Can CoQ10 help arthritis? What is CoQ10?

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Can CoQ10 help arthritis? Co-enzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a supplement that most people associate with protection from heart disease. Now a new study suggests that it may help in inflammatory arthritis. In particular, in a recent study, it was shown to reduce inflammatory substances and evidence of cell stress based on blood tests.

What the heck is CoQ10? This is a natural substance found inside the batteries that live inside your cells (mitochondria). It helps to generate the fuel for your cells (ATP) that the batteries run on. It’s been shown to help heart function. It’s also used by cardiologists to help statin drug induced muscle pain, as it’s been shown to help that problem. Given that recent research shows how statin drugs poison the mitochochondria, this makes sense.

The new study looked at patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and was a randomized controlled trial. Twenty two patients received 100 mg/day capsules of CoQ10 and 22 patients took placebo for 2 months. At the beginning and the end of the study, blood tests were taken from patients to measure malondialdehyde (MDA), total antioxidant capacity (TAC), interleukin (IL)-6 and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α). Basically, these are chemicals that measure bad oxidants (which indicate cell stress and aging) as well as bad inflammatory chemicals. The results? One each of the oxidant and inflammatory markers decreased significantly in the patients taking CoQ10.

Might CoQ10 have an impact on the more common wear and tear type of arthritis (osteoarthritis)? It looks like at least one research study in animals suggests that it might. In this study, animals fed CoQ10 had reduced cartilage breakdown and bad inflammatory markers.

The upshot? There are many cardiologists that place their patients on CoQ10 to help cardiac function as well as to reduce the bad side effects of statin cholesterol drugs. However, did you know that it may also help arthritis by decreasing the bad inflammatory chemicals that lead to cartilage breakdown? I know I sure didn’t – so I just ordered some on Amazon!

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Chris Centeno, MD is a specialist in regenerative medicine and the new field of Interventional Orthopedics. Centeno pioneered orthopedic stem cell procedures in 2005 and is responsible for a large amount of the published research on stem cell use for orthopedic applications. View Profile

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