CoQ10 as an Ergogenic



As a researcher I am constantly on the lookout for new and exciting compounds whether they increase muscle, reduce fat or enhance performance. Those that do the latter are known as “ergogenics.” For athletes and sportsmen, these can make all the difference not only during competition, but as an aid during training/practice. This article does not discuss any of the new and novel things I come across as they are saved for product formulation (gotta make a living somehow), but it does discuss a potential new twist for an old friend. The article title has already given away that I am referring to coenzyme Q10. This seems to be the new thing right now, especially with the new forms available with (apparent) better oral bioavailability such as Ubiquinol and Idebenone.

Research into CoQ10 has always been a little sketchy with regards to younger, healthy individuals. It could be one of those things that only really benefits the elderly (or those with heart problems) as studies rarely used healthy participants. But recently a new study was published in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research that piqued my interest as the researchers (Gökbel, H et al) investigated the effects of CoQ10 on performance during repeated bouts of supramaximal exercise in sedentary men. For the laymen among you, supramaximal is any type of exercise that demands anaerobic respiration because energy-demands far exceed that which can be produced via oxidative metabolism. And you can read sedentary as god-damn lazy. What they found was that CoQ10 did not differ from placebo with regards to fatigue (which decreased with each rep for both groups), but the CoQ10 group did note a higher mean power but not peak power. This basically means that they weren’t able to increase their power generation on later reps, but were able to keep power generation higher (than placebo) across all reps. This study was done using 100mg of CoQ10 over two eight-week periods, but an older study I’d now like to make note of that used 300mg per day for four weeks may elucidate a potential mechanism for the Ergogenic effect.

The researchers in this study (Linnane AW et al) weren’t investigating CoQ10 as an ergogenic, but rather its influence on protein expression and muscle fiber composition. Their study found that those using CoQ10 displayed less type I fibers and more type IIb fibers. Type I fibers are known as “slow twitch” fibers as they have a higher oxidative capacity (lots of mitochondria helps) so are ideal for endurance type activity. Type IIb fibers are known as “fast twitch” fibers, and for good reason too – they contract rapidly, preferring the glycolytic pathway of respiration, allowing them to generate a shit-ton of power. These are the fibers typically recruited for weightlifting and also have the highest capacity for growth. They concluded that CoQ10 has this effect by acting as a “gene regulator”. Thus, it is possible that taking CoQ10 regularly may help you maintain strength across all/most sets during a workout. Dosage seems to be 100-300mg daily, or whatever dose that equates to in the Ubiquinol/Idebenone form.


Gökbel, Hakk; Gül, Ibrahim; Belviranl, Muaz; Okudan, Nilsel. The Effects Of Coenzyme Q10 Supplementation on Performance During Repeated Bouts of Supramaximal Exercise in Sedentary Men. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: 28 July 2009.

Linnane AW, Kopsidas G, Zhang C, Yarovaya N, Kovalenko S, Papakostopoulos P, Eastwood H, Graves S, Richardson M. Cellular redox activity of coenzyme Q10: effect of CoQ10 supplementation on human skeletal muscle. Free Radic Res. 2002 Apr;36(4):445-53.

About the Author

Matt Cahill has worked extensively in the nutritional supplement field, and is the former CEO of Designer Supplements. During his time in the field has researched and developed prohormones, testosterone boosters, and other related compounds, both for his own company and others.