NADH stands for “nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) plus hydrogen (H).” This chemical occurs naturally in the body and plays a role in the chemical process that generates energy. It is a coenzyme that is found in all living cells. An enzyme is a catalyst, which is a substance that participates in a chemical reaction without being affected by it. A coenzyme is a substance that helps the enzyme to function. Healthy bodies make all the NADH they need using vitamin B3 (also known as niacin, or nicotinamide) as a starting point.

Coenzyme Q10 is also known as ubiquinone. The letter Q refers to quinone, which is a chemical group derived from aromatic  rings. The number 10 refers to the 10 isoprene  (CH2=C(CH3)CH=CH2) units attached to the molecule. CoQ10 is found in all mammalian cells (for that matter, all eukayotic cells). It is found primarily in the mitochondria and is a vital to the electron transport chain; in other words it is important for cellular energy. CoQ10 is found in high levels in cells that require a lot of energy, like the cells of the heart muscle.

A recent study, published in Clinical Nutrition (2016 Aug;35(4):826-34. doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2015.07.010. Epub 2015 Jul 17) looked at the effect NADH and CoQ10 had on patients with chronic fatigue syndrome. It was a double-blind, placebo-controlled study with 80 subjects with chronic fatigue syndrome. Half were given NADH and CoQ10 and half were given a placebo for eight weeks. Patients were evaluated for pain, sleep and fatigue by questionnaire at the beginning of the study, at four weeks and at eight weeks. Maximum heart rate was measured with an exercise test at the beginning at the end of the eight weeks.

Compared to the placebo group, the group receiving the supplement perceived that they had less fatigue and their maximum heart rate during the exercise test was reduced by the end of the study. There was no reduction in pain or improvement of sleep for either group.