Athletic Performance (Endurance)
Adenosine 5’-triphosphate (ATP)
Studies have shown increases in muscular strength among athletes supplementing ATP.
These effects are thought to be because of the increase in blood flow brought about by
extracellular ATP, which allows more nutrients to accumulate near the exercising
muscle, supplementing it with the oxygen, glucose and other essential nutrients it needs
to keep working. The stimulation of blood flow also enhances the removal of waste
products such as lactic acid and ammonia from the muscles. This speeds recovery,
which may enable athletes to train harder. In one trial, the effects of oral ATP
administration on 27 male bodybuilders aged 18-45 was assessed. Men who took a
high dose (225 mg) of the supplement daily for two weeks were able to do 18.5% more
reps than before they started the supplementation and total lifting volume increased by
704kg compared to an increase of 429kg in the placebo group.
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)
Strenuous physical activity lowers blood levels of coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10). Studies
show that supplementation with CoQ10 improves workout capacity and oxygen
transport in sedentary individuals. One study tested sedentary young men
supplementing with 60 mg CoQ10 daily and found improvements of 3-12% after 4
weeks. The addition of CoQ10 to any sports programme would be additionally
warranted, due to the fact that aerobic exercise accelerates free radical damage.
Glycine Propionyl L-Carnitine (gPLC)
In endurance exercise muscles use both glycogen (stored blood sugar) and fatty acids as
sources of fuel. ATP turnover in exercise happens at a high rate, making fatty acids the
ideal fuel source because of their high yield of ATP. With training, athletes become
more efficient at using fatty acids, in lieu of glycogen, although glycogen usage is always
the rate-limiting factor determining ultimate energy production (i.e. once the glycogen
stores run out, no more fatty acids can be used, even if they are available). Improving
the efficiency of fatty acid metabolism is a major goal of the endurance athlete, and to
this end gPLC would appear to be an appropriate recommendation. gPLC has a special
affinity for the peripheral muscles. The combination of gPLC with CoQ10 would be
especially warranted for improving energy metabolism during exercise.
Glutamine has been shown to improve nitrogen balance, increase protein synthesis, and
decrease muscle catabolism. Research also suggests that glutamine may elevate human
growth hormone secretion. Since glutamine also plays a role in the integrity of the
immune system by acting as a key substrate for both lymphocytes and macrophages,
supplementing with glutamine may help keep the immune system strong and decrease
the risk of infection during frequent, intense, or lengthy training sessions. Preliminary
studies also indicate that glutamine may stimulate the accumulation of muscle
glycogen, which could provide an added advantage for the endurance athlete, who
relies heavily on glycogen stores for energy.
Rhodiola has been shown to increase essential energy metabolites, adenosine
triphosphate (ATP), and creatine phosphate in the muscle and brain mitochondria.
Several studies indicate benefits in endurance exercise as well as increased physical
work capacity and dramatically shortened recovery time between bouts of highintensity
exercise. In one study men given one dose of Rhodiola increased their work
capacity on a cycle ergometer by 9% compared to a control group given a placebo.
Recovery in the Rhodiola group was also quicker than in controls. Rhodiola’s
adaptogenic properties also make it especially relevant for athletes during intense
Athletic Endurance Summary
Nutrient/Herb Typical intake range
ATP 1 125-300mg per day
Glycine Propionyl L-Carnitine (gPLC)2 500 – 2000mg per day (empty stomach)
L-Glutamine3 500 – 5000mg per day (empty stomach)
Rhodiola rosea4 250 – 1000mg per day
CoQ105 60 – 200mg per day
High quality proteins
Nuts and seeds
Build adequate rest time in training programme – avoid over-training
Ensure adequate sleep to aid recovery from intense training
Build up training slowly to allow for physical and physiological changes to keep up with
Ensure sufficient calorie intake to cover energy needs
Minimise impact of stress (Cortisol slows tissue repair, suppresses the immune system and
promotes muscle protein breakdown)
1. Use under medical supervision if taking Warfarin.
2. Concurrent use with prescription medication only under medical supervision.
3. High dosages of glutamine may affect anticonvulsant medication. Avoid if sensitive to
monosodium glutamate or suffering kidney or liver problems
4. Do not use during pregnancy or lactation. Concurrent use with anti-depressant medication under
medical supervision only.
5. Use under medical supervision if taking Warfarin as CoQ10 reduces the effectiveness of
Warfarin. Concurrent use with heart medication only under medical supervision.