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Ubiquinol the Newest Aid for Olympic Athletes?

In a recently published study involving elite athletes, many of which competed at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, ubiquinol was shown to provide statistically significant performance improvement (as measured by power on a cycle ergometer).

Over the 6 weeks of intervention, the placebo group increased power from 3.64 to 3.94 W/kg bw (an 8.5% increase). In the same time, the ubiquinol group increased from 3.70 to 4.08 W/kg bw (an 11.0% increase). While the difference of 2.5% using percentage values just missed the significance level, the increase in the ubiquinol group when using absolute differences, and in the multivariate analysis, were statistically significant .

This reflects a lot of previous studies of CoQ10 done on elite athletes--results are week to mixed. So far there isn't any real strong conclusive evidence that this population can benefit to a large extent. However, it does seem like in sports where a fraction of a second can mean the difference between a gold medal or no medal, it looks like ubiquinol could provide a small, legal (and relatively inexpensive) advantage.

Relating the results to a broader population, the researchers said, “older athletes and ‘weekend warriors’ might [benefit] even more from CoQ10 supplementation than young, well-trained athletes. Aging reduces the number of mitochondria and the level of Q10 in all tissues decreases with age. Increasing the Q10 content of remaining mitochondria might at least partly compensate for the lower number of mitochondria. Untrained athletes’ muscles are not as adapted to changing energy needs during exercise as are those of elite athletes. Other supplements have elicited stronger effects in increasing physical performance in recreational athletes and CoQ10 might be another such example.”

Of course, this has been seen in other studies of CoQ10 where it very significantly improved endurance and performance in a  sick population (for example, those with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease).

I would probably fit the bill as a "weekend warrior" and my personal experience with ubiquinol is that it dramatically reduces the muscle soreness that follows the next day or two after strenuous physical activity. In turn, this also allows me to return to to the gym or any physical activity, not only sooner, but also at a higher intensity, than when I didn't use ubiquinol.

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Source: Ubiquinol supplementation enhances peak power production in trained athletes: a double-blind, placebo controlled study

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