Several issues plague patients with multiple sclerosis, and while physicians aim to treat the disease to the best of their ability with available therapies, there simply aren’t reasonable solutions for some of them. Fatigue is one of those symptoms that is difficult to treat in MS patients, and it can significantly impact the quality of life. And it’s not the only long-term issue that can’t be treated medically.
How does CoQ10 help treat multiple sclerosis symptoms?
What is CoQ10?
Coenzyme Q10 is also known by other names, such as:
- Coenzyme Q
This substance participates in the process of cellular respiration, which produces energy in the body and removes waste. Without CoQ10, there is not enough energy for the body to function, since more than ninety percent of the energy used by a person’s body is produced through the functionality provided by the enzyme. Waste may also build up without the use of this enzyme. The organs that need the most energy have the highest concentration of CoQ10 (think heart and liver).
In addition, CoQ10 is an antioxidant, meaning it protects the body from free radicals. Free radicals are molecules that have an “extra” electron. Since these violently seek to bond with another electron, they search for cells in the body and damage them upon bonding. CoQ10 helps reduce the amount of free radicals in the body.
CoQ10 also has anti-inflammatory properties and can work to calm down a person’s immune system. How does all of this relate to treating the symptoms of multiple sclerosis?
How CoQ10 works
By assisting in cell respiration and the creation of energy, CoQ10 can build stamina and help replenish the body’s natural energy supply, which reduces the effect of fatigue and weariness. Because this is also “food” for the body, muscle weakness may lessen over time.
But there are additional benefits to how CoQ10 can improve life for patients with multiple sclerosis to consider as well, beyond what may be obvious in a physical sense.
How does this relate to MS?
In 2016, a study was done to test the effect of CoQ10 on fatigue in MS patients. Forty-five participants were assigned to either receive the supplement or a placebo (and even the observers didn’t know which group was which) for twelve weeks. Two tests were administered prior to starting the treatment – the FSS test (Fatigue Severity Scale) and the BDI test (Beck Depression Inventory) to monitor the changes in fatigue and depression symptoms with the administration of CoQ10.
After 12 weeks, scores improved significantly for those receiving the supplement in regard to fatigue, compared to those who were given the placebo. In addition, the same group taking the coenzyme reported improved symptoms of depression. While it was only a small study for a short period of time, and further trials are necessary, this does show that CoQ10 can improve both issues for patients with multiple sclerosis.
Additionally, the coenzyme could possibly help in other ways, such as:
- With antioxidant properties. Because antioxidants reduce the production of free radicals, which damage cells in the body, CoQ10 could potentially reduce the amount of damage to the nervous system in multiple sclerosis patients. Free radicals are found in higher quantities in the spinal fluid of MS patients than average, with lower quantities of antioxidants, which researchers believe leads to the major damage of unprotected nerves where the myelin (or protective coating) has been removed.
- With anti-inflammatory properties. Some flare ups, or relapses, of multiple sclerosis are due to inflammation rather than immune system flare ups. Because CoQ10 could potentially reduce this inflammation, symptoms and relapses may be controlled, with less severe symptoms less frequently appearing.
Dosage and potential side effects
While it’s important to discuss taking any supplement with the managing physician of the patient’s multiple sclerosis and determine the dosage recommended, in the 2016 study, the patients who were administered CoQ10 and showed positive effects were given 500mg per day every day for 12 weeks, which is considered a safe dosage.
The coenzyme doesn’t have any significant side effects, mostly because it’s a natural substance made in the human body. However, in some people, taking this supplement may result in very minor symptoms, such as:
- Upset stomach or nausea
In some cases, it may serve the patient to make some dietary changes, especially in the process of first getting used to dietary changes, especially in the process of first getting used to dietary changes, especially in the process of first getting used to taking the supplement.
Finding ways to help manage the symptoms of multiple sclerosis is essential to ways to help manage the symptoms of multiple sclerosis is essential to quality of life. Because the disease can’t be cured, the more a patient can do to keep symptoms from interfering with daily life and independence, the better. Medical treatments don’t address this as much as these options work to help slow down the advancement of the disease.