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Fibromyalgia is a condition characterized by unexplained, chronic, widespread muscle pain and multiple associated tender points, profound fatigue, sleep disturbances, and depression. Headaches, sensitivity to light or odors, anxiety, jaw tenderness, difficulty concentrating, abdominal pain and bloating, and muscle pain after exercise may also occur.
Most pharmacological treatments for fibromyalgia come with undesirable side effects. For example, the drug duloxetine (Cymbalta) is an antidepressant that’s prescribed to help relieve pain and improve mood in people with fibromyalgia. Possible side effects include blurred vision, weakness, sexual problems, seizures, and liver failure.
CoQ10 is intricately involved with energy production in every cell of the body. When levels are low, cells don’t have the energy they need to function optimally. CoQ10 also acts as a powerful antioxidant, offsetting damage caused by free radicals.
Some drugs used to lower cholesterol levels, like HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors (statins), interfere with CQ10 production in the body and can lead to muscle pain and worsen heart disease. Supplementing with CoQ10 may help reverse these symptoms.
Since CoQ10 deficiency mimics some of the symptoms of fibromyalgia, researchers from the University of Seville, Spain, supplemented the diets of four women with fibromyalgia (ages 43 to 66) with 300 mg per day of CoQ10 for nine months to see what effect it had on their symptoms.
The women reported on their levels of fatigue, pain, sleep problems, anxiety, and the degree to which the condition impacted their daily lives. Investigators also assessed the number of classic tender points that the women had.
By the end of the study, all of the symptoms—including fatigue, pain, sleep problems, anxiety, tender points, and the degree to which fibromyalgia affected the women’s lives—improved significantly in all four women.
“According to our data, oral CoQ10 treatment could be a new therapeutic approach in fibromyalgia,” said lead study author, Mario Cordero. “More controlled clinical trials and investigations are required to clarify the precise mechanism(s) by which CoQ10 may contribute in pathological and therapeutic processes of fibromyalgia.” In other words, although they don’t know exactly how CoQ10 works, it appears to be a promising new fibromyalgia treatment.
If you’re living with fibromyalgia, give these tips a try:
(Nutrition 2013; doi.org/10.1016/j.nut.2013.05.005)