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Ubiquinol and Sports Nutrition


Professional athletes and recreational sports enthusiasts alike are increasingly turning to food supplements because certain functions, such as energy production and muscle growth, require a plentiful supply of valuable micronutrients. At the same time, consumers are becoming more demanding: ingredients have to be natural, safe and thoroughly backed by proven research. One such ingredient—coenzyme Q10—has been thrown increasingly into the science spotlight in recent times.

Optimal energy supply and cell protection  

Ubiquinol, a reduced and more bioavailable form of coenzyme Q10, is the only lipid-soluble antioxidant produced naturally in the human body. It preserves mitochondrial functionality, accelerates recovery processes and has a powerful ability to fight the signs of ageing. Ubiquinol is also an essential part of the body’s respiratory chain, which is responsible for more than 95 percent of our total energy requirements. Supplementation is especially important for those who take part in sport since physical activity increases reactive oxygen species and decreases ubiquinol levels in blood plasma[1]. Scientific study findings have proven that the first positive effects are noticeable after just ten days of supplementation with a daily dosage of 50 to 100 mg[2].

Comprehensive scientific background   

The latest studies show the higher the Ubiquinol plasma level, the higher the performance capacity and the longer the time until fatigue. These effects have been demonstrated in professional sportspeople: a recent trial[3], based on short-term supplementation of 200 mg per day of ubiquinol before strenuous exercise for two weeks, showed a decrease in oxidative stress and an increase in plasma nitrogen oxide. This resulted in improvements in endothelial function, energetic substrate supply and muscle recovery after workout. Previous scientific findings show how ubiquinol supplementation can be of further benefit to sportspeople. For example, ubiquinol is able to significantly enhance peak power production in comparison to placebo in trained athletes[4]. There is also proof that supplementation before strenuous exercise modulates inflammatory signalling and subsequent muscle damage[5].

Safe use in various nutraceutical applications

Besides performance-improving properties, ubiquinol works as an antioxidant. It protects cell membranes and LDL-cholesterol from free radical damage, which is exacerbated during exercise. For many years, it was impossible to isolate ubiquinol for use in supplements or functional food applications, as it reacts very quickly with oxygen. It took more than ten years of research to develop a stable, bio-identical ubiquinol, produced via a natural yeast fermentation process.

As is clinically documented, ubiquinol is well tolerated and proven to cause no adverse effects. The German Sport University Cologne confirms that ubiquinol is not categorised as a performance-enhancing substance and, as such, is part of the Cologne List® of tested, doping-free substances. Thus, it can safely be used in a wide range of sports supplements in the form of powder, pellets, sticks, liquid and soft gel capsules, which are easily digestible. In addition, functional foods for sportspeople can be enriched with the fat-soluble nutrient – alone or as part of a multicomponent system, combined with minerals, for instance, or with other antioxidants such as vitamin C.

[1]Tiano L (2015): Effect of Ubiquinol on mitochondrial potential and oxidative stress in relation to intensive physical exercise. Presented at the 8th Conference of the International Coenzyme Q10 Association, in Bologna, Italy. October 8-11.

[2] Hosoe, K et al (2007): Study on safety and bioavailability of ubiquinol (Kaneka QH) after single and 4-week multiple oral administration to healthy volunteers. Regul Toxicol Pharmacol, 47(1):19-28.

[3] Sarmiento A et al. (2016): Short-term ubiquinol supplementation reduces oxidative stress associated with strenuous exercise in healthy adults: A randomized trial. Biofactors Nov 12;42(6):612-622.

[4] Alf, D et al (2013): J Int Soc Sports Nutr, 10(1):24 (2013)

[5] Diaz-Castro, J. et a (2012)l: EurJ Nutr, 51(7):791-9.