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STUDY: Coenzyme Q-10 prevents nerve cell death
JOURNAL: Archives of Neurology
AUTHORS: Dr. Clifford Shults
ABSTRACT: A small but promising study found that the over-the-counter dietary supplement coenzyme Q-10, or CoQ10, may slow the progression of Parkinson’s disease.
COMMENTARY: Existing treatments may ease symptoms of the degenerative brain disorder but are not believed to affect the underlying disease process. The new study found evidence that the naturally occurring compound CoQ10 may help stop the nerve cell death that characterizes Parkinson’s.
The study involved just 80 people. Half ate maple-nut flavored wafers containing various CoQ10 doses, half took a placebo for up to 16 months. By the study’s end, the 23 patients on the highest daily doses had 44 percent less decline in mental function, movement and ability to perform daily living tasks than the placebo group.
Research has suggested that energy-supplying structures inside cells called mitochondria may be impaired in Parkinson’s disease. CoQ10, a compound made in the body, is believed to help mitochondria function.
Patients studied had early-stage Parkinson’s and took a placebo or CoQ10 in doses of 300 milligrams, 600 mgs or 1,200 mgs daily. Their symptoms were evaluated for up to 16 months. By the eighth month, the 23 patients on the highest dose showed significantly less impairment than the others.
The results indicate that follow-up research at perhaps even higher doses should proceed “pretty aggressively,” said Dr. Bernard Ravina of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, which funded the study.