Coenzyme Q10 and Multiple Sclerosis

Coenzyme Q10 and Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple Scleorosis and Coenzyme Q10 Q:  My Neurologist has told me not to take Coenzyme Q10 with my Multiple Sclerosis.  I’m not sure why?

A:  Thank you for your reply and for bringing up the point about Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) and MS.  You may want to ask your neurologist why he suggested not to use CoQ10 to see what he thinks, as he may have his own concerns for you as to why he wouldn’t recommend it for you.  Upon looking into this further, this may be why he has concerns:

Antioxidant vitamins/nutrients stimulate the immune system in laboratory experiments and in some groups of people. In MS, where an overactive immune system appears to be part of the disease process, stimulation may not be a good idea, which may be why your neurologist doesn’t want you to take it.

CoQ10 has been studied most in patients with periodontitis, muscular dystrophies, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington’s disease, cancer, diabetes, and HIV/AIDS, and has shown benefit.  There is not a lot of research on it for MS patients specifically, and since MS is autoimmune, I see why he may be hesitant.  I had it in a list of products that may be helpful to protect myelin, which is why I put it in the list on my last email.

CoQ10 is an important enzyme/nutrient in the energy pathways of the body and the mitochondria of the cell.  It has excellent lipid-soluble antioxidant properties.

Dietary Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) intake in North America today may be lower than in past generations. Consumption of organ meats (e.g. heart, liver, kidneys), which have high CoQ10 levels, is no longer common. Deficient CoQ10 levels may be compounded by a dietary lack of essential nutrients for biosynthesis or from drugs that deplete levels.

Here are some recent abstracts to studies which I found on, which do look a little bit into the benefits of CoQ10 for neurodegenerative disorders which may be of interest:

Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat. 2009;5:597-610. Epub 2009 Nov 16.
Coenzyme Q10 effects in neurodegenerative disease.
Spindler M, Beal MF, Henchcliffe C.

Department of Neurology, Weill Medical, College of Cornell University, 525 east 68th Street, Suite F610, New York, NY,

Abstract: Coenzyme Q10 effects in neurodegenerative disease:

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is an essential cofactor in the mitochondrial respiratory chain, and as a dietary supplement it has recently gained attention for its potential role in the treatment of neurodegenerative disease. Evidence for mitochondrial dysfunction in neurodegenerative disorders derives from animal models, studies of mitochondria from patients, identification of genetic defects in patients with neurodegenerative disease, and measurements of markers of oxidative stress. Studies of in vitro models of neuronal toxicity and animal models of neurodegenerative disorders have demonstrated potential neuroprotective effects of CoQ10. With this data in mind, several clinical trials of CoQ10 have been performed in Parkinson’s disease and atypical Parkinson’s syndromes, Huntington’s disease, Alzheimer disease, Friedreich’s ataxia, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, with equivocal findings. CoQ10 is widely available in multiple formulations and is very well tolerated with minimal adverse effects, making it an attractive potential therapy. Phase III trials of high-dose CoQ10 in large sample sizes are needed to further ascertain the effects of CoQ10 in neurodegenerative diseases.

Altern Med Rev. 2005 Dec;10(4):268-93.
Neurodegeneration from mitochondrial insufficiency: nutrients, stem cells, growth factors, and prospects for brain rebuilding using integrative management.
Kidd PM.

University of California, Berkeley, USA.

Abstract: Neurodegeneration from mitochondrial insufficiency: nutrients, stem cells, growth factors, and prospects for brain rebuilding using integrative management:

Degenerative brain disorders (neurodegeneration) can be frustrating for both conventional and alternative practitioners. A more comprehensive, integrative approach is urgently needed. One emerging focus for intervention is brain energetics. Specifically, mitochondrial insufficiency contributes to the etiopathology of many such disorders. Electron leakages inherent to mitochondrial energetics generate reactive oxygen free radical species that may place the ultimate limit on lifespan. Exogenous toxins, such as mercury and other environmental contaminants, exacerbate mitochondrial electron leakage, hastening their demise and that of their host cells. Studies of the brain in Alzheimer’s and other dementias, Down syndrome, stroke, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Huntington’s disease, Friedreich’s ataxia, aging, and constitutive disorders demonstrate impairments of the mitochondrial citric acid cycle and oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) enzymes. Imaging or metabolic assays frequently reveal energetic insufficiency and depleted energy reserve in brain tissue in situ. Orthomolecular nutrients involved in mitochondrial metabolism provide clinical benefit. Among these are the essential minerals and the B vitamin group; vitamins E and K; and the antioxidant and energetic cofactors alpha-lipoic acid (ALA), ubiquinone (coenzyme Q10; CoQ10), and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, reduced (NADH). Recent advances in the area of stem cells and growth factors encourage optimism regarding brain regeneration. The trophic nutrients acetyl L-carnitine (ALCAR), glycerophosphocholine (GPC), and phosphatidylserine (PS) provide mitochondrial support and conserve growth factor receptors; all three improved cognition in double-blind trials. The omega-3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is enzymatically combined with GPC and PS to form membrane phospholipids for nerve cell expansion. Practical recommendations are presented for integrating these safe and well-tolerated orthomolecular nutrients into a comprehensive dietary supplementation program for brain vitality and productive lifespan.

Here is some more info I came across on MS from a 2005 newsletter from an MD which may be of interest:

In a study published by a neurologist out of Vanderbilt showed that chlyamdia pneumoniae may be a very important pathogen in multiple sclerosis. Indeed, data they shared showed that 80 percent of the cerebral spinal fluid of MS patients is actively infected with this organism. Versus 15 percent of other neurological diseases that are not MS. In a journal-published article on neurology, aggressive treatment for chlyamdia pneumoniae rapidly reversed an acute exacerbation of multiple sclerosis.

Lastly, this is a newsletter you may want to sign up for with the Rocky Mountain MS Center to help you stay up with the latest medical research:  Here is a link to their 2011 research pdf:

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