There’s one particular disease frequently associated with exposure to excessive amounts of sun, that being skin cancer. There are actually three forms of skin cancer: basal cell, squamous cell and melanoma.
Fortunately, basal cell, which is the most common skin cancer, is also the most benign. On the other hand, malignant melanoma is a real killer. During my over twenty years of practice of neurology I have seen quite a few patients, frequently young, who present with metastatic melanoma to the brain or nervous system. Once melanoma spreads beyond its original site, cure is almost impossible.
I was extremely heartened by a study that was just published in the current edition of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, February. In this study out of Italy, 117 consecutive melanoma patients were enrolled between January 1997 and August 2004.
Plasma coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) levels were measured upon enrollment. One hundred twenty five matched volunteers without any clinical suspected pigmented lesions were also utilized in the study. It was found that CoQ10 levels were significantly lower in melanoma patients than in control subjects.
Further, it was noted that for melanoma patients with CoQ10 blood levels of less than 0.6 mg per liter, risk of developing metastatic disease increased by 790 percent, compared to those melanoma patients with blood levels of 0.6 mg per liter or higher. In addition, melanoma patients with higher blood levels were noted to have a metastasis-free interval that was almost double compared to patients with lower levels.
The abstract notes that abnormally low plasma levels of CoQ10 previously have been known in patients with cancer of the breast, lung and pancreas. I believe that this study, however, is the first to indicate that lower blood levels of this important nutrient can have an extremely adverse effect. Dr. Rusciani, lead study author, concluded that analysis of their findings suggested baseline CoQ10 levels are a powerful and independent prognostic factor that can be used to estimate risk for melanoma progression.
There were two other recent, interesting articles involving CoQ10 and neurologic disease. In the January edition of the prestigious journal Neurology, physicians out of Germany reported on three unrelated patients with muscle CoQ10 deficiency, ages six, 29 and 32 years old, who presented with muscle weakness and elevation of muscle enzymes in the blood2. Supplementation with oral high dose CoQ10 improved muscle strength dramatically and normalized the muscle enzyme in the blood.
Finally, there was an open label dose escalation trial published in the December 2005 edition of Neurology3. Patients with Lou Gherig’s disease (ALS) were given increasing doses of CoQ10. In 31 subjects treated with doses as high as 3,000 mg a day for eight months, it was found that CoQ10 was safe and well tolerated. Unfortunately, it was not indicated whether the CoQ10 was efficacious.
As you can see, CoQ10 seems to have amazing capability for promoting healthy immune function, cellular and muscle health. It’s also effective for slowing the progression of a devastating loss of brains cells that control movement as we age. There was a study that was published in the Archives of Neurology a couple of years ago indicating that CoQ10 in doses of 400 to 1,200 mg a day was actually able to slow the progression of Parkinson’s disease4. The highest dosage provided the highest benefits. CoQ10 also has incredible benefit for promoting cardiovascular function, and other studies show it supports dental health and may have benefit for migraines.
I recommend you check the label of your multi-vitamin. Most inferior multis do not contain CoQ10. You must either buy CoQ10 and add it to your daily supplement or utilize a supplement that includes it in a multivitamin form.
Remember, your diet only provides about 1 mg per day of CoQ10, vastly below what I, and other top scientists and doctors, recommend. Also, if you take a cholesterol-lowering statin drug, you should take 200 to 400 mg of CoQ10, because statin drugs lower CoQ10 levels, which may lead to permanent muscle, nerve and heart damage.
Look for a supplement that contains B-complex, 200 mg of CoQ10, ALA, ALC, chromium, selenium and natural vitamin E all in one capsule per day! This combination of nutrients helps keep cells healthy, promotes a healthy immune system and provides antioxidant protection.
- Rusciani L, Proietti I, Rusciani A, Paradisi A, Sbordoni G, Alfano C, Panunzi S, De Gaetano A, Lippa S. Low plasma coenzyme Q10 levels as an independent prognostic factor for melanoma progression. JAm Acad Dermatol., Vol. 54, Issue 2: p. 234-241.
- R. Horvath, P. Schneiderat, B.G.H. Schoser, K. Gempel, E. Neuen-Jacob, H. Plöger, J. Müller-Höcker, D. E. Pongratz, A. Naini, S. DiMauro, and H. Lochmüller. Coenzyme Q10 deficiency and isolated myopathy. Neurology 66: 253-255.
- K. L. Ferrante, J. Shefner, H. Zhang, R. Betensky, M. O’Brien, H. Yu, M. Fantasia, J. Taft, M. F. Beal, B. Traynor, K. Newhall, P. Donofrio, J. Caress, C. Ashburn, B. Freiberg, C. O’Neill, C. Paladenech, T. Walker, A. Pestronk, B. Abrams, J. Florence, R. Renna, J. Schierbecker, B. Malkus, and M. Cudkowicz. Tolerance of high-dose (3,000 mg/day) coenzyme Q10 in ALS.Neurology 2005 65: 1834-1836.
- Clifford W. Shults; David Oakes; Karl Kieburtz; M. Flint Beal; Richard Haas; Sandy Plumb; Jorge L. Juncos; John Nutt; Ira Shoulson; Julie Carter; Katie Kompoliti; Joel S Perlmutter; Stephen Reich; Matthew Stern; Ray L. Watts; Roger Kurlan; Eric Molho; Madaline Harrison; Mark Lew; and the Parkinson Study Group. Effects of Coenzyme Q10 in Early Parkinson Disease: Evidence of Slowing of the Functional Decline. Arch Neurol, Oct 2002; 59: 1541-1550.