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Life Extension Magazine

Innovative Research and Applications for CoQ10

August 2004

By Kurt J. Samson

LE Magazine August 2004
Innovative Research and Applications for CoQ10
By Kurt J. Samson

CoQ10 and the Brain
A study conducted by research-ers at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York found CoQ10 deficiency in the brains of 17 patients with cerebellar ataxia and/or atrophy, suggesting an ataxic syndrome responsive to therapy with the supplement.18 The scientists examined the distribution of CoQ10 in different brain regions in animals and in one human subject before and after administering CoQ10 supplements. In experimental rats, the lowest levels of CoQ10 were found in the cerebellum, but the relative proportion was similar in the blood, organs, and tissue.

In the human subject, daily supplementation with CoQ10 increased levels in the blood and liver, but CoQ10 levels in the brain remained low in four brain regions.

Nonetheless, the findings suggest “selective vulnerability” in the cerebellum to CoQ10 depletion and its protective mechanisms, according to Drs. Ali Naini and Salvatore DiMauro.

Macular Degeneration
In the journal Ophthalmologica, Dr. Janos Feher, a researcher at the University of Rome, Italy, reported that CoQ10 may improve retinal function in patients with age-related macular degeneration by improving the performance of mitochondria in the retinal pigment epithelium.19

Dr. Feher and associates treated 14 patients diagnosed with early age-related macular degeneration using a preparation that included CoQ10, acetyl-L-carnitine, polyunsaturated fatty acids, and vitamin E. A matched control group received vitamin E alone. A number of tests were then performed at 3, 6, 9, 12, and 24 months.

In patients receiving the CoQ10 mixture, all functions were slightly improved after three months and remained level throughout the two-year study period, while degeneration and visual function among participants in the control group continued to slowly decline.

Parkinson’s Disease
In a study of Parkinson’s disease patients, 360 mg a day of CoQ10 was administered for only four weeks, producing a mild symptomatic improvement compared to placebo. More important, an established clinical test to measure Parkinson’s symptom function showed significantly better improvement of performance in the CoQ10-supplemented patients compared with the placebo group.20

This new study helped to corroborate a report last year that Parkinson’s patients consuming 1200 mg a day of CoQ10 showed a 44% reduction in the decline of motor skills, movement, and mental function compared to the placebo group. Those receiving this high-dose CoQ10 also demonstrated an improved ability to perform daily living tasks. This 16-month study was remarkable in that CoQ10 slowed the progression of the disease, something that Parkinson’s drugs do not do.21

As the many studies outlined in this article show, biomedical researchers are discovering that CoQ10 shows promising effects against disorders as far-ranging as kidney failure, heart disease, muscular dystrophy, and macular degeneration. Despite the ever-growing number of clinical trials attempting to unlock CoQ10’s disease-preventing capabilities, widespread acceptance of CoQ10 by mainstream medical practitioners and federal health regulators continues to lag far behind the research findings. As larger and more varied studies of CoQ10 are undertaken and the results disseminated, the day when this critical nutrient gains the attention it deserves appears to be drawing ever nearer.


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