Coenzyme Q10 and Statin Drugs
Statins, a class of cholesterol-lowering drugs, have been shown to inhibit
the activity of ras oncogenes. ras oncogenes are involved in the regulation
of cell growth, modulating the signals that govern the cancer cell cycle.
Mutations in genes encoding Ras proteins have been closely associated
with unregulated cell proliferation, a hallmark of cancer (refer to
the protocol Cancer Treatment: The Critical Factors to read more about
A number of studies have shown the value of statin
drugs in a cancer regimen, and the benefit escalates when a statin is
combined with a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). People
who regularly used NSAIDs lowered their risk of colon cancer by as much
as 50%; when lovastatin was added to a cyclo-oxygenase 2 (COX-2) inhibitor,
the rate of cell death of three colon cancer cell lines increased up
to five-fold (Agarwal et al. 1999).
The statin’s mode of operation, however,
raises concern. Statin drugs reduce cholesterol synthesis in the liver
by inhibiting the activity of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A
(HMG-CoA) reductase. HMG-CoA reductase is required for the conversion
of HMG-CoA to mevalonic acid, a step in cholesterol synthesis (Folkers
et al. 1990). Inhibiting HMG-CoA reductase results in lower amounts
of cholesterol being produced. Disruption of the cascade also interferes
with the synthesis of coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), creating a potential tradeoff
regarding advantages and disadvantages gathered from statin usage (Folkers
et al 1990; Hattersley 1994).
The impact upon CoQ10 levels when taking statin
drugs can be significant. For example, patients taking CoQ10, who later
started lovastatin, lowered their CoQ10 levels by 44-75%. The problems
associated with drug-related suppression of CoQ10 escalate when age-associated
decline in serum CoQ10 levels are also present. A CoQ10 deficiency of
25% is linked with illness in animals and a deficit of 75% with death
(Hattersley 1996; Bliznakov et al. 1988). Administering adequate amounts
of CoQ10 with a statin drug allows the cancer patient the value of the
drug without the risks imposed by depletion of the coenzyme.
The ubiquinone Coenzyme Q10 is a component, along
with a number of cytochromes, of the electron transport carrier system
which shuttles electrons in a handshake fashion along the energy generating
pathway of aerobic metabolism. CoQ10 strengthens the cardiovascular
system, normalises blood pressure and augments the immune system. Cancer
patients have greater deficiencies of CoQ10, presumably due to general
nutritional deficiencies and particular shortage of vitamins required
for its biosynthesis from the amino acid phenyalanine.5
In Nov 1993, Knud Lockwood, Sven Moesgaard and Karl Folkers from Copenhagen
Denmark and Austin Texas, USA reported to the Eighth International Symposium
on the Biomedical Clinical Aspects of Coenzyme Q, in Stockholm Sweden,
the partial to complete tumour regression in six breast cancer patients
supplemented with doses of Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) ranging from 90 to 390
mg daily. This clinical data has been recently published.6 Of 32 "high-risk"
patients supplemented with anti-oxidants, fatty acids and CoQ10, all
survived after 2 years, and 6, aged from 48 to 82 years, had documented
remissions of breast tumours. In addition, morphine dosage was reduced,
metastases were not observed and clinical conditions were excellent.
In one case of 59 years, following 1 month's treatment of 390mg CoQ10,
the (intraductal) tumour was no longer palpable, mammography confirming
the absence of signs of tumour. A further case with intraductal cancer
showed no evidence of tumour or distant metastases following 3 months'
treatment with 300 mg CoQ10 daily. The breast cancer tumour regression
may be the result of CoQ10's bioenergetic activity, expressed as the
hematological and immunological activity of this vitamin. The author,
who has treated about 200 breast cancer cases per year for 35 years,
"has never seen a spontaneous complete regression of 1.5-2.0 cm
breast tumour, and has never seen a comparable regression on any conventional
It is hoped that the report of this clinical success by these oncologists
will provide the impetus and justification for more rigorous research
and clinical treatment with CoEnzyme Q10, which appears to offer promise
to women with breast cancer. Cancer is always unpredictable and clinical
progress individually unique; it cannot be cautioned strongly enough
not to extrapolate from these individual remissions to magic bullet.
Coenzyme Q10 /
Co Q10 / Stockholm Protocol Cancer Treatment
How It Works
Coenzyme Q10 is an antioxidant that stimulates the heart muscles and
stimulates the immune system in several different ways, mainly through
higher antibody levels, and greater numbers and/or activities of the
cancer fighting macrophages and T-cells. There may be other ways Co-Q10
aids in the fight against cancer that have not yet been isolated. Of
course it is best known as an antioxidant. Antioxidants help the body
use oxygen more efficiently.
