During cancer CoQ10 was an important supplement that we relied on to protect Emily’s heart from chemo side effects known to weaken and cause heart disease long after treatment.
What is it?
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is produced by the human body and is necessary for the basic functioning of cells. CoQ10 levels are reported to decrease with age and to be low in patients with some chronic diseases such as heart conditions, muscular dystrophies, Parkinson’s disease, cancer, diabetes, and HIV/AIDS. Some prescription drugs may also lower CoQ10 levels.  It is my opinion that certain chemo therapy drugs lower CoQ10 levels to dangerous levels thus opening the door to heart weakness.
Emily had to take a chemotherapy drug named Doxorubicin. It is medically known that this chemotherapy drug can cause heart damage, and because of this side effect, Emily gets heart tests done every third treatment of Doxorubicin. Even years after treatment heart disease can show up as a result of this drug.
The American Cancer Society states that “heart disease can be a serious late effect of certain cancer treatments. The actual damage to the heart may occur during treatment, but the effects may not show up until many years, or even decades later.
A class of chemo drugs called anthracyclines, which are used to treat many childhood cancers, can damage the heart muscle or affect its rhythm. The amount of damage is related to the total dose of the drug given and the child’s age at the time of treatment. Doctors try to limit the doses of these drugs as much as possible while still giving high enough doses to treat the cancer effectively. Studies are now being done to see if certain drugs shown to help protect the heart in adults getting anthracyclines can also help children.”
Okay, so you can imagine I am not really a fan of drugs. I know they saved my daughter’s life from cancer but they also cause many unwanted side effects. I wanted something natural to help protect her and proven to be effective and studied by doctors. During my search I found approximately sixteen thousand medical papers written on C0-Q10 in the medical libraries. I found out that many heart doctors take this supplement. CoQ10 has been studied extensively under many different circumstances, i.e., heart, cancer, fatigue, dialysis, palsy, to name a few. Most studies have found favorable responses for the use of CoQ10. The more I searched the more impressed I became with this supplement.
I did this research and took the information to our oncologist and received approval for Emily to be able to take a standard dose (100 mg) of CoQ10 on a daily basis during treatment.
These same study excerpts are here for you to use for consultation with your medical team.
❧ CoQ10 is produced in all living organisms and is an essential coenzyme for energy synthesis in the mitochondria and an important scavenger of reactive oxygen species. The study conducted with CoQ10 and eleven healthy males aged 26 years. The subjects took CoQ10 before during and after exercise. These results suggested that CoQ10 may increase fat oxidation with augmented autonomic nervous activity during low intensity exercise. 
❧ This pilot study accords with published data suggesting that CoQ10 therapy improves cardiac functional status in
severe dilated cardiomyopathy (a disease of the heart muscle that causes it to lose its pumping strength) receiving maximal non beta-blocker therapy. Future multi-centre studies with larger numbers are indicated. 
❧ CONCLUSION: Oral administration of coenzyme Q10 improved subjective fatigue sensation and physical performance during fatigue-inducing workload trials and might prevent unfavorable conditions as a result of physical fatigue. 
❧ …These results provide further evidence that administration of CoQ10 is a promising therapeutic strategy for the treatment of Parkinsons Disease. 
How This May Apply To You
❧ Coenzyme Q10 is a vitamin like substance that is present in the cells of all mammals and plays an important role in the cells energy-producing mitochondria (the part in the cell responsible for energy production and also a small amount of DNA). It is a potent antioxidant and its declining tissue concentration may contribute to the aging process and to the progress of degenerative diseases. Because the heart has very high metabolic activity, it requires large amounts of CoQ10. In Japan, CoQ10 is routinely used as a treatment in cardiac care, particularly for congestive heart failure and cardiomyopathy. In studies done in Europe, CoQ10 has been used to successfully reduce chemotherapy induced heart damage. More recently, it has been studied as a significant part of cancer treatment, as an antioxidant agent that may affect tumor growth in cancer patients.
At the Comprehensive Cancer Care Conference, Dr. Richard Willis of the University of Texas reported on work done by himself and by Dr. Carl Folkers, among others. In one remarkable uncontrolled clinical study, done in Denmark, 32 node-positive breast cancer patients were treated with conventional therapy and with 90 mg per day of CoQ10 plus other supplements. All these patients survived at least 24 months, a period of time in which it was expected that 6 would die. Partial tumor regression was observed in 6 patients. Two of these people were later given 300 to 400 mg of CoQ10 a day, and complete remissions followed. Several more studies on individual patients were done using similarly high doses of CoQ10, with similar results.
These results may be due partly to the antioxidant effect of CoQ10, or perhaps an immune-enhancing effect to which recent research points. There is no evidence to indicate CoQ10 interferes with conventional treatment; indeed, it has been successfully used to mitigate the cardiotoxicity of chemotherapy. No toxicity has been observed using CoQ10 itself, even at very high doses. [Added emphasis.]
As Dr. Willis said, the data are promising, and the investigation continues, but only case studies have been published. Randomized clinical trials have not been completed. The evidence available is strong enough so that some clinicians and many patients are using CoQ10 as an adjunctive therapy. We recommend it as well.
From the book Comprehensive Cancer Care by Dr. James Gordon and Sharon Curtin. This book is available through www.Amazon.com As an aside, Comprehensive Cancer Care is the BEST cancer book on the market and I use it all the time. Every cancer patient should own this book!
