By Stephen T. Sinatra, M.D., F.A.C.C., F.A.C.N., C.N.S., C.B.T.
Two studies – one with humans and the other with laboratory animals – suggest that coenzymeQ10 supplementation may benefit patients with Parkinson’s, a common neurodegenerative disorder without a cure that affects about 1-2 percent of the population above the age of 55.
Parkinson’s is a movement disease, the result of brain cells not producing enough of an important chemical called dopamine. Symptoms, which become progressive, include trembling of the hands, arms, legs, jaw, and face; stiffness; slowness of movement; and poor balance and coordination. CoQ10, an antioxidant compound made in the body, is an essential element for cellular energy production. As the body ages, it makes less.
The human study involved sixteen subjects with early Parkinson’s. They were given progressively higher doses of a CoQ10 supplement over an eight-week period. The researchers found that doses from 400 to 1200 milligrams yielded a significant reduction in a particular oxidative compound – called F2 isoprostane – associated with a number of common diseases. Improvements in symptoms were reported among subjects who had lower CoQ10 levels to begin with.
In the animal study, Parkinson’s disease was induced in rodents who were then treated with CoQ10. The researchers found that continual supplementation of the rodent’s drinking water resulted in a significant reduction of brain neuronal damage and slowdown of the disease progression.
My Viewpoint: I have used supplemental CoQ10 for more than thirty years to help patients with a wide variety of disorders. It is a supplement that can save any tissue in distress, whether in the brain or heart muscle. There have been previous studies showing that CoQ10 may be helpful for Parkinson’s. Now we have more evidence.
What This Means to You: It makes sense to supplement, especially as we get older and our body doesn’t produce as much CoQ10 as before. And not just to protect against Parkinson’s, but for good health and energy in general. Our population is getting older. We need to think about ways to protect the body from the ravages of aging. CoQ10 is one good way to do that.
My Recommendation: In general, I recommend 100 to 200 milligrams of CoQ10 daily. To protect brain health, I would add an omega-3 fatty acid (such as fish or squid oil) and a broad-spectrum tocotrienol (a type of vitamin E) supplement. I would also include brain-healthy fats in the diet, namely avocado, coconut oil, and extra virgin olive oil. Al;so, as one of the few known causes of Parkinson’s is exposure to paraquat, an herbicide used in different parts of the world, be very wary of pesticides and herbicides – they are toxic. Choose organic fruits and vegetables if possible.
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