent to 100-150 mg/day – taking into account the differences in metabolism between mice and men. Going by other studies, that's a safe dose. The body's own production of Q10 only starts to run into problems at doses higher than 900 mg/day. [Regul Toxicol Pharmacol. 2009 Feb; 53(1): 1-5.]

"CoQ10 improves endurance capacity and has an antifatigue effect in mice, suggesting CoQ10 may be useful for the development of physical strength and intervention and/or prevention of fatigue", the Swedes conclude.

The study received no financial support from businesses. "No competing financial interests exist", is stated at the end of the article. Nevertheless, co-author Jorgen Dam is CEO of the Swedish Pharma Trade Healthcare. Pharma Trade Healthcare is actually the same as Pharma Nord, the manufacturer of the Q10 that was tested. And according to his LinkedIn page, Dam is the Export Director of Pharma Nord.

J Med Food. 2010 Feb; 13(1): 211-5.

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