Take Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) and decrease oxidative stress and inflammation in the body. CoQ10 will also reduce the negative health effects of aerobic training because it elevates your antioxidant levels and abolishes free radicals that cause cell damage and premature aging. CoQ10 is well known for its ability to support cardiovascular health, slow atherosclerosis, prevent heart attacks, and lower blood pressure.
New research in the European Journal of Nutrition tested whether giving ultra marathoners a CoQ10 supplement could protect them from oxidative stress and the damaging effects of aerobic training. The participants who were male amateur ultra athletes were given either a placebo or CoQ10 prior to a 50 km mountain run to the top of Pico Veleta in Granada, Spain. The run is considered one of the hardest trails in the world because altitude increases by 2,800 meters and has widely changing climatic conditions.
The CoQ10 was administered using a dosing protocol in which participants were given capsules of 30 mg of CoQ10 in the following manner: one capsule two days before the run, three capsules on the day before the run, and one capsule on the day of the run.
The CoQ10 protected the participants from the severe oxidative stress and inflammation that was seen in the placebo group. The supplement effectively elevated antioxidant levels in the participants, which led to the scavenging of free radicals so that they were neutralized and oxidative stress was minimized. There was evidence of protein catabolism in both groups—a primary negative effect of aerobic training and indicator of the degradation of muscle fibers—but it was lower in the CoQ10 group. Muscle cell damage was minimized as was muscle soreness from the intense aerobic effort. Additionally, triglycerides, which improve muscle activity and capacity didn’t decrease as much in the CoQ10 group.
Researchers suggest taking CoQ10 using similar dosing schemes prior to aerobic exercise, particularly high-intensity exercise that produces a severely catabolic state such as marathons or iron man triathlons. It would have been interesting to see if CoQ10 affected hormone response to exercise because elevated cortisol, a common result of intense aerobic exercise, also indicates a catabolic state of muscle loss that would be expected in this population.
Along with taking CoQ10, other supplements that have been shown to help counter the negatives of aerobic training include probiotics, creatine, omega-3s, and other antioxidant blends, particularly vitamin E, selenium, and zinc. Strength training will minimize oxidative stress from aerobic exercise and may support a shift form a catabolic to an anabolic state. To learn more, read my article, How to Counter the Many Negatives of Aerobic Training
Diaz-Castro, J., Guisado, R., et al. Coenzyme Q10 Supplementation Ameliorates Inflammatory Signaling and Oxidative Stress Associated with Strenuous Exercise. European Journal of Nutrition. October 2011. Published Ahead of Print.
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