Coenzyme Q10 - The Energy Maker

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by ProHealth, Jan 8, 2010.

  1. ProHealth

    ProHealth Member

    With nearly 40 years of medical research showing its importance in managing a wide range of serious illnesses, it's not surprising that CoQ10 has at times been described as “The Miracle Vitamin” and “The New Fountain of Youth.”

    Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a vitamin-like nutrient that is present in virtually every cell of the body and is an essential component of each cell's ability to produce energy. It is also a powerful antioxidant – a chemical that “mops up” potentially harmful substances.

    In order to understand how CoQ10 works, it is first necessary to understand mitochondria. Imagine that each cell in your body is a car. Mitochondria are the engines – or energy producers – in each cell that make your “car” run. It is the job of the mitochondria to supply this energy in the form of adenosine triphosphate (ATP). This is where CoQ10 comes in. To continue the car analogy, it is the oil that enables the engine to work.

    CoQ10 is the catalyst that makes it possible for the mitochondria to produce ATP, the molecule upon which all cellular functions in the body depend.

    The Implications of CoQ10 Deficiency

    Because CoQ10 is so essential to the proper functioning of every cell in the body, it's not surprising that researchers have found a deficiency of CoQ10 may be linked to a number of diverse diseases. A few of the illnesses in which low levels of CoQ10 may be implicated include:

    • Heart Disease
    • Myalgic Encephalomyelitis / Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS)
    • Cancer
    • Parkinson's Disease
    • Alzheimer's
    • Migraines

    Small amounts of CoQ10 can be found in foods, primarily meat and fish. The highest amounts are found in organ meats (heart, liver, kidneys) as well as beef, soy oil, sardines, mackerel and peanuts. CoQ10 is also synthesized in bodily tissues. In healthy individuals, the combination of dietary intake and biosynthesis work to maintain normal CoQ10 levels.

    Why then do so many people seem to be deficient in CoQ10?

    No one knows for sure. There are likely multiple causes. Perhaps the emphasis in recent years on eating less red meat as well as generally poor eating habits have contributed to reducing our dietary intake of CoQ10. And a number of other factors, such as environmental toxins, chronic diseases and some prescription medications may contribute to the impairment of the body's ability to synthesize CoQ10.

    For example, research has shown that the cholesterol-lowering drugs known as “statins” (Lipitor, Zocor, etc.) not only lower cholesterol, but also inhibit the biosynthesis of CoQ10 by as much as 40 percent.(1)

    Anyone taking medication to lower cholesterol should seriously consider also taking CoQ10 supplements.

    Other types of medications thought to deplete the body of CoQ10 include beta-blockers, diuretics, tricyclic antidepressants, and diabetes medications such as metformin, tolazamide and glyburide.

    CoQ10 and the Heart

    Due to their high energy requirements, the heart and liver contain the most mitochondria per cell and consequently need a very high concentration of CoQ10 in order to function properly. Because of this, much of CoQ10 research has concentrated on heart disease. Researcher Peter H. Langsjoen, MD, FACC, reviewed numerous studies and scientific papers related to the management of heart disease with CoQ10 and found their conclusions to be remarkably consistent: “that treatment with CoQ10 significantly improved heart muscle function while producing no adverse effects or drug interactions.”(2)

    Particularly interesting have been the studies showing a strong correlation between very low levels of CoQ10 and congestive heart failure. The severity of the heart failure also correlated with the severity of the CoQ10 deficiency.(3) In general, the sooner patients were given CoQ10 after onset of congestive heart failure, the more dramatic their improvement.

    Cardiomyopathy (inflammation/weakening of the heart muscle) is another form of heart disease shown to benefit from CoQ10 supplementation. In a six-year clinical study, 85 percent of cardiomyopathy patients supplemented with CoQ10 in addition to their conventional treatments improved by one or two NYHA classes (New York Heart Association's functional classification for the four stages of heart failure).(4)

    CoQ10 also appears to be beneficial in the management of hypertension (high blood pressure). In one study of 109 patients, 51 percent were able to stop taking between one and three antihypertensive medications an average of 4.4 months after starting CoQ10 supplementation.(5)

    The Importance of CoQ10 for ME/CFS Patients

    When plasma CoQ10 was analyzed in 58 ME/CFS patients and 22 normal controls, researchers found that CoQ10 levels were significantly lower in the ME/CFS patients than in the normal controls.(6) This finding has far greater implications than the obvious lack of energy experienced by people with ME/CFS. Because CoQ10 is essential to every cell in the body, a severe CoQ10 deficiency can cause mitochondrial dysfunction, which in turn has a serious negative impact on multiple organs and body systems and can ultimately result in heart failure.

