Americans today get an average of 6.5 hours of sleep a night, which is much less than the recommended 8 hours. While many of us experience exhaustion due to a lack of sleep, some Americans have no control over their fatigue. In fact, they feel pure exhaustion for months on end - imagine that!
For nearly 2.5 million Americans, dealing with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a daily reality. Unfortunately, the causes of the syndrome have been debated, and treatments for affected individuals are scarce. But could a new study on daily coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) supplementation be the key to improving symptoms?
CoQ10 is an antioxidant that influences the production of ATP, an energy currency in the body. While our bodies manufacture most of the CoQ10 we need, various studies have found that people with CFS have remarkably low levels of it. In that, a recent study proposed that low CoQ10 levels could be causing fatigue in people with CFS by keeping their bodies from producing enough ATP.
Over a period of 12 weeks, researchers studied two separate groups of individuals - both male and female participants who were diagnosed with CFS. The first group was given 150 mg of ubiquinol, the most common form of CoQ10 in the body, with a meal once a day for 8 weeks. The second group of participants were randomized and given either 150 mgs of ubiquinol or a placebo daily with a meal for 12 weeks.
Researchers found that about 95% of participants had lower than average levels of ubiquinol to start. By supplementing their daily diet with ubiquinol, the participants had mild to moderate increases in total CoQ10 concentrations. In some participants, higher levels of CoQ10 in the body did seem to correlate with improvements in fatigue, depressive symptoms and even performance on arithmetic tasks. However, the overall results of the study were so inconsistent that they lack true credibility.
While both studies found associations between CFS symptom improvement and higher levels of circulating CoQ10, the relationship was mild to moderate. Overall, ubiquinol or CoQ10 can improve energy levels, but not significantly. Treatments like cognitive behavioral therapy and graded exercise therapy can show better results for symptom management with CFS.
It is also important to note that chronic fatigue is not the only symptom of CFS. Joint aches, impaired cognition, unrestful sleep, and muscle pain are also common symptoms. If you regularly experience one or more of these symptoms, we urge you to see your primary care doctor for a true diagnosis.