Coenzyme Q10 may prove useful in macular degeneration





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Consumer Data: Coenzyme Q10 (CO-Q10) Macular Degeneration
Professional Data: Coenzyme Q10 (CO-Q10) Macular Degeneration


Macular degeneration is a major cause of gradual, painless, central vision loss in the elderly. Previously known as "senile macular degeneration," the name has been changed to age-related macular degeneration, (ARMD), due to the unflattering reference to advanced age. The average age at onset of visual loss is about 75 years. After the age of 50 years, the incidence steadily increases; over one-third of people in their ninth decade of life are affected.1 Researchers have implied that certain conditions may contribute to the disorder. Some of these are arteriosclerosis, oxidative damage, photic damage, inflammation, diet, vitamin and rare element deficiencies, and genetics. To further assess the implications of oxidative stress in this condition, researchers in Italy conducted a study using Coenzyme Q 10.

Coenzyme Q10 is an important, vitamin-like compound that is present throughout the body. While there are 10 other coenzyme Q compounds present in nature, coenzyme Q10 is the only one present in humans. Although coenzyme Q10 is widely used throughout Europe and Asia, its value is just beginning to be recognized in the United States for its support of cardiovascular health and more. Coenzyme Q10's benefits are due to the following two attributes. First, Co-Q10 is an important fat-soluble antioxidant that is uniquely able to protect the cells' energy producing machinery, known as mitochondria, from free radical damage. Second, coenzyme Q10 is necessary for the production of energy in all cells of the body.

The study, published in the Feb. 2001 edition of Opthalmologica, assessed the oxidative status of 19 patients diagnosed with macular degeneration, and 19 healthy controls. Blood samples taken from both groups showed that the patients diagnosed with ARMD had lower levels of Coenzyme Q10 than did the control group. In addition, the samples from the control group showed a greater capacity for countering oxidative stress. The authors concluded that the findings “support the concept that free radicals play a pathogenic role in AMD and that CoQ10 may have a protective effect.”2


1. Edwards MG, Bressler NM, Raja SC. Macular disorders-Age-related macular degeneration. In: Yanoff M, Duku JS, Augsbuger JJ, et al, eds. Ophthalmology, 1st ed. London, UK: Mosby International; 1999:8-28.1--8-28.9.
2. Blasi MA, et al. Does coenzyme Q10 play a role in opposing oxidative stress in patients with age-related macular degeneration? Ophthalmologica. Jan-Feb 2001;215(1):51-4.