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Increase Athletic Performance with Ubiquinol and NADH

By on November 8, 2019
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No matter how active we are, we all need ENERGY for our muscles to perform the work we aim to complete, and the ability to RECOVER from it. Let’s look at how strenuous activity increases our demands for two specific nutrients: co-enzyme Q10 and NADH.

Too Much, or Too Little of a Good Thing?
Exercise is supposed to be good for our health, but did you know that low antioxidant-status combined with exercise can actually accelerate the aging process?

During exertion, our bodies consume more oxygen, creating free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) – unstable molecules capable of cellular damage. We feel the effects of this when we develop muscle fatigue, muscle pain and general fatigue after exercise.

Wait! Before you toss your running shoes into the garbage bin, realize that we can offset this process with adequate amounts of antioxidants –substances that actually neutralize those damaging free radicals.

For example, vitamin C is an antioxidant found in most raw fruits and vegetables, vitamin E in oily foods like nuts and avocados, carotenoids from yellow, orange, red and green produce, while proanthocyanins are found in blueberries, pomegranates and blue grapes. Even some of society’s favourite beverages – red wine, green tea, hot cocoa – contain some powerful antioxidants.

One of the body’s multi-talented, self-made antioxidants is co-enzyme Q10. This one is vital for the heart, muscles and liver. Aging, cholesterol-lowering medications and strenuous / prolonged exercise all increase our needs for co-enzyme Q10 (CoQ10), so; that’s why it’s smart to supplement if any of these factors are part of your life.

Here’s how the most metabolically useful form of co-enzyme Q10 – ubiquinol – may benefit athletic performance. In a peer-reviewed study of 100 German male and female elite athletes, those who took 300 milligrams of ubiquinol daily had a significantly higher peak power output than those taking the placebo. Smaller studies have shown similar results for a variety of athletic activities.

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Energize Your Muscles
Besides an increased need for antioxidants, an active person has higher-than-average energy requirements. Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) + hydrogen (H), (NADH) is the nutrient most directly involved in cellular energy production. It`s particularly significant to the brain, heart and muscles – which use the majority of our energy. That’s why NADH supplementation may be helpful to those wishing higher energy levels.

NADH is not a stimulant or drug; in fact, it’s a very safe supplement approved by the International Olympic Committee. Studies performed by Dr. G.D. Birkmayer and team have shown that 20 milligrams of daily NADH supplementation in athletes has reduced lactic acid-related muscle fatigue after prolonged activity. This means that athletes may perform longer, and the recovery period between training sessions can be shorter!

A Powerful Combination
Remember, strong athletic performance needs the support of extra antioxidants and quality energy sources. Making supplementation of NADH and ubiquinol a priority could make the difference between a win and a loss.


  1. Davies K.J, Quintanilha A.T, Brooks G.A, Packer L. Free radicals and tissue damage produced by exercise. Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications. 1982;107:1198–205.
  2. Aguiló A, Tauler P, Sureda A, Cases N, Tur J, Pons A. Antioxidant diet supplementation enhances aerobic performance in amateur sportsmen. Journal of Sports Sciences. 2007;25:1203–10.
  3. Alf D1, Schmidt ME2, Siebrecht SC3. Ubiquinol supplementation enhances peak power production in trained athletes: a double-blind, placebo controlled study. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2013 Apr 29;10:24. doi: 10.1186/1550-2783-10-24.
  4. Birkmayer GD. Stabilized NADH improves the physical and mental performance in highly conditioned athletes. Proceedings from the First International Conference on the Mechanism of Action of Nutraceuticals, Dubrovnik, Croatia, October 2001.
  5. Jesus Castro-Marrero et al. Effect of coenzyme Q10 plus nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide supplementation on maximum heart rate after exercise testing in chronic fatigue syndrome – A randomized, controlled, double-blind trial. Clinical Nutrition 35:4;Aug.2016, 826-834.

Andrea Bartels, BA, CNP, NNCP, RNT is a Registered Nutritional Therapist with a clinical practice based in Ottawa. Having 20 years of work experience in the nutrition field, Andrea also teaches and mentors others to become nutrition professionals through her work at the Ottawa branch of The Canadian School of Natural Nutrition. She is an open-water long-distance swimming enthusiast.

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