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Should I take Coenzyme Q10 for my Parkinson’s?

Sunday July 29, 2012

Coenzyme Q (CoQ10) is and over the counter dietary supplement.  Our body’s cells produce Coenzyme Q 10 but this decreases with age and some diseases like Parkinson’s. CoQ10 plays a key role in our cell’s energy production in a specific part of the cell, referred to as the electron transport chain, in our mitochondria. Portion of this electron transport chain is deficient in people with Parkinson’s;  hence CoQ10 may play a role in maintaining the integrity of this process and cell health.

Recent studies did not support original research suggestion a potential benefit of CoQ10 in patients with early Parkinson’s.  A double-blind placebo controlled clinical trial was stopped in 2011 when it was noted that 1200mg or 2400mg for 16 months did not improve symptoms and so is not routinely recommended for treatment.  The following questions are unanswered and situations that may pertain to you serve as a point of discussion with your provider as to whether you should take CoQ10.
  • Would a longer period of use (over 16 months) yield positive results?
  • Will results differ if taken at different stages of disease?
  • Supplements can have side effects even if they are naturally occurring in the body. CoQ10 side effects are minimal but could include bleeding risk, interaction with the blood thinner warfarin.  CoQ10 may reduce blood pressure and interact with some blood pressure medicines.
  • As with all anti-oxidants, do not take if you have cancer unless it is approved by your doctor.
  • CoQ10 is expensive. Can this money be spent on alternative treatment with noted and proven benefits like weight loss, exercise, stress management, personal trainer or health coach.
  • Do not use in place of recommended medicines.
  • As a supplement, CoQ10 is not regulated by the FDA. Be sure any supplement you take is tested to prove it is pure, has the potency that and absorbability that is claimed oon the label and marketing.  One way to do this is to look for the statement USP verified on the label. USP  is an independent laborary that tests for these qualities.

Learn more about CoEnz Q10 on the Wellness Center.

Monique L. Giroux, MDMonique L. Giroux, MD
Guest Blogger, Former Medical Director of NWPF

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