Low levels of Coenzyme Q10 may increase the odds of developing cancer metastasis significantly

February 02, 2006

Abnormally low plasma levels of Coenzyme Q 10 have been found in patients with cancers of the breast, lungs, and pancreas. In this study Coenzyme Q10 levels were measured in 117 consecutively diagnosed patients with melanoma that had not metastasized. Their level was checked against the level in 125 healthy volunteers. Patients taking Coenzyme Q10 or statin drugs and those with diabetes were not allowed in the study. 32.5% of the patients had a metastasis during the observation period.

Coenzyme Q10 levels were significantly lower in the 117 cancer patients than in the 125 healthy volunteers. Of the patients who developed metastasis, their Coenzyme Q 10 levels were substantially lower than in the other cancer patients. If the cancer patients had higher levels of Coenzyme Q10 it was about double the time before they suffered with a metastasis, and those in the lowest level group had a 7.9 times increased odds ratio of developing metastasis. The research was performed at the Department of Dermatology, Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, Rome, and is published in the December 27th, 2005 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

Commentary by Jerry Hickey, R.Ph.

Hopefully none of us will encounter an agent as destructive as mustard gas, but it is good for us to note that these particular antioxidants are very lung friendly and that available oral supplement levels have shown protective activity in research.

Free radical damage is a major culprit in causing blood vessel dysfunction (blood vessels cease to open and close properly) and a major contributor to hardening of the arteries. Plant berry pigments known as polyphenols are powerful antioxidants that decrease inflammation in blood vessel walls and help restore natural vascular function. In this study scientists compared the ability of a polyphenol rich extract from Aronia Berry, Bilberry, and Elderberry. Isolated coronary arteries were exposed to chemicals in the lab that prevent them from relaxing or opening properly. Out of the three berry extracts, Aronia berry was the most powerful for relaxing blood vessel walls and only Aronia Berry or Bilberry extracts produced vasorelaxation in coronary arteries and Elderberry extract had no effect. The berry extracts rich in anthocyanins (Aronia extract and Bilberry Extract) improve the function of the endothelial cells lining blood vessel walls, improve the function of blood vessels, and protect them from free radicals. These extracts could have significant beneficial effects in vascular disease according to these researchers. The study was performed at the Indiana University School of Medicine, in Fort Wayne and is published in the December 8th, 2005 issue of the Journal of Applied Physiology.