The Case For Coenzyme Q10 Supplements Improving Fibromyalgia Symptoms
Fibromyalgia syndrome is a painful and often misunderstood condition which effects millions each year. Research now shows that the nutritional supplement coenzyme q10 may be able to help many with their fibromyalgia symptoms and reduce the need for prescription medications.
Fibromyalgia is characterized by chronic muscular pain, fatigue, and unexplained soreness in multiple places on the body. It’s often accompanied by sleep problems, depression, headaches, anxiety, digestive problems, and heightened sensitivity to stimuli like noises and smells. The exact causes of fibromyalgia are unknown, making it difficult to diagnose and even more difficult to treat. A number of factors potentially contributing to fibromyalgia have been studied, including brain chemistry, hormone regulation, and in the Spanish study, coenzyme q10 distribution in the blood.
Scientifically speaking, coenzyme q10 is an essential electron carrier in the body’s mitochondrial respiratory chain. In practical terms, coenzyme q10 can be thought of as a naturally occurring, vitamin-like substance found in all cells. It works in the cellular mitochondria, the “power plant” of the cell, and it helps convert fats and sugars to energy. It’s known to be a powerful anti-oxidant, and has been shown to significantly benefit cardiac health, improve immune system function, help stave off the skin-aging effects of sun exposure, and even boost resistance to neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.
Because signs of mitochondrial dysfunction have been observed in fibromyalgia patients, researchers at Pablo de Olavide University were prompted to formally compare coenzyme q10 levels in their plasma and cells with those of healthy control subjects. The results were notable: the white blood cells of the fibromyalgia patients contained an average of about 40% less coenzyme q10 than did the cells of the control group.
Another telling finding was that the fibromyalgia patients’ cells were observed to produce more reactive oxygen species, or ROS, than those of their healthy counterparts. ROS is a natural byproduct of oxygen metabolism but can cause significant damage to cell structures, known as oxidative stress, when overproduced. When the fibromyalgia patients were given coenzyme q10, their levels of ROS production significantly decreased.
Because their blood distribution of coenzyme q10 was altered, and the unusually high ROS concentrations found in their cells reacted favorably to the introduction of supplemental coenzyme q10, the study concluded that coenzyme q10 supplementation may have definite benefits for fibromyalgia patients.
The University of Maryland Medical Center seconds these findings, recommending that those with fibromyalgia take 100 – 200 mg of coenzyme q10 supplements daily for antioxidant, immune system, and muscular support. However, experts differ in their recommendations. Absorption is variable among individuals, and it’s important to check with your own physician before taking supplements of any kind.
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