Patients with fibromyalgia may experience a number of symptoms, including fatigue, decreased energy, sleep disturbances, and cognitive dysfunction (also known as “fibro fog”), but the most debilitating symptom of this disorder is chronic muscle pain, spasms and tightness.
Fibromyalgia can cause pain anywhere in the body, but the most common sites include the neck, shoulders, back, hips, arms and legs. Optimal treatment of fibromyalgia requires a multi-system approach that can include addressing underlying viral infections, hormone imbalances, and nutritional deficiencies. Now, two new studies show that supplementing with coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) may help reduce fibromyalgia pain.
CoQ10 Can Reduce Fibromyalgia Pain, Fatigue and Morning Stiffness
The first study, conducted by researchers and reported in the Journal Antioxidants and Redox Signaling, sought to measure the effects of CoQ10 supplementation on adult patients with fibromyalgia. The researchers noted that both mitochondrial dysfunction and CoQ10 deficiency have been implicated in fibromyalgia pathophysiology. In the study, patients who were given 300 milligrams (mg) of CoQ10 daily for 40 days saw reductions in pain, fatigue, morning stiffness and tender points. Other positive findings included recovery of inflammation, improvement of antioxidant enzymes, and an increase in the ability of the mitochondria to regenerate. Mitochondria are responsible for cellular energy production. AMPK gene expression levels also recovered in the patients given CoQ10 treatment. Notably, one of the AMPK enzyme functions is to instruct mitochondria to switch from using energy to producing energy. The researchers have previously studied the link between mitochondrial dysfunction, oxidative stress and inflammation in fibromyalgia. Based on the study results, they concluded that CoQ10 could be part of an effective therapy for fibromyalgia.
What is Coenzyme Q10?
Coenzyme Q10, or “CoQ10,” is a substance made by the body and found in every cell of the body. Cells use CoQ10 to produce the energy your body needs for cell growth and maintenance. CoQ10 also functions as an antioxidant, protecting the body from damage caused by harmful molecules. It is naturally present in small amounts in a wide variety of foods, and in larger concentrations in foods such as fish and meats, as well as oils from soybean, sesame and canola.
CoQ10 come in two forms – ubiquinol, the active antioxidant form, and ubiquinone, the oxidized form, which the body partially converts to ubiquinol. Many multi-ingredient supplements contain both forms, however, ubiquinol has greater antioxidant efficiency than the ubiquinone form.
CoQ10 is Helpful for Children Too
In a second study, published in the journal Redox Report, researchers looked at increased oxidative stress and CoQ10 deficiency in juvenile fibromyalgia patients. Lab tests conducted at the beginning of the study showed that children with fibromyalgia had significantly decreased serum plasma levels of ubiquinol, and a significantly increased ratio of ubiquinone (oxidized CoQ10) to total CoQ10, compared to healthy controls, suggesting that fibromyalgia is associated with CoQ10 deficiency and increased oxidative stress, according to the researchers.
Next, the researchers supplemented the children with 100 mg per day of ubiquinol-10 for 12 weeks. The patients saw significant improvements in chronic fatigue scores, as well increased Co10 levels and decreased ubiquinone levels. The researchers concluded that CoQ10 status may be impaired in subjects with juvenile fibromyalgia and that supplementation with CoQ10 may be of benefit.
Fibromyalgia can be caused by a variety of triggers, with the most common being a viral infection, most commonly Epstein-Barr, Cytomegalo or HHV6. A large number of fibromyalgia patients also have low thyroid hormone levels and thyroid receptor resistance that doesn’t appear on standard blood tests due to pituitary dysfunction. Adrenal insufficiency, growth hormone deficiency, and coagulation defect is often also seen in fibromyalgia patients.
Supplementation with CoQ10 can be a valuable addition to a multi-system approach that includes treatment with anti-viral medication, as well as addressing thyroid, adrenal and other hormone deficiencies. By using an integrated treatment program that also addresses any underlying issues, patients can see significant recovery or a complete resolution of symptoms.