Low levels of coenzyme Q10 linked to increased risk of melanoma metastasis
(NaturalHealth365) Melanoma, a type of skin cancer that develops in melatonin-producing cells, is relatively easy to cure if diagnosed early. However, once it has spread to other parts of the body (metastasized), it can be deadly. Sadly, most people diagnosed with melanoma never hear about a study which links low levels of coenzyme Q10 to an increased risk of melanoma metastasis.
With melanoma causing 9,000 skin cancer deaths a year in America – and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reporting that rates of new melanomas have doubled over the last 30 years – this finding is simply too important to ignore.
A special ‘side note:’ Research has already shown that coenzyme Q10, or CoQ10, can lower the risk of heart disease by 40 percent.
Alert: Low CoQ10 levels increase risk of melanoma spreading
The research, published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, was a prospective study. In this type of study, researchers observe outcomes during the study period and then relate them to other factors – in this case, CoQ10 levels.
To conduct the study, the scientists assessed CoQ10 levels in 117 participants who had melanoma that had not metastasized – along with a control group of similarly-aged volunteers who were free of melanoma. In fact, there’s good science that reveals the ‘true power’ of CoQ10 for cancer patients.
The researchers found that lower blood levels of CoQ10 – defined as amounts under 0.6 mg/L – were associated with poorer outcomes for melanoma patients. So close was the association, in fact, that the team found that CoQ10 levels could actually be used to predict melanoma progression.
One of the key findings was the fact that the melanoma group had lower levels of CoQ10 – when compared to the control group.
And, patients who developed metastases had lower levels than those who did not. (In fact, melanoma patients with low levels of CoQ10 were a stunning eight times more likely to develop metastases than those with higher levels!)
CoQ10 levels linked to survival in melanoma patients
In addition, CoQ10 levels seemed to have a bearing on how long the melanoma patients stayed free of metastasis.
The researchers reported that cancer progression occurred sooner in the low CoQ10 group (appearing at an average of 47 months) than in the group with higher levels, which averaged 82 months before cancer progression.
In other words, higher CoQ10 levels almost doubled the time that patients were free of metastasis.
Perhaps most importantly: of the 17 patients that died of the disease, all had lower CoQ10 levels – while none of the patients with higher CoQ10 levels succumbed during the study.
Which raises the question: if low CoQ10 is linked with the development of cancer, can boosting CoQ10 levels help slow the disease?
Additional research reveals: CoQ10 supplementation improves outcomes in breast cancer patients
One 1994 study involved 32 breast cancer patients who were classified as high risk – with cancer that had metastasized to the lymph nodes. The patients were given the ANICA protocol – or Adjuvant Nutritional Intervention in Cancer – which features 90 mg a day of CoQ10, plus additional antioxidant nutrients including vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, selenium and essential fatty acids.
The results were eye-opening – and encouraging!
During the 18-month period of supplementation, no patient died – although statistics suggested that four patients could be expected to die during that time.
All participants reported quality of life improvements, including maintaining weight and being able to reduce use of painkillers. Six of the patients went into partial remission.
And, when two of those were treated with increased CoQ10 dosages (300 mg and 390 mg a day, respectively) they went into total remission – and displayed a complete absence of tumors.
The researchers noted that CoQ10 could be the “dominant molecular mechanism” causing the regression of breast cancer.
Note: these results come from a single, small study – and more research is needed. However, the results are certainly promising.
Other scientists, as well, have taken note of CoQ10’s therapeutic potential.
In an extensive 2014 review published in Molecular Syndromology, the authors reported that CoQ10 is a potent antioxidant that affects the expression of genes involved in human cell signaling. Noting CoQ10’s lack of serious adverse effects, the authors concluded that oral administration may afford “significant” symptomatic benefit.
Warning: CoQ10 levels decline as a normal part of aging
CoQ10, also known as ubiquinone, is a vitamin-like nutrient that is created in the body – and needed by every cell. A cofactor in many essential functions, CoQ10 assists cell mitochondria in turning food to fuel, as well as helping the body to recycle the antioxidant vitamins C and E.
Unfortunately, age-related oxidative stress causes levels of this vital nutrient to drop. Other threats to optimal CoQ10 status include mitochondrial diseases, cancer and treatment with statin drugs.
You can boost your CoQ10 intake by eating wild-caught salmon, sardines, grass-fed beef and free-range poultry. Although animal products are highest in CoQ10, vegetarians can obtain the nutrient via wheat germ, sesame seeds, pistachio nuts and beans.
Daily CoQ10 supplementation may be your best bet – especially if you are older, take statin drugs, or have heart disease or any other serious medical condition. Integrative physicians typically recommend CoQ10 dosages ranging from 100 mg to 300 mg a day – but talk to your doctor before supplementing with CoQ10.
With research revealing that optimal CoQ10 levels can help you ward off potentially life-threatening illnesses, it only makes sense to ensure that you are getting enough of this disease-fighting nutrient.
Sources for this article include:
Food & Nutrition
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