Fatigue is a common symptom during illness, but is also seen in healthy subjects (e.g. athletes). Interest has recently increased in the use of over-the-counter supplements and naturally occurring nutriceuticals for the attentuation of fatigue, despite, no scientifically established treatment recommendations for fatigue. Two factors have previously made it difficult to establish treatment recommendations for fatigue include:
a. Inadequately developed fatigue inducing tasks
b. Inadequately defined evaluation methods for fatigue
Fatigue is best defined as difficulty in initiating or sustaining voluntary activity, and can be classified into mental and physical fatigue. This article will focus on the relationship between fatigue outcomes and sports performance.
Growing evidence indicates that reactive oxygen species are responsible for exercise-induced protein oxidation and contribute to physical fatigue. To protect against exercise induced oxidative injury, muscle cells contain complex endogenous cellular defense mechanisms to eliminate reactive oxygen species. Moreover, exogenous dietary antioxidants interact with endogenous antioxidants to form a cooperative network of cellular antioxidants.
Coenzyme Q10 is a fat soluble, vitamin-like quinone commonly known as ubiquinone or CoQ. Coenzyme Q10 is found in high concentrations in tissues with high energy turnover i.e. heart, brain, liver and kidney. Coenzyme Q10 is a ubiquitous compound vital to energy metabolism, and acts as a essential antioxidant, assisting in the regeneration of other antioxidants. This being so, researchers have investigated the effects of coenzyme Q10 as an anti-fatigue substance during physical load in healthy volunteers (e.g. athletes).
In a recent study (Double Blinded, placebo controlled, three crossover design), undertaken by the University Graduate School of medicine, Osaka, researchers examined the effects of coenzyme Q10 administration on physical fatigue. 17 healthy volunteers were randomised to oral coenzyme Q10 (100 or 300 mg/d) or placebo administration for 8 days. As a fatigue inducing physical task, subject performed workload trials on a bicycle ergo-meter at fixed workloads, twice for 2 hours and then rested for 4 hours. The results of the study indicated that oral administration of coenzyme Q10 improved subjective fatigue sensation (feeling of fatigue) and physical performance. Interestingly, oral supplementation of coenzyme Q10 at 300 mg/d for 1 week was shown to improve physical performance, whereas subjects administered 100 mg/d of coenzyme Q10 failed to produce any change in exercise performance. The results of this study reinforce previous findings that reveal coenzyme administration at 70-100 mg/d has no anti-fatigue effects on exercise performance.
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