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CoQ10 and breast cancer

© Ray Sahelian MD

The following is one in an ongoing series of columns entitled Natural Medicine Research by Ray Sahelian MD. View all columns in series
Ray Sahelian CoQ10, also known as ubiquinone or ubiquinol, is a naturally occurring nutrient normally present in our bodies and available through foods (especially fish or meats) and supplements. In addition to being an antioxidant, it plays a significant role in the energy system of each of our cells. Some researchers are tempted to call CoQ10 a vitamin. A study conducted in Denmark in 1994 showed patients with breast cancer given CoQ10 fared better than those without it. In order to better understand the role of CoQ10 in breast cancer, a recent clinical trial including 200 women hospitalized for the biopsy of a breast tumor was conducted. CoQ10 blood concentrations were determined simultaneously with vitamin E plasma concentrations. A coenzyme Q10 deficiency was noted both in both cancers and non-malignant breast tumors, while vitamin E concentrations were within the normal range. A correlation was shown between the intensity of the deficiency and the bad prognosis of the breast disease. In other words, the more serious the cancer, the less CoQ10 was present in the blood. The researchers state that since pro-oxidants may promote tumor formation, CoQ10 supplementation in breast cancer could be relevant.

Comments: We should keep in mind that reliance on preliminary studies is not wise when it comes to cancer therapy. Sometimes additional studies done with a particular nutrient do not lead to the same outcome. However, these two studies are encouraging, and one should certainly consider the addition of CoQ10 and probably other antioxidants if stricken with cancer, particularly breast cancer. However, until we learn more, we should not stop the use of other more accepted therapies for breast cancer and gamble exclusively on CoQ10.

A reasonable dose of CoQ10 would be 30 or 60 mg taken in the morning. Higher dosages can cause overstimulation.

Jolliet P. Plasma coenzyme Q10 concentrations in breast cancer: prognosis and therapeutic consequences. Int J Clin Pharmacol Ther 1998 Sep;36(9):506-9 Lockwood K, Moesgaard S, Folkers K. Partial and complete regression of breast cancer in patients in relation to dosage of coenzyme Q10. Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communication 199:1504-1508, 1994.

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About The Author
Ray Sahelian, M.D., is a popular and respected physician who has been seen on numerous television programs including NBC Today, Dateline NBC, and CNN, and quoted by countless major magazines such as Newsweek He is the bestselling author of ...more
 
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