A large scale, multi-center clinical trial is underway on one of the supplement industry's hottest sellers -- the product CoEnzyme Q-10. Rush University Medical Center is participating in this trial taking place in the U.S. and Canada to determine whether this vitamin-like substance, in high doses, can slow the progression of Parkinson’s disease, a neurodegenerative disorder that affects about one million people in the United States.
“The very best therapies we have for Parkinson’s can only mask the symptoms – they do not alter the underlying disease,” said neurologist Dr. Katie Kompoliti, a specialist in movement disorders at Rush. “Finding a treatment that can slow the degenerative course of Parkinsons’s is the holy grail of Parkinson’s research.”
Coenzyme Q10 is produced naturally in the body and is an important link in the chain of chemical reactions that produce energy in mitochondria, the “powerhouses” of cells. The enzyme is also a potent antioxidant – a chemical that "mops up" potentially harmful chemicals generated during normal metabolism.
In the Phase III trial, the highest dose of 1,200 mg. appears promising. Over the course of 16 months, patients taking this dose experienced significantly less decline than other patients in motor (movement) function and ability to carry out activities of daily living, such as feeding or dressing themselves.
But researchers cited the need for a more extensive review to confirm the results. In the present trial, funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Institute of Neurological and Disorders and Stroke, 600 patients will be enrolled at 60 centers in the U.S. and Canada. Two dosages of coenzyme Q10 are being tested,1,200 mg and 2,400 mg, delivered in maple nut-flavored chewable wafers that also contain vitamin E.