The first thing that needs to be emphasized is dosage. In experiments
where the dosage was only 90 mg, results were sporatic. However, when
dosages were in the range of 400-600 mg, and perhaps higher, results
were substantial. (Note: A person should gradually build up to dosages
above 100 mg.)
"In late 1993, Dr. Folkers arranged for the first clinical trial
of Co Q10 at a clinic in Copenhagen, Denmark. Doctors treated 32 patients
with advanced, "high risk" breast cancer. In addition to appropriate
surgery and conventional treatment, each patient was given 90 mg of
CoQ10 per day. They also received other vitamins, minerals, antioxidants,
and essential fatty acids. On this regimen, 6 of the 32 patients showed
partial tumor regressions, significant in "advanced" patients.
Then in October 1993, a strange thing happened: one of these six women,
on her own, increased her dosage from 90 to 390 mg per day. By the next
month, her doctors wrote, "the tumor was no longer palpable and
in the following month, a mammogram confirmed the disappearance of her
tumor. After that, another woman in the group also increased her dose,
this time to 300 mg. Her tumor also soon disappeared and a clinical
examination revealed no evidence of the prior residual tumor, nor of
Ralph Moss, Antioxidants Against Cancer
The significance of this study is two-fold. First, all of these patients
were given chemotherapy along with the Co-Q10. Imagine what results
would have been obtained without the toxic and immune system destroying
chemotherapy! Second, the dosages of Co-Q10 given by the doctors were
far too low (90 mg). It was the patients who made the greatest discoveries.
"Coenzyme Q10 stimulates animal immune systems, leading to higher
antibody levels, greater numbers and/or activities of macrophages and
T cells (T lymphocytes), and increased resistance to infection. Coenzyme
Q10 has also been reported to increase IgG (immunoglobulin G) antibody
levels and to increase the CD4 to CD8 T-cell ratio in humans. CD4 and
CD8 are proteins found on the surface of T cells, with CD4 and CD8 identifying
"helper" T cells and "cytotoxic T cells", respectively;
decreased CD4 to CD8 T-cell ratios have been reported for cancer patients.
Research subsequently delineated the antioxidant properties of coenzyme
And by a different author:
"A subsequent study showed a statistically significant relationship
between the level of plasma coenzyme Q10 deficiency and breast cancer
prognosis. Low blood levels of this compound have been reported in patients
with malignancies other than breast cancer, including myeloma, lymphoma,
and cancers of the lung, prostate, pancreas, colon, kidney, and head
and neck. Furthermore, decreased levels of coenzyme Q10 have been detected
in malignant human tissue, but increased levels have been reported as
"Dr. Douglass points out that CoQ10 dissolves
in fat and that it is therefore most absorbable in either a special
wafer form (to which some oil has been added) or taken with a tablespoon
of olive oil. Burton Goldberg recommends coconut oil."
If you have been paying attention to my articles, you should jump out
of your chair and shout: "Hey, this would be a great substance
to add the Budwig Diet too." So it would.
There are two reasons for taking Coenzyme Q10
supplements, even though our body can manufacture it. First, the body
makes less of this as we age. Second, the B vitamins niacin (B3), folic
acid, and pyridoxine (B6) are required for the body to manufacture this
nutrient, and most people don't get enough of these B vitamins.
Supercharging This Treatment
While Coenzyme Q10, by itself, can cause cancer remission, virtually
every study with Co-Q10 involved mixing Co-Q10 (which helps the immunity
system), with chemotherapy (which destroys the immunity system), thus
leading to mixed results. Because of the lack of scientific research
on Co-Q10, sans chemotherapy, this treatment plan must be supplemented
until more information is received.
Perhaps the obvious place to start is the Stockholm
Protocol, which is centered on Co Q10.
Stockholm Protocol: (daily):
1.2 grams of Gamma Linolenic Acid
3.5 grams of Omega 3 Fatty Acids
58 mg (32,248 iu) Beta Carotene
2.8 grams Vitamin C
2500 iu Vitamin E
385 micro grams Selenium
390 mg CoQ10
The Vitamin C in this regimen is far too low,
and should probably be in the range of 12 grams (3 grams 4 times daily).
Additionally, this treatment plan should also include a good multi-vitamin,
which must include a wide array of trace elements (or use mineral water)
and it must be strong in the B-Vitamins.
Since treatment plans that build the immunity
system generally take longer to aid in killing cancer cells (because
they work indirectly), other treatment plans should be combined with
this plan to help kill cancer cells directly and stop the spreading
of the cancer. These might include Essiac Tea and/or grape cure, to
kill cancer cells directly, and Rath Cellular Solution and MSM to stop
I have included this product in my articles because
of its affect on some patients in spite of them taking chemotherapy.
