Vitamin Treatment For Hereditary Ataxia

Brings Dramatic Improvements

Apr. 11, 2001 — ST. PAUL, MN — Researchers have discovered a new treatment for one form of the rare disorder hereditary ataxia that has resulted in remarkable improvements, according to a study in the April 10 issue of Neurology, the scientific journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

“An 8-year-old boy who was confined to a wheelchair was able to walk independently after the treatment, and a 20-year-old woman was able to work outside the home for the first time,” said study author and neurologist Salvatore DiMauro, MD, of Columbia University in New York, NY.

Hereditary ataxia is a genetic neurological disorder that affects coordination. Patients have difficulty with balance, coordination of arms and legs and speech. Some patients also develop seizures. The disease often causes deterioration of the cerebellum, the area of the brain that controls coordination.

The researchers discovered that some patients with hereditary ataxia have a decreased level of coenzyme Q10, or CoQ10, in their muscles. CoQ10, also called ubiquinone, is a vitamin-like substance that plays a key role in the production of energy within cells. It is naturally present in small amounts in various foods.

For the study, the researchers identified people with hereditary ataxia with no known genetic cause. CoQ10 levels were low among the six patients identified — about