Updated: Dec 3, 2020
When you need to recover quicker from strenuous exercise, which can be as little as any run over 6 miles, antioxidant nutritional supplements used to treat also CFS can help a long way.
In this video: how mitochondria power the cell, and how ATP works, generating from glycolysis, then transforming into ADP and releasing energy for our biological processes.
What are NADH and Q10, and how they help to energise our bodies
NADH and the CoEnzime Q10 are powerful antioxidants which traditionally have been used for improving cardiovascular health (the heart muscle never rests, it needs ATP constantly, so low CoQ10 levels means the heart is energy-starved) and have proved useful also to treat Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). Additionally, endurance athletes, who subject their bodies to strenuous exercise, have found the supplementary intake of these antioxidants very helpful to recover faster from trainings fatigue, and to improve athletic performance, by being more resilient to physical stress, and by increasing stamina and mental focus.
In fact, while Q10 supports energy production (especially if taken in its metabolic active form, ubiquinol), NADH is directly involved in the production of cellular energy, and therefore significantly impacts the functioning of the the brain, heart and muscles, which are the organs that use the most of our energy. As much as for Q10, our body can naturally synthesise some NADH too, from the Nicitin in food. However, at difference of Q10, the Nnicitin form doesn’t turn efficiently into its metabolically active form, NADH. Therefore, assuming NADH as a supplement can help to increase faster our energy levels.
To understand how Q10 and NADH work in the production of energy from our cells, we need to look at how we produce Adenosine TriphosPhate (ATP), the energy-carrying molecule used in cells, which can release energy very quickly, after taking it from the food we ingest.
The energy carried by NADH is used to drive a number of cellular reactions and can also be used to generate ATP: NADH (as much as FADH2) is a high energy and unstable compounds like ATP, and when electrons are removed from NAPH, because these molecules are oxidized, energy is released. Cellular respiration is the name for the process by which the ATP molecules are produced inside the mitochondria in our cells.
Coenzyme Q10 in its oxidised form is a key component in the process of energy production, as it is a compound essential for mitochondrial function and to generate energy by producing ATP, which are both vital for energising exercise performance. Our body produces this compound naturally, but age, restrictive diets and heavy training depletes it. Supplements are more effective than foods to supply this component to the body from an external source, as foods like soy, spinach and organ meat only contain small amounts of it.
In this video: how NADH is produced, when the most common fatty acid in humans is oxidised (into matrix constituents within the mitocondria) and moves in the electron transport chain. One single NADH molecule generates 2.5 ATP molecule (vs 1.5 by FADH2)
How much Q10 and NADH should amateur athletes intake?
Professional athletes take Q10 in its metabolic active ubiquinol form, in the dose of 300mg/day, and NADH of 20mg/day (given the cost that might be high for non-professional athletes who don't take part in competitions, also 120mg of Q10 per day can be sufficient, and easy to find on high street nutritional supplements stores such as Holland & Barret in the UK. The NADH can be also found as a component of other supplements, such as for example the Food-Grown Wild Traveller complex, which has 5m of NADH per tablet).
What other antioxidants help to slow down the cells oxidation and ageing, during all aerobic exercise?
NADH and the CoEnzime Q10 are excellent antioxidants, and impact also our ageing. In fact, if our body antioxidants levels are low, all aerobic exercise can fasten ageing, even if it's not strenuous as running for hours, as any aerobic exercise is an oxidative process.
The good news is that there also other micro nutrients to neutralise free radicals (unstable atoms that can damage cells, causing illness and ageing), slowing the cells oxidation:
one way is to increasing the intake of foods with high content of vitamin E (for example, nuts, seeds and seeds oils, avocados, green leaves vegetables and wheat germs), aliments high in vitamin C (such as lemons, limes, oranges, mandarines, other citrous fruits, green and red peppers, berries, broccoli, sprouts, other leafy greens, potatoes, squash, tomatoes, watermelon), fruits and vegetables with proanthocyanins (in berries and grapes, red cabbage, pine bark, ginkgo biloba and other fruit and plants in red, blue, or purple colours) and with carotenoids (remembering to intake more "traffic light colours" vegetables, such as apricots, asparagus, beets, broccoli, cantaloupe, carrots, corn, guava, kale, mangoes, mustard and collard greens, nectarines, peaches, pink grapefruit, pumpkin, squash, sweet potato, tangerines, tomatoes, watermelon: all foods also high in vitamin C).