Also because it lends itself to being combined with the Budwig Diet.
It May Just Be the Miracle Vitamin of the 1990s
Copyright ©1995 by Jack Challem.
All rights reserved.
Heart disease. Cancer. AIDS. As unbelievable as
it might sound, each of these deadly diseases often responds to a coenzyme
Q10, a little known nutrient that can make a big difference in your
Granted, such "cure all" statements leave people wondering
whether CoQ10 is just the latest panacea of the month. Rest assured:
the benefits of this nutrient are well documented in the medical journals.
It's one of the most frequently prescribed heart "drugs" in
Japan and widely used in Europe-and one company even owns the patent
for the CoQ10 treatment of AIDS.
Ask your doctor about CoQ10, though, and he'll probably say he's never
heard of it. Part of the problem is CoQ10's name. "Most doctors
don't know what a coenzyme is," said Karl Folkers, Ph.D., one of
the researchers who pioneered CoQ10. Most biochemists know it as ubiquinone,
an equally arcane name.
CoQ10 is a little easier to appreciate when you remember that vitamins
function as co-enzymes in the body, furthering thousands of essential
biochemical reactions. CoQ10's key role is in producing adenosine triphosphate
(ATP), needed for energy production in every cell of the body. Secondary
to that, CoQ10 functions as a powerful antioxidant.
This vitamin-like nutrient occurs widely in the food supply, though
not always in significant amounts. In addition, each cell in the body
manufactures CoQ10, though not always very efficiently. That means you
may not be getting enough for optimal health.
"Like the vitamins discovered in the early part of this century,
CoQ10 is an essential element of food that can now be used medicinally,"
explained Peter Langsjoen, M.D., a cardiologist in Tyler, Texas.
CoQ10 and the Heart
CoQ10 was discovered in 1957-relatively late as vitamins discoveries
go-by Frederick Crane, Ph.D., now at Purdue University in Indiana. Four
years later, Peter D. Mitchell, Ph.D., of the University of Edinburgh,
figured out how CoQ10 produces energy at the cellular level and, in
1978, won the Nobel Prize for chemistry for this discovery.
By the mid-1960s, Japanese researchers recognized that CoQ10 concentrated
in the myocardium, or heart muscle. Its role in the heart makes sense:
the heart, one of the body's most energetic organs, beats approximately
100,000 times a day and 36 million times a year, and depends on CoQ10
for "bioenergetics." In the early 1980s, Folkers, director
of the Institute for Biochemical Research at the University of Texas,
and the late Per H. Langsjoen, M.D. (Peter's father), conducted the
first study of CoQ10 in the treatment of cardiomyopathy, a form of progressive
The findings were astounding. In a well-controlled study, 19 patients
who were expected to die from heart failure rebounded with an "extraordinary
clinical improvement," according to Folkers and Langsjoen's report
in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA (June
Case studies demonstrate the dramatic effect of CoQ10. In Biochemical
and Biophysical Research Communications (Jan 15, 1993;182:247-53), Folkers
described a 43-year-old man suffering from cardiomyopathy. After being
given CoQ10, his enlarged heart became smaller (indicating it was working
more efficiently), and he was able to resume an "extremely active
athletic lifestyle." The heart function of another patient, a 50-year-old
man with very severe cardiomyopathy, returned after he took CoQ10, and
he has since had "no limitations of activity."
Numerous other studies have confirmed the role of CoQ10 in treating
heart failure, which is otherwise treated with drugs (such as beta blockers
and ACE inhibitors)-or with a heart transplant. A sampling:
Sixty-five cardiologists treating 806 patients
for heart failure or ischemic heart disease indicated "significant"
benefits from CoQ10. (Langsjoen, PH, Klinische Wochenschrift, 1988;66:583-90.)
Twenty-five hundred heart failure patients at
173 Italian medical centers were given 50 to 150 mg CoQ10 daily for
three months. Eighty percent of the patients had some type of improvement.
(Clinical Investigator, Aug. 1993;71S:145-9)
A 12-month double-blind study compared 319 patients
taking CoQ10 with 322 taking a placebo. CoQ10 reduced complications
of heart failure as well as the need for hospitalization. (Clinical
Investigator, Aug. 1993;71S:134-6).
CoQ10 and Cancer
Although CoQ10 is best documented in the treatment of heart failure,
two recent medical journal articles suggest tremendous promise in the
treatment of cancer. In Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
(April 15, 1993;192:241-5), Folkers described 10 cancer patients given
CoQ10 for heart failure. One of the patients, a 48-year-old man diagnosed
in 1977 with inoperable lung cancer, has been not had any signs of either
cancer and heart failure symptoms while taking CoQ10 for 17 years! Another
patient, an 82-year-old man, had been treated for colon cancer.
