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What Are the Benefits of Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) for Multiple Sclerosis (MS)?

By Jaime Herndon

Multiple sclerosis, or MS, is a nervous system disorder that affects approximately 350,000 Americans, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center, or UMMC. There is no cure, but some supplements may help support the treatment your doctor prescribes for you. Coenzyme Q10 is a supplement that may help treat symptoms of MS, but it might not be appropriate for everyone. Talk with your doctor about whether this supplement is safe for you to take.

What is Coenzyme Q10?

Coenzyme Q10, or CoQ10, is found naturally in cells and helps make ATP, the major energy source of cells that helps aid in muscle contraction and protein production, according to the UMMC. It is also an antioxidant that can help protect cells against damage caused by free radicals, which are compounds thought to contribute to conditions like aging, cancer and other illnesses. CoQ10 occurs naturally in the body, but it can also be taken as a supplement. Dietary sources include oily fish like salmon, organ meats and grains. Before taking CoQ10 for multiple sclerosis or any other condition, talk with your health care provider; it can interact with several kinds of medications and may not be appropriate for everyone.

Anti-Inflammatory Effects

Inflammation in the plaques of the white matter of nerves occurs in MS during an attack and causes damage to myelin, the sheath that covers the nerves. Myelin enables the nerves to send messages quickly and accurately between the brain and spinal cord and the rest of the body, and when myelin is damaged, these messages become slowed or blocked, according to the UMMC. A 2008 study by C Schmelzer et al, in the journal "Biofactors," suggests that CoQ10 may help prevent or reduce inflammation, although more studies need to be done. Before using this supplement, talk with your doctor about whether CoQ10 can help your symptoms.

Immune System Support

Although the underlying cause of MS is unknown, it may be a T-cell autoimmune disease that may also be influenced by heredity and the environment, according to the UMMC. Coenzyme Q10 may help boost immune function, especially in those with immune system deficiencies. The antioxidant component of CoQ10 can help further boost the immune system and may reduce the risk of further damage to cells from oxidation and free radicals.

Muscle Support

One of the goals of treatment for MS is to help preserve physical functioning as long as possible, and CoQ10 may help with this goal. CoQ10 can help improve physical activity in those with problems with fatigue and improve exercise tolerance, according to the UMMC. In patients with MS, this supplement can support muscle function and reduce the risk of damage to muscle cells. Consult your treatment team about muscle problems you may have with your MS and whether CoQ10 may be helpful to you.

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