    In fact, that is exactly what happens, according to Dr. Sarah Myhill, MD, a UK-based ME/CFS researcher and clinician. In her recent paper, “Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Mitochondrial Dysfunction,” she makes her case that ME/CFS is actually a symptom of mitochondrial failure.(7) Dr. Myhill recommends that ME/CFS patients have their CoQ10 levels checked and begin taking CoQ10 supplements if they are low. She also notes that CoQ10 will work best in conjunction with acetyl L-carnitine, magnesium, D-ribose and Vitamin B3 (niacinamide).(8)

    CoQ10's Role in Other Illnesses

    Because a deficiency of CoQ10 can potentially affect every cell in the body, more and more research is being done to determine how much of a role it may play in other illnesses. Animal and/or preliminary human studies have been conducted to uncover how CoQ10 may work in managing a number of diseases including: breast cancer, melanoma, Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease, Alzheimer's, and migraines.(9-13) All have had promising results indicating that CoQ10 may be helpful in supporting the prevention or treatment of those diseases.

    How Much CoQ10 is Needed?

    The dosage of CoQ10 used for cardiac patients varies from 200 to 600 mg daily. For ME/CFS, Dr. Myhill recommends from 100 to 400 mg daily, depending on how low CoQ10 blood levels are. There is little danger of taking too much. In one study, CoQ10 was safe and well tolerated in ALS patients who were supplemented with dosages as high as 3,000 mg per day for eight months.(14) The total daily dosage should be divided and taken in 2 to 4 doses throughout the day.

    It is virtually impossible to adequately supplement CoQ10 from dietary sources. To put it into perspective, it would take one pound of sardines, two pounds of beef, or two and one half pounds of peanuts to provide 30 mg of CoQ10. Since anyone who is low in CoQ10 needs much more than 30 mg per day, CoQ10 supplements are the best solution.

    How to Take CoQ10

    CoQ10 is fat soluble, and ideally should be taken with a fatty or oily meal. It could also be taken with a single high-fat food, like an avocado, or even with a teaspoon of olive oil. Another good option would be to take a CoQ10-Vitamin E combo supplement. Not only are both good antioxidants that fight free radical damage, but vitamin E is an oil, which increases the absorption of the CoQ10 – and you don't have to worry about taking it with a fatty meal.


    ProHealth offers six CoQ10 formulations. To find out more, please visit:
  2. Hippocrates7777

    Hippocrates7777 New Member

    I am collecting links that detail vitamins, herbs, drugs and other therapies for chronic fatigue syndrome / myalgic encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME) and fibromyalgia. See here:

    If anyone knows of good links to chronic fatigue syndrome treatments, please let me know.
  3. richvank

    richvank New Member

    Hi, aussiewoman and the group,

    It's true that Co Q-10 has been found to be low in CFS. And it's true that Co Q-10 has an important role to play in transferring energetic electrons from the Krebs cycle to the enzymes in the respiratory chain (electron-transfer chain) in the mitochondria of the cells, to replenish ATP for driving the muscle contractions, nerve impulses and a variety of other biochemical reactions.

    It's also true that the mitochondria are dysfunctional in CFS, so that their ability to replenish ATP is below normal. That can explain many of the symptoms of CFS.

    However, while taking Co Q-10 can help this situation, it does not deal with the fundamental problem that is causing the mito dysfunction in CFS, according to my hypothesis. The fundamental problem is that there is a partial block in the methylation cycle, and it is coupled in a vicious circle mechanism with the depletion of glutathione. This combination has a very negative impact on the mitochondria, as well as several other parts of the overall biochemistry and physiology. Unless this problem is fixed, the mitochondria will not come back into normal operation, no matter how much Co Q-10 one takes.

