How Co-Q is Being Used
to Fight Cancer

This section is compiled by Frank M. Painter, D.C.
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From The April 1999 Issue of Nutrition Science News

by Dan Lukaczer, N.D.

First, a little background on this interesting organic compound. Co-Q10 is a component of the electron transport chain in the mitochondrial membrane. Mitochondria are the major energy-producing organelles in the cell and thus Co-Q10 has a critical function in the manufacture of ATP, the cells' energy currency. High concentrations of Co-Q10 are found in areas that need the largest supply of energy, such as the heart, liver and immune cells.

Although Co-Q10 can be manufactured in the body, the process involves many steps and the presence of at least eight vitamins. [1] Hence, some researchers think Co-Q10 may be a conditionally essential nutrient under certain health conditions or in people with low levels. For instance, relatively large doses have been used to treat hypertension. [2] Co-Q10 has also been used to reduce the toxicity of certain chemotherapy drugs. [3]

The data on actually treating cancer are exciting but preliminary. Research suggests a relationship between various cancers and the level of Co-Q10 in the blood. [4] One human trial studied the effect of 90 mg/day of Co-Q10 on breast cancer patients. The results showed that after two years, the women who took Co-Q10 lived longer. Because there was no placebo in this trial, the researchers calculated that on standard therapy, a percentage of these women would have died in this time period. With the nutritional protocol, none of them did. [5]

The same research group reported that a few of those women were later given much larger doses of Co-Q10390 mg/day. In two cases, there appeared to be complete remission of the cancer metastases. [6] It is unclear how these massive dosages may be working, but it may involve stimulating the immune system. [7] Co-Q10 appears to be virtually nontoxic even at these doses. Although Co-Q10 may prove to be a useful nutrient in certain cancer treatments, much more research is needed.

Dan Lukaczer, N.D., is an educator and researcher at the Functional Medicine Research Center, a division of HealthComm International Inc. in Gig Harbor, Wash


1. Folders, K.
Relevance of the Biosynthesis of Coenzyme Q10 and of the Four Bases of DNA as a Rationale for the Molecular Causes of Cancer
Biochem Biophys Res Commun 1996 (Jul 16);   224 (2):   358361

2. Langsjoen P, Langsjoen P, Willis R, Folkers K
Treatment of Essential Hypertension with Coenzyme Q10r
Mol Aspects Med 1994;   15 Suppl:   S265272

3. Oluma K, et al. Gan To kagaku Tyoho 1984;11(3):502-8. As cited in Biok J. Cancer and Natural Medicine, Oregon Medical Press; 1995

4. Austin S. Alt Med Review 1997;2:4-11

5. Lockwood K, et al. Molec Aspects Med 1994;15(suppl):s231-40

6. Lockwood D
Partial and Complete Regression of Breast Cancer in Patients in Relation to Dosage of Coenzyme Q10
Biochem Biophys Res Commun 1994 (Mar 30);   199 (3):   15041508

7. Lockwood K
Progress on Therapy of Breast Cancer with Vitamin Q10 and the Regression of Metastases
Biochem Biophys Res Commun 1995 (Jul 6);   212 (1):   172177

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