Benefits of Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) for
Written by Gloria Tsang, RD
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) has been quite popular in the past years. Possible benefits of CoQ10 supplements include the prevention and treatment of cancer and heart disease. CoQ10 supplements are usually available in either powder capsules or oil-based softgel capsules.
What is CoQ10?
Coenzyme Q10 is considered a non-essential nutrient as it can be synthesized by our bodies. It is used by our bodies to produce energy. It also acts as an antioxidant protecting us from free radical damage. Its antioxidant effects are similar to those of vitamin E. Some studies also suggested that Coenzyme Q10 stimulates the immune system.
Possible Benefits of CoQ10 in Cancer Treatment
Two studies showed that cancer patients have lower levels of Coenzyme Q10. In addition, a small human trial in Denmark involving 32 breast cancer patients investigated the efficacy of CoQ10 as an adjunct therapy (adjunct = supplements + conventional cancer treatment). The results showed that all patients in the trial reported that they used fewer painkillers and did not lose weight during cancer treatment. In addition, 6 patients showed signs of remission i.e. tumor regression. Please note that this Denmark trial was, however, not well-designed. It was not a double-blinded study and neither control or placebo group was included. Therefore, it is rather difficult to draw a definite conclusion from this trial on the benefits of CoQ10 in cancer treatment.
Furthermore, some anecdotal reports also recorded that adjunctive CoQ10 supplementation has increased the survival of patients with cancers of the pancreas, lung, colon, rectum, and prostate cancer.
CoQ10 Key Message: Very limited human data so far shows definite conclusion on Coenzyme Q0 supplementation in cancer patients. On a positive note, no serious side effects have been reported from the use of Coenzyme Q10. If you use CoQ10 supplements, make sure to discuss it with your doctor as it may decrease the effectiveness of your current anticoagulant medications such as warfarin. It may also reduce the effectiveness of chemotherapy. Some other drugs such as cholesterol medications, blood pressure medications and blood sugar medications may also decrease the effects of CoQ10.