    The reason Co Q-10 is low in CFS, according to my hypothesis, is that it is known that methylation is required to make Co Q-10, and the methylation capacity is low in CFS because of the partial block in the methylation cycle. But there are many other effects of this partial block that will not be remedied just by taking Co Q-10. For example, methylation is also needed to make carnitine, creatine, and choline. Carnitine is also needed by the mitochondria (to usher fatty acids into them for use as fuel), and it has also been found to be low in CFS.
    Creatine is needed in the muscles and the brain to store energy in the form of phosphate groups from ATP, and it is also low in CFS, based on creatinine measurements in the urine.

    Furthermore, the depletion of glutathione in the mitochondria, according to my hypothesis, causes some of the enzymes there to be partially blocked by oxidizing free radical reactions.
    This can be seen in urine organic acids testing of people with CFS. Taking Co-Q10 can help a little with this, because Co Q-10 is an antioxidant, but it won't solve the basic problem.

    So the bottom line is that if you want to get your mitochondria working better, I believe that you will have to do something more fundamental to your biochemistry than just adding Co Q-10, though it can help somewhat. That more fundamental thing is to treat to lift the methylation cycle block, which will allow glutathione to come back up to normal. By doing that, others with CFS have reported significant increases in their energy.

    I recommend that people get the Vitamin Diagnostics methylation pathways panel before doing methylation cycle block treatment. This panel will hopefully be available again starting at the end of this month (March). If the panel shows that a person has a partial methylation cycle block, I suggest that together with their physician, they consider treatment to lift it. I will paste information on the panel and the treatment below. I am not financially involved with either of them.

    I hope this is helpful.

    Best regards,


    Methylation Pathways Panel

    This panel will indicate whether a person has a partial methylation cycle block and/or glutathione depletion. I recommend that this panel be run before deciding whether to consider treatment for lifting the methylation cycle block. I am not associated with the lab that offers this panel.

    The panel requires an order from a physician or a chiropractor. The best way to order the panel is by fax, on a clinician’s letterhead.

    Available from:

    Vitamin Diagnostics, Inc.
    540 Bordentown Avenue, Suite 4930
    South Amboy, NJ 08879
    Phone: (732) 721-1234
    Fax: (732) 525-3288

    Lab Director: Tapan Audhya, Ph.D.

    Dr. Audhya is willing to help clinicians with interpretation of the panel by phone.

    April 18, 2009


    (Extracted from the full treatment program
    developed by Amy Yasko, Ph.D., N.D.
    which is used primarily in treating autism [1])


    1. FolaPro [2]: ¼ tablet (200mcg) daily
    2. Actifolate [3]: ¼ tablet daily
    3. General Vitamin Neurological Health Formula [4]: start with ¼ tablet and work up dosage as tolerated to 2 tablets daily
    4. Phosphatidyl Serine Complex [5]: 1 softgel capsule daily
    5. Activated B12 Guard [6]: 1 sublingual lozenge daily

    All these supplements can be obtained from, or all but the third one can be obtained from other sources.
    The first two supplement tablets are difficult to break into quarters. We recommend that you obtain (from any pharmacy) a good-quality pill splitter to assist with this process. They can, alternatively, be crushed into powders, which are then separated on a flat surface using a knife or single-edged razor blade, and the powders can be mixed together. They can be taken orally with water, with or without food.
    These supplements can make some patients sleepy, so in those cases they take them at bedtime. They can be taken at any time of day, with or without food.
    GO SLOWLY. As the methylation cycle block is lifted, toxins are released and processed by the body, and this can lead to an exacerbation of symptoms. IF THIS HAPPENS, try smaller doses, every other day. SLOWLY work up to the full dosages.
    Although this treatment approach consists only of nonprescription nutritional supplements, a few patients have reported adverse effects while on it. Therefore, it is necessary that patients be supervised by physicians while receiving this treatment.

    [1] Yasko, Amy, and Gordon, Garry, The Puzzle of Autism, Matrix Development Publishing, Payson, AZ, 2006, p. 49.
    [2] FolaPro is a registered trademark of Metagenics, Inc.
    [3] Actifolate is a registered trademark of Metagenics, Inc.
    [4] General Vitamin Neurological Health Formula is formulated and supplied by Holistic Health Consultants LLC.
    [5] Phosphatidyl Serine Complex is a product of Vitamin Discount Center.
    [6] Activated B12 Guard is a registered trademark of Perque LLC.