Can CoenzymeQ10 Improve Symptoms of Autism?

By Stephen T. Sinatra, M.D., F.A.C.C., F.A.C.N., C.N.S., C.B.T.

A research team in Slovakia has found – for the first time – that the nutritional supplement Co-enzyme Q10 (CoQ10 for short) improves symptoms of autism in children. Anna Gvozdjáková and colleagues at the Comenius University in Bratislava discovered that a dosage of 50 milligrams twice a day with lunch and dinner generated “significant improvement” in many of the children by the end of a three-month study period. Twenty-four children, aged 3-6 years, were included in the study, which was featured in the journal Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity.

As reported by parents, improvements were observed in these specific situations: communication with parents (12%), playing with friends (42%), verbal communication (21%), sleeping (34%), less food rejection (17%), less aggressiveness (13%), and less self harm (14%).

The improvements were seen in children when the CoQ10 blood plasma concentration increased to over 2.5 µmol/L.

Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder that manifests within three years after birth and affects four times as many boys as girls. Symptoms include behavior problems, and sleep and eating disorders. The precise cause is not clear, however researchers believe that an interaction takes place between genetic factors, environmental toxins, and antioxidant deficits leading to brain inflammation and dysfunction of neuronal and cellular energy systems.

 My Viewpoint: Autism is an extremely challenging condition – and a lifetime challenge at that − for parents. Thus any degree of improvement is welcome. In this study, the researchers applied my favorite nutritional supplement, CoQ10, which has helped so many of my heart patients over the years. CoQ10 can rescue any tissue in distress, whether in the heart or the brain. It is a powerful antioxidant, but even more importantly, it helps feed the mitochondria, vital structures inside cells where energy is produced. Mitochondrial dysfunction is a characteristic of autism.

 What This Means to You: CoQ10 should be added to the therapeutic program of autistic children. In this study, the researchers used a liquid form of the supplement. The CoQ10 was diluted in milk, tea, or juice. The critical factor for improvement was achieving a certain blood level, as determined by a blood test. I first found more than 20 years ago that reaching this same CoQ10 blood level was associated with significant improvement in my cardiac patients.

 Recommendation: CoQ10 is an amazing supplement. I have written about it many times. Supplementing with CoQ10 is a simple strategy that could have some welcome benefits. I would also suggest using conductive Earthing (grounding) sheets in youngsters’ beds. Anecdotal feedback suggests that grounding calms children with autism and helps them sleep better.


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