Breast Health Tip #11: CoQ10

BREAST HEALTH TIP #11: CoQ10 CoQ10, a powerful natural occurring antioxidant, lowers your risk of breast cancer, shrinks metastatic breast tumors, protects your organs from the damaging effects of chemotherapy, and may increase your chances of surviving breast cancer.


Ubiquinone, otherwise known as Coenzyme Q10 or CoQ10, is a vitamin-like substance and powerful antioxidant that is found in every cell in our body. It is absolutely essential for energy production in our cells. Research shows CoQ10 levels in tumors are much lower than in normal tissues. When CoQ10 is given to breast cancer patients, some spectacular results have been seen.

�In a study published out of Denmark in 1994, 32 patients with high risk breast cancer were treated with antioxidants (vitamin C and E, selenium and beta carotene), essential fatty acids (gamma linolenic acid and omega-3 fatty acids) and 90 mg of CoQ10.� Breast cancer tumors shrank in six of the 32 patients.� The researchers wondered what would happen if they increased the dose of CoQ10. So, they decided to increase the daily dose of CoQ10 to 390mg in just one of these 6 patients.� They got a big pleasant surprise. In one month, the tumor in this patient had become so small, the researchers couldn�t feel it anymore.� A mammogram done a month later showed the tumor had completely disappeared. These researchers then gave another patient with breast cancer 300mg of CoQ10 a day and her tumor disappeared. In the 18 months the patients were treated, none of them died or showed further signs of metastases. The expected number of women who would have died, based on the stage of their tumor, was 4.

Encouraged by these results, the researchers continued their study of CoQ10 in breast cancer patients and published a report the following year.� Three hundred and ninety milligrams of CoQ10 was given to each breast cancer patient every day. One patient was a 44 year old woman whose breast cancer had spread to her liver causing numerous tumors. After taking the CoQ10 for a short while, all the metastatic tumors disappeared. Another patient with metastatic breast cancer tumors to the lining of her lung was given CoQ10 and 6 months later, her doctors could no longer find any of her tumors.

Chemotherapy can cause organ damage, especially to the liver, heart and kidneys, because it doesn�t just target cancer cells — it also kills normal cells too. CoQ10 has been found to help prevent organ damage caused by chemotherapy and may also increase survival. Certain drugs like Adriamycin commonly damage important heart cells. In elderly patients with heart disease, the damage caused by Adriamyin can be fatal. CoQ10 is normally found in high concentrations in the heart. Adriamycin causes those levels to go down. When patients on Adriamycin are given CoQ10, it prevents CoQ10 levels from going down in the heart and protects heart cells from being damaged.


Taking CoQ10

CoQ10 is fat soluble. This means it is better absorbed when it is in fat. When CoQ10 comes in a soy oil suspension contained in a soft shell capsule, it is better absorbed than if it is in a dry tablet or capsule. That means, you will need a higher dose of the dry form of CoQ10 compared to the oil suspension to get the same levels in your body. For prevention 30-100 mg a day are recommended. If you have breast cancer, you�ll need to take more. Research shows about 300-390mg a day is very effective.� A study from the University of Scranton found bio-grown CoQ10, prepared from whole food cultures may be the most well absorbed and metabolized form of CoQ10. It was found to have 20 times more antioxidant activity than the standard preparation of CoQ10. Since more CoQ10 is biologically available in this form, only 22mg are required a day.� Please work with your doctor when taking this supplement.

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Written by Christine Horner MD FACS

Explore Wellness in 2021