What Are the Benefits of CoQ10 for the Brain?

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Coenzyme Q10 is a compound present in mitochondria of every cell in the body. It is created in the body and obtained in the diet. Research is showing promise for the ability of coQ10 to affect symptoms related to neurological disease. Since coQ10 functions in the mitochondria, diseases characterized by dysfunction of the mitochondria due to the aging process are improved by coQ10 supplementation, according to a study in the 2001 "Neurology" journal. CoQ10 assists with the production of energy and as an antioxidant in cell membranes.

Parkinson's Disease

CoQ10 supplementation promotes slower brain deterioration, as seen in a study published in the 2002 "Archives of Neurology." A 16-month study assessed the effects of coQ10 supplementation in patients with Parkinson's disease. Patients were given doses of 300, 600 or 1,200 mg per day of coQ10. For all doses, the rate of brain deterioration was much less compared to a placebo. The exact mechanism of how coQ10 exerted its benefits is unclear, though researchers in the study feel it is likely due to an effect on mitochondrial function, especially since Parkinson's disease is a condition of mitochondrial dysfunction.

Alzheimer's Disease

Alzheimer's disease is a result of mitochondrial dysfunction and free radical damage. Deficiencies in coQ10 in brain cells are common in people with Alzheimer's disease, which has led researchers to attempt supplementation to slow the progression of the disease. A study published in the July 2009 "Journal of Molecular Science" found that coQ10 decreases amyloid plaques in patients with Alzheimer's disease. Amyloid plaques are amyloid proteins and pieces of neurons that float around in the brain. These plaques are characteristic of Alzheimer's disease. The mice were given 1,200 mg of coQ10 per kg daily for 60 days. After the 60 days, the amyloid plaques were significantly reduced.

Huntington's Disease

Huntington's disease involves degeneration of brain cells and causes uncontrolled muscle movements and loss of intellectual ability. CoQ10 is beneficial in some research studies in reducing functional decline. A study in the August 2001 journal "Neurology" assessed the effectiveness of coQ10 in Huntington's disease. The study participants were in the early stages of HD and were given 300 mg twice daily for 30 months. Those who took the coQ10 saw a slower decline of functioning capacity of the brain. More research needs to be completed to better understand the role of coQ10 for Huntington's disease.

Sources and Recommendations

CoQ10 is found primarily in milk, cheese and beef from cows that are grass-fed.The amounts needed for brain benefit are much more than the amounts you can consume through food sources, so a supplement may be needed. The Linus Pauling Institute explains therapeutic doses of coQ10 range from 100 to 300 mg per day. Higher doses should only be taken with a doctor's supervision.