Coenzyme Q10 And The Treatment Of Glaucoma

What is Coenzyme Q10?

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is naturally found in the mitochondria in our cells.  Mitochondria are essentially the cell’s batteries or power generators. Coenzyme Q10 is a key enzyme in the production of this energy. It is also a powerful antioxidant and protects neurons against damage. As such, it is a neuroprotectant.

Evidence That Coenzyme Q10 Can Be Effective In The Treatment Of Glaucoma

Vision is lost from glaucoma because the cells that transmit the visual signal from the eye to the brain die.  These cells are called Retinal Ganglion Cells. At least in one laboratory study, the Retinal Ganglion Cells of rats given Coenzyme Q10 survived after the intraocular pressure was raised.[1]

We cannot, however, assume that what works in rats will work in humans.  There are no studies looking at the use of Coenzyme Q10 in the prevention or treatment of glaucoma. That being said, glaucoma may have something in common with Parkinson’s.[2] Coenzyme Q10 has been shown to slow the changes associated with Parkinson’s disease.[3] Could it also, then, have a beneficial effect on glaucoma? It’s an intriguing, though currently unanswered, question.

Potential Side Effects and Risks:

Coenzyme Q10 is generally well tolerated. However, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, appetite reduction, and heartburn have been reported in approximately 1% of those who take this supplement. Some of these symptoms can be reduced if amounts over 100mg are split over multiple doses. An allergic rash appears to be rarely encountered.

Potential Drug Interactions

Antihypertensive (Blood Pressure lowering) Drugs

Coenzyme Q10 may have a blood pressure lowering effect. As such it should be used with caution in those who are already taking antihypertensive medications.

Warfarin (Coumadin)

Coenzyme Q10 may decrease the effectiveness of Warfarin. As such it should be used with caution in those who are already taking this blood thinner.

Recommended Dosage

As no human glaucoma studies have been done looking at Coenzyme Q10 it is not possible to recommend a dose. However, in patients with Parkinson’s the studied daily dose ranged from 300mg-1,200mg per day. The effect appeared to be dose-dependent with the greatest benefit noted at 1,200mg per day divided into 3-4 doses.

Where to Buy

As with most supplements, cost can vary widely. Take note, however, that the quality can vary as much as the price. To be certain you are getting a high quality product I would recommend you only purchase supplements such as Coenzyme Q10 from a trusted brand such as Life Extension.

References

1) Nucci C, Tartaglione R, Cerulli A. Retinal damage caused by high intraocular pressure-induced transient ischemia is prevented by coenzyme Q10 in rat. Int Rev Neurobiol. 2007;82:397–406.

2) Bayer AU, Keller ON, Ferrari F, et al. Association of glaucoma with neurodegenerative diseases with apoptotic cell death: Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. Am J Ophthalmol. 2002;133:135–137.

3) Shults CW, Oakes D, Kieburtz K, et al. Effects of coenzyme Q(10) in early Parkinson disease – evidence of slowing of the functional decline.  Arch Neurol . 2002;59:1541–1552.

Don’t delay getting checked for glaucoma.

Make an appointment with an eye doctor in your area now.  If you live in the greater Los Angeles area and would like Dr. Richardson to evaluate your eyes for glaucoma call 626-289-7856 now. No referral required. Same day or next day appointments are available, Tuesday through Saturday.

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