Pulse of UTMC

Strenuous Exercise and CoQ10!!

          One of my interests- to pursue in the near future is “metabolic cardiology”- learning to prevent and treat heart disease as well as maintain a healthy heart and vascular system.

          The benefits of regular moderate intensity, non-exhaustive physical exercise has been known for a long time. Some of those benefits include a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and in general- a lower risk of all-cause of mortality. HOWEVER, recent research has shown us that these beneficial effects are lost with strenuous exercise.

          In the past few years, strenuous sports such as ultra marathon running, cross- country running, and Ironman triathlons have become very popular around the world. This type of exercise causes structural damage to muscle cells indicated by muscle soreness and swelling, prolonged loss of muscle function and leakage of muscle proteins into the circulation. This type of exercise has been associated with high increases of free radicals, and pro-inflammatory mediators. Damage like this can be PREVENTED by optimizing nutrition and increasing dietary nutritional antioxidants.

          The heart relies on energy substrates to keep the voltage high in the heart so that it can pump blood effectively and efficiently. If you have had a lot of damage to your heart through strenuous exercise, there is a good chance that your heart is not in “tip top shape”. Your heart has lost essential substrates that keep its energy up. If you have this type of damage, it’s like having a pocket full of coins, with a hole in the pocket- your continually losing coins (substrates)- the leakage of the energy molecule ATP!!

          In a recent publication in the European Journal of Nutrition, scientists have shown that taking a natural supplement termed “CoQ10” or Ubiquinone can dramatically prevent inflammatory mediators and oxidative stress associated with strenuous exercise.

          If you are not familiar with Ubiquinone, it is an electron carrier found in the electron transport chain- located on the inner wall of the mitochondria, that is used help generate (ATP)- The ENERGY MOLOCULE. Here is a short clip to get you up to speed………. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xbJ0nbzt5Kw

          In this study- there were two groups, a control group that did not take CoQ10 and an experimental group that took CoQ10. The Experimental group took 150mg of CoQ10 through a span of 48 hours before a strenuous run. Both groups then participated in a run that was a combination between mountain running and ultra-endurance racing. They ran to the top of the “Sierra Nevada”, considered to be one of the hardest workout trials worldwide. It was a total of 50km and had an initial elevation of 640m to a peak elevation of 3,393 m- almost a continuous incline the whole 50km.

          Results showed that after the run the group that took CoQ10 had a significant decrease in creatinine compared to the control group. The CoQ10 group also had significant reduction in the DNA expression of free radicals, a decrease in lipid peroxidation, a significant reduction in the expression of NADPH- one of the main sources of free radicals, a significant decrease in a whole array of molecules that promote inflammation and also found a significant increase in muscle triglyceride levels, which is good during exercise because it improves skeletal muscle activity and exercise capacity.

          All of the effects seen from this study show a strong antioxidant defense and an increase in markers that lead to the maintenance of the cell and its integrity. Since I have read this article, I have talked to several cardiologists that also prescribe CoQ10 to their patients to help increase heart health. If you are interested in learning more about “metabolic cardiology” you would find the book- by Dr. Stephen Sinatra M.D, F.A.C.C, F.A.C.N, C.N.S “The Sinatra Solution” a great read!





D?´az-Castro, J. (2011). Coenzyme Q10 supplementation ameliorates inflammatory signaling and oxidative stress associated with strenuous exercise. European Journal of Nutrition, 9.


is Aaron is a passionate runner and triathlete. Aaron received his bachelors of science at Bowling Green State University in Applied Health Science Health Specialization. He has also completed his masters’ of science in Exercise Physiology with a focus in cardiopulmonary physiology and metabolism. He is currently attending Physician Assistant school at UT and hopes to practice Cardiothoracic or trauma surgery in the future. He is currently serving as president of the Graduate Student Association at the University of Toledo. For more information about this organization please visit www.utoledogsa.com.
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