Knud Lockwood, M.D., a cancer specialist in Copenhagen, Denmark, recently
described his treatment of 32 "high-risk" breast cancer patients
with antioxidant vitamins, essential fatty acids, and CoQ10. "No
patient died and all expressed a feeling of well-being," he wrote
in Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications (March 30, 1994;199:1504-8).
"These clinical results are remarkable since about 4 deaths would
have been expected. Now, after 24 months, all still survive; about 6
deaths would have been expected."
Six of the 32 patients showed partial tumor remission, and two benefited
from very high doses of CoQ10. One, a 59-year-old woman with a family
history of breast cancer, had a tumor removed from her left breast.
The cancer returned, but "stabilized" at about 1.5-2 centimeters
(about 1/2 to 3/4-inch) in diameter when the patient took 90 mg. of
CoQ10 daily. One month after increasing the CoQ10 intake to 390 mg.
daily, the tumor disappeared. Mammography confirmed its absence.
Another patient, age 74, had a small tumor removed from her right breast.
She refused a second operation to remove additional growths and began
taking 300 mg of CoQ10 daily. Three months later, an examination and
mammography revealed no evidence of the tumor or metastases.
Lockwood, who has treated some 7,000 cases of breast cancer over 35
years, wrote that until using CoQ10, he had "never seen a spontaneous
complete regression of a 1.5-2.0 centimeter breast tumor, and has never
seen a comparable regression on any conventional anti-tumor therapy."
CoQ10 and AIDS
One of the most remarkable findings was that CoQ10 supplementation could
extend the lifespan of patients with acquired immune deficiency syndrome
(AIDS). In 1986, Folkers and Per Langsjoen began treating seven patients
with HIV or AIDS. Not all of the patients consistently took CoQ10, but
"the treatment was very encouraging and at times even striking,"
Folkers wrote in Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
(June 16, 1988;153:888-96). "All 7 patients (3 AIDS, 4 ARC) felt
better soon after starting on CoQ10," wrote Folkers.
It's with the treatment of AIDS that the medical story of CoQ10 turns
into one of economic intrigue. The University of Texas, where the AIDS/CoQ10
research was conducted, applied for a "use-patent" for the
treatment of AIDS. The patent (#1,011,858), one of several for CoQ10
and immune function, was granted on April 30, 1991. The use-patent gives
the owner full patent rights to the nutrient when it's prescribed for
the treatment of AIDS.
In 1993, the university sold the use-patient to James Ryan, an investment
banker and one of the patients in Folkers' original cardiomyopathy study.
Ryan, head of Ryan Pharmaceuticals, paid several hundred thousand dollars
for the use patent, then sold it for an estimated $2 million to Receptagen,
a U.S./Canadian biotechnology firm. The company plans to market prescription
versions of CoQ10 for the treatment of AIDS sometime in the next two
How Much To Take?
So is CoQ10 a drug or a nutrient? Studies of patients with heart disease,
cancer, and AIDS indicate that they are routinely deficient in CoQ10.
Although CoQ10 is found in many foods, only organ meats contain significant
amounts-but most people do not eat these foods. Can the body make up
the difference? Folkers is doubtful. He recently observed that "many
Americans do not have adequate levels of all the vitamins, coenzymes
and trace elements for the multi-step biosynthesis of CoQ10 even for
limited health and survival apart from optimum health and survival."
So if CoQ10 so good, why don't more doctors use it? Peter Langsjoen,
M.D., recently ventured an explanation.
"The answer to this question is found in the fields of politics
and marketing and not in the fields of science or medicine. The controversy
surrounding CoQ10 likewise is political and economic, as the previous
30 years of research on CoQ10 have been remarkably consistent and free
of major controversy," he explained.
"Although it is not the first time that a fundamental and clinically
important discovery has come about without the backing of a pharmaceutical
company, it is the first such discovery to so radically alter how physicians
must view disease. While the pharmaceutical industry does a good job
at physician and patient education on their new products, the distributors
of CoQ10 are not as effective at this."
Therapeutic dosages of CoQ10 for serious diseases range from 200-400
mg. daily, ideally under a physician's supervision. It works in diverse
conditions because the basic underlying mechanisms are the same-energy
production at the cellular level and antioxidant protection against
free radicals. In an interview, Folkers said that CoQ10 is safe and
has no negative side effects, though it may decrease the need for other
heart medicines. A common preventive dose ranges from 10-30 mg daily.
The information provided by Jack Challem and The
Nutrition Reporter™ newsletter is strictly educational and not
intended as medical advice. For diagnosis and treatment, consult your
physician. And in case you were wondering, neither Jack Challem nor
The Nutrition Reporter™ sell vitamins.