Wait...does this mean it's working?
March 25, 2010 11:49 AM   Subscribe

Users of Co Q 10: Did it help you? How long did it take for you to feel better? Am I feeling a placebo effect?

I have been fairly lethargic/possibly somewhat depressed for the past 5 years. I've had trouble focusing, felt easily drained and stressed, and somehow ended up developing gum disease (not for lack of brushing or flossing, I think, I don't know why or what happened, or why, even after flossing alot and getting a root scaling and switching to a Sonicare, I started developing plaque so easily than I ever had before in my life).

I started looking for natural agents that help fight gum disease (I have to pay through the nose for another scaling and was frustrated that my vigorous brushing and regimen isn't inhibiting plaque development) and came across an article about Co Q 10. Figuring I didn't have anything to lose, I hopped over to the CVS and bought the store brand. I took one. A few hours later, I started feeling different, more energized. I had some muscle pain (I felt like maybe it was psychosomatic because I think I might have been hyper-perceptive to pain) before, and it feels like less now.

Online, I've read that studies on Co Q 10 are either inconclusive or that it doesn't show an overwhelming benefit. Is what I'm feeling a placebo effect? I had a blood test done at a physical and everything was normal -- do they check/can they check for Co Q 10 levels?

I'm in my early thirties, female, and vegetarian (have been veg my whole life, but only started feeling lethargic and slow and fatigued 5 years ago).
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (7 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
My neurologist suggested I try Coenzyme Q10 for a muscle illness, but, every single time I took it, with meals or without, it gave me such horrible heartburn that I had to quit.

There is no test for Coenzyme Q among your normal blood tests. Your physician is not going to be able to tell you if you need it. It sounds as though it might be helping you, and it's pretty harmless if it's not giving you side effects, so, even if it's a placebo, maybe it's worthwhile.

I hope you are taking a B12 supplement. B12 deficiency happens even among non-vegetarians, but is more common in vegetarians since, in spite of some vegans' claims to the contrary, there is no plant food that contains significant amounts of B12 naturally, and it can cause horrible nerve damage if not detected in time. My doctor has me taking a huge dose of B12, 1000 micrograms a day, because I can't absorb the normal dose, which is not an uncommon problem. To go along with that, vitamin D is a popular deficiency to worry about these days, since it's been recognized as surprisingly common, and it can cause lethargy, fatigue, and muscle pain.
posted by Ery at 12:04 PM on March 25, 2010

My dentist read that grapefruit seed oil helps with gum disease. I asked a friend who has studied alternative medicine a lot, he concurred.
posted by mareli at 12:57 PM on March 25, 2010

It's interesting that grapefruit seed extract, which generally contains significant concentrations of various synthetic preservatives such as benzethonium chloride, triclosan and methyl paraben, has acquired a reputation as an alternative medicine. Evidently its antimicrobial activity is entirely due to the added preservatives; those few samples of grapefruit seed extract that lack the synthetic additives also lack antimicrobial activity. Here's a summary of various findings.
posted by Ery at 1:26 PM on March 25, 2010

CoQ10 is really for hypertension. No good studies have yet shown it to be effective against gum disease, and it is very expensive. If I were you I would give it a try, along with extra vitamin C, until your supply runs out and see if it works for you.
posted by caddis at 2:26 PM on March 25, 2010

I started using co q 10 with fishoil caps for my bloodpressure and it went to dead on normal from mildly high in about a month. that is all...
posted by Redhush at 5:03 PM on March 25, 2010

My doctor gave it to me to counteract nausea and muscle pain from the statins she wants me on for my cholesterol. It works for that. I have been more energetic since I started taking it last year but I'm also taking several other supplements (including fish oil & vitamin D) on my doctor's recommendation so I can't tell you which supplement is responsible.

(early 40s, omnivore with a crappy diet and other health issues, fwiw.)
posted by immlass at 6:14 PM on March 25, 2010

About ten or fifteen years ago, I was having a hell of a time with bleeding tender gums despite flossing and brushing religiously, and also using one of those dentist-recommended tools that gets between the teeth and pokes at the gums (Sulcabrush, though I've been using a Curaprox for the past few years instead). I was already taking a few supplements including iron, Vit C, and Vit B complex. The CoQ10 cleared up the bleeding gums within about a week. It was like a miracle. Ever since then, every so often when my gums have gotten tender for a longish while for no good reason, I go back to the CoQ10 and it clears them up.

I still have to floss and brush and Curaprox like a maniac, but at least the regimen gets the results it's supposed to. Much preferable to me muttering to myself, "Ow! Damn gums. Ow! WTF, I brush you and floss you and Curaprox you, and constant bleeding and tenderness is how you thank me, you ungrateful fuckers?"

I have no idea if CoQ10 would produce the effects you describe, though. Good luck. (Also, you will have read, I hope, that it's fat-soluble, so take it with some sort of food that's got fat in it.)
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 10:30 PM on March 25, 2010

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