(NaturalNews) Neuropathy, or nerve damage, is the most common cause of injury and death in people with diabetes. Preliminary studies suggest, however, that this debilitating condition may be treatable by boosting your body's levels of a substance that it is already producing: Coenzyme Q10, or CoQ10.
Approximately 50 percent of all type 1 and type 2 diabetes patients - nearly 2 percent of the world's population - experience some form of diabetic neuropathy. There are currently no treatments that are capable of preventing the disorder or halting its progression.
But in a recent study published in the journal Neurobiology of Disease, researchers from the University of Miami found that supplementation with CoQ10 was able to decrease neuropathy-induced pain in diabetic mice.
The researchers induced diabetes in 56 obese mice and left another 20 mice unharmed to serve as a control group. They then supplemented the diets of the diabetic mice with CoQ10 and observed both behavioral and physiological markers of pain, as well as biological markers of CoQ10 activity. The researchers found that while CoQ10 had no influence on the diabetes itself, it reduced pain and inflammation in the mice, actually preventing the development of diabetic neuropathic pain.
"Dorsal root ganglia, sciatic nerve, and spinal cord tissues from diabetic mice demonstrated increased lipid peroxidation that was reduced by CoQ10 treatment," the researchers wrote. "CoQ10 administration was also noted to reduce the pro-inflammatory factors in the peripheral and central nervous system."
The diabetic mice also lost weight, even though their blood sugar levels did not change. The non-diabetic mice, however, did not lose any weight.
"These results suggest that CoQ10 might be a reasonable preventative strategy for long-term use and using CoQ10 treatment may be a safe and effective long-term approach in the treatment of diabetic neuropathy," the researchers wrote.
Long-term protective benefits
Evidence suggests that CoQ10 actually helps stem or even prevent the development of diabetic neuropathy itself, and not just the pain associated with the condition. For example, a study published in the journal Anesthesiology in January found that long-term CoQ10 supplementation reduced the rate of progressive loss of nerve function in mice with type 1 diabetes, while a study published the same month in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found the same effect in mice with type 2 diabetes. A 2008 study published in the journal Methods and Findings in Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology found that CoQ10 supplementation actually restored the nerve conduction velocities of diabetic rats to the same levels seen in healthy control rats.
"In addition to its effects on mitochondrial alterations, these positive effects of CoQ10 on diabetic neuropathy can be attributed to its antioxidant activity," the researchers wrote.
CoQ10 is a substance that is naturally produced by your body in order to help its enzymes carry out a wide variety of processes. Although CoQ10 is best known for its role in helping mitochondria produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which provides cells with energy, researchers also suspect that the coenzyme plays other functions in the body such as helping prevent cellular damage. Numerous controlled studies have suggested that CoQ10 supplementation can help treat high blood pressure, and investigations are also ongoing for other benefits including improving cognitive health, fighting heart disease and cancer, lowering high cholesterol and slowing the effects of aging.
You can boost your body's levels of CoQ10 by eating organ meats, beef, sardines, mackerel or soy oil. You can also buy CoQ10 in supplement form, where it may also be marketed under the names Q10, vitamin Q10, ubiquinone and ubidecarenone.
NaturalNews does not condone nor support the use of animals for experiments or testing of any kind.