CoQ10 Shot Down as Parkinson’s Panacea
I remember around 2002-2003, when I was weaning myself off of levodopa (I figured and my neurologist at the time agreed that my symptoms weren’t all that bad unmedicated, so we felt we could put off the side effects of L-Dopa therapy by putting it off for a few years). All the talk in Parky Land was about the nutritional supplement CoQ10. All sorts of anecdotal stories on the Parky chat boards about how someone knew someone who took CoQ10 for a month and was all better now… that sort of thing.
I asked my neurologist at the time what he thought of all this. He said there was no credible scientific evidence to support any of the claims. However…
“It’s like my mama used to say about eating chicken soup when you have a cold. It couldn’t hurt!”
Well, CoQ10 is expensive. I had been taking it for a little while and hadn’t seen any noticeable benefit, so after talking to the neurologist I just stopped taking it.
Now, it turns out my neurologist was right. It’s not a bad thing for you. It just doesn’t do much for Parkinson’s disease.
The mitochondria is the part of the cells that produces energy. The first step in producing energy in the mitochondria is Complex I (NADH : ubiquinone oxidoreductase). In people with Parkinson’s Disease, Complex I is reduced in activity in the substantia nigra, which is the part of the brain primarily affected in Parkinson’s Disease. Complex I needs Coenzyme Q10 in order to function properly. However, energy production has no direct effect on increasing dopamine formation It has been claimed that Coenzyme Q10 is a potent antioxidant that can partially recover the function of dopaminergic neurons (the cells involved in Parkinson’s Disease).
Coenzyme Q10 was found to be completely ineffective in Parkinson’s Disease in daily doses of 200mg, 300mg, 400mg, 600mg, and 800mg. Only one Coenzyme Q10 study has ever shown any improvement in Parkinson’s Disease, using 360mg, but the effects were mild and were only assessed for four weeks. Daily doses of 300mg, 600mg and 1200 mg of Coenzyme Q10 failed to improve the symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease, but reduced the rate of deterioration. Coenzyme Q10 was safe to use in doses of 1200mg, 1800mg, 2400, and 3000. Plasma levels of Coenzyme Q10 did not increase in doses above 2400mg.
So, keep shelling out big bux for the CoQ10… or get a can of chicken noodle soup. You’ll get the same result.
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