Physically, people are very different. What helps one person may have a detrimental affect with another. Here are some side effects that could indicate not taking this supplement. These are typically mild and brief. Skin itching, rash, nausea, stomach upset, vomiting, insomnia, headache, dizziness, itching irritability, and fatigue. I never gave supplements to Emily on an empty stomach. They were given with or after a meal and also with coconut milk.
“As part of a safety evaluation of Coenzyme Q10, a subchronic toxicology study was conducted. Coenzyme Q10 was repeatedly administered orally to male and female rats at daily dose levels of 300, 600 and 1200 mg/kg for 13 weeks. Neither death nor any toxicological signs were observed in any group during the administration period. No change related to the test substance administered was observed in any group with regard to body weight, food consumption, ophthalmoscopy, hematology, blood biochemistry, necropsy, organ weights or histopathology. Based on these results, the non-observed-adverse-effect level (NOAEL) of Coenzyme Q10 was considered to be 1200 mg/kg/day for male and female rats under these study conditions.” 
The above paragraph was placed here and quoted to show how high a dose was tested (up to 1200 mgs), a rediculously high dose. The whole point is that this supplement is safe in the 100 to 200 mg range.
With any supplement, herb, or medication, anyone can have an allergic reaction. NEVER start with any supplement on a high dose. Take a low dose and watch for any reaction. Any, supplementation, must be coordinated and approved with your doctor first. Mega doses are not recommended under any circumstances even if doctor recommended.
We have personally found that with cancer, a small nutritional dose goes a long way.
Although coenzyme Q10 supplements are relatively safe, they may decrease the anticoagulant efficacy of warfarin.
Although the use of cholesterol-lowering medications known as HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors (statins) decreases circulating levels of coenzyme Q10, it is unclear whether coenzyme Q10 supplementation provides any health benefit to patients taking these drugs. [7.] I know that statement sounds oppositional and illogical. At least it does to me. I am just playing the devils advocate and also covering my ass legally by having all this positive and negative information. Maybe this is too much. I do not know.
CoQ10 dietary supplements have traditionally only been available in the ubiquinone form. Ubiquinone is a crystalline powder that is insoluble in water and is difficult to absorb when taken on an empty stomach. However, when ubiquinone is taken with food (especially oils), it’s absorbed at least twice as fast as when it’s taken on an empty stomach. [8.]
Even though there were these dire warnings against CoQ10, I decided to supplement with it and get approval because the thought of my daughter going through cancer treatment and years later being surprised by heart disease just scared the hell out of me. I wanted to do everything that I could to try and prevent that from happening.
There are literally hundreds of cancers and numerous chemotherapy drugs. Most patients end up having to take other medications on top of their chemotherapy, to alleviate other symptoms of their treatment. The result is an unlimited combination of drug regimens. This is why anyone wanting to
add supplements to their daily routine must coordinate with their doctor.
Lastly, our oncologist approved Emily taking 100 mgs of C0-Q10 daily throughout treatment and continued for years after treatment. I also gave her another 100 mgs on the days she was given Doxorubicin. There were no side effects or problems associated with it and five years later her heart is normal with no visible damage or abnormalities from Doxorubicin. Maybe taking this supplement prevented any possible damage. To us it was worth the investment.
- MayoClinic.com © 1998-2008 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. All rights reserved
- 2. J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo). 2008 Aug;54(4):286-90. Influence of CoQ10 on Autonomic Nervous Activity and Energy Metabolism during Exercise in Healthy Subjects. Zheng A, Moritani T. PMID: 18797149 [PubMed – in process]
- Heart Lung Circ. 2003;12(3):135-41. Randomised double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of coenzyme Q, therapy in class II and III systolic heart failure. Keogh A, Fenton S, Leslie C, Aboyoun C, Macdonald P, Zhao YC, Bailey M, Rosenfeldt F. Heart Failure Unit, St Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney, Australia.
- Nutrition. 2008 Apr;24(4):293-9. Epub 2008 Feb 13. Erratum in: Nutrition. 2008 Jun;24(6):616. Antifatigue effects of coenzyme Q10 during physical fatigue. Mizuno K, Tanaka M, Nozaki S, Mizuma H, Ataka S, Tahara T, Sugino T, Shirai T, Kajimoto Y, Kuratsune H, Kajimoto O, Watanabe Y. Department of Physiology, Osaka City University Graduate School of Medicine, Osaka, Japan.
- 2008 Mar;104(6):1613-21. Epub 2007 Oct 31. Therapeutic effects of coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) and reduced CoQ10 in the MPTP model of Parkinsonism. Cleren C, Yang L, Lorenzo B, Calingasan NY, Schomer A, Sireci A, Wille EJ, Beal MF. Department of Neurology and Neuroscience, Weill Medical College of Cornell University, New York-Presbyterian Hospital, New York, New York 10021, USA.
- 6. J Toxicol Sci. 2007 Oct;32(4):437-48. Thirteen-week repeated dose oral toxicity study of coenzyme Q10 in rats. Honda K, Tominaga S, Oshikata T, Kamiya K, Hamamura M, Kawasaki T, Wakigawa K.
8. Coenzyme Q10: Uses, Forms And Dosage Recommendations, by Dr. Murray from http://www.drmurray.com
Heart drawing courtesy of http://knowyourliver.net/actual-human-heart-drawing.html/actual-human-heart-drawing-cqisss