Treatment with the coenzyme Q10 improved a wide range of psychiatric symptoms in patients with fibromyalgia, according to a new study. The treatment also reduced patients’ clinical symptoms and inflammation.
Based on the results, the researchers may have found a biological explanation for the psychological symptoms associated with the disease, and they suggest that Q10 may offer a psychological and biological therapeutic approach in the same treatment.
The work was recently published in the journal CNS Neuroscience & Therapeutics, titled “Effect of coenzyme Q10 on psychopathological symptoms in fibromyalgia patients.”
Psychiatric symptoms in fibromyalgia patients, such as depression and anxiety, are still controversial. According to the National Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Association (NFMCPA) there is no connection between depression and fibromyalgia, and fibromyalgia is not a psychiatric disorder. The depression associated with fibromyalgia is believed to result from the pain, sleep deprivation, and dysfunction that patients experience.
A recent study suggested that oxidative stress (a process that causes cell damage) and mitochondrial dysfunction (leading to energy deficiency in cells) may contribute to fibromyalgia symptoms. In addition, Q10 deficiency has been observed in patients with fibromyalgia.
Q10 plays an important role in mitochondrial energy production in the cells, and data has reported improvements of clinical symptoms in fibromyalgia patients treated with Q10, including depression.
The research team wanted to further explore the impact of Q10 in different psychiatric symptoms associated with fibromyalgia and clarify possible biological and clinical mechanisms.
Twenty patients with fibromyalgia were screened for psychological and clinical fibromyalgia symptoms with different questionnaires. Blood samples were also collected. The entire procedure was repeated after 40 days of treatment with Q10 (300 mg/day) or a placebo.
Interestingly, the results showed that the group receiving Q10 showed improvements in all measured psychological symptoms, including depression, anxiety, hostility, somatization (multiple medical symptoms with no apparent cause) and obsessive-compulsive behavior, all related to fibromyalgia.
Important improvements in mitochondrial function and antioxidant gene expression (to neutralize the oxidative stress seen in fibromyalgia) were also observed after Q10 treatment. The team also saw a reduction in inflammation and an improvement in clinical symptoms such as pain and sleep deprivation in patients receiving Q10.
High levels of oxidative stress and mitochondrial dysfunction have been associated with both depression and somatization, as well as with clinical symptoms of fibromyalgia. Therefore, the team suggested that Q10 may simultaneously improve the psychological and biological components of the disease.
“Our study has shown a new perspective about the treatment in patients with [fibromyalgia] using CoQ10,” the team wrote. “Because psychopathological symptoms and psychological distress are highly involved in the pathophysiology of [fibromyalgia] and modulate the perception of the disease from the patients, the effect of CoQ10 in this clinical dimension proposes a biological and psychological approach from the same treatment.”
The researchers also emphasized that additional clinical trials involving more patients should be conducted to confirm these results.