Study questions CoQ10 for Parkinsons

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Coq10 Coenzyme q10 Mitochondrion Alzheimer's disease Parkinson

Supplementation with co-enzyme Q10 (CoQ10) does not produce any
benefits for people with Parkinson's disease, suggests a new
clinical trial from Germany.

The level of CoQ10 produced by the body begins to drop after the age of about 20, leading to it being investigated in relation to age-related disease. Previous studies have reported that it may offer protection against Parkinson's and Alzheimer's, as well as playing a role in the prevention of skin ageing. Such reports have significantly boosted demand for the product in recent years, and the market is now worth $200m (€162m) in the US alone. While previous research has suggested that CoQ10 has a preventative effect against Parkinson's the new randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group, single-dose trial indicates that the coenzyme may not offer any benefits for people who already have the disease. "Although we demonstrated a significant increase in plasma levels of CoQ10 toward levels observed with high doses of standard CoQ10 formulations in Parkinson's disease and other disorders, our study failed to show improvement of Parkinson's disease symptoms and did not meet its primary or secondary end points,"​ said lead author Alexander Storch of the Technical University of Dresden. The new study, published on-line ahead of print in the Archives of Neurology,​ gave 131 patients with Parkinson's disease either a 300-milligram dose of CoQ10 (MSE Pharmazeutika) or placebo for three months in a randomised trail. This was then followed by a two-month "washout" period. Parkinson's disease symptoms were evaluated before the start of supplementation, at monthly intervals and again after the washout period. A total of 106 patients completed the full three months of the study - 55 in the CoQ10 group and 51 in the placebo group. The compound was well tolerated overall, and similar levels of adverse effects were observed in both groups. Blood levels of CoQ10 increased by an average of 3.47 milligrams per litre after three months of supplementation. "Our study further demonstrated that 300 milligrams per day of nanoparticular CoQ10 is safe and well tolerated in patients with Parkinson's disease already taking various antiparkinsonian medications,"​ said the authors. Parkinson's disease is a degenerative condition affecting movement and balance in more than one million Americans each year, a figure expected to rise due to ageing populations. According to Storch and co-workers, the biological mechanisms underlying the condition are not fully understood, but researchers suspect a malfunction of the mitochondria, parts of the cells that help convert food to energy. "Since we did not find symptomatic effects of CoQ10 in Parkinson's disease, our study does not support the hypothesis that restoring the impaired energy metabolism of the diseased dopaminergic neurons leads to symptomatic benefits in Parkinson's disease,"​ concluded the authors. "Future studies will need to explore the protective effects of CoQ10 at the highest effective dose (equivalent to about 2,400 milligrams per day of a standard formulation) over a long period and in a large cohort of patients both sufficient to clearly define the protective potential of this compound in Parkinson's disease." ​ Public demand for products containing CoQ10 has seen the market grow. In the United States most new CoQ10 products have been supplements, with fewer skin care products hitting the market. In Europe, CoQ10 has proved more popular in skin care formulations than in supplements, thanks to its anti-aging antioxidant properties. Conservative estimates put worldwide sales of CoQ10 at around $350 million in 2004. Source: Archives of Neurology​ Volume 64, doi:10.1001/archneur.64.7.nct60005 "Randomized, Double-blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial on Symptomatic Effects of Coenzyme Q10 in Parkinson Disease" ​Authors: A. Storch, W.H. Jost, P. Vieregge, J. Spiegel, W. Greulich, J. Durner, T. Müller, A. Kupsch, H. Henningsen, W.H. Oertel, G. Fuchs, W. Kuhn, P. Niklowitz, R. Koch, B. Herting, H. Reichmann, for the German Coenzyme Q10 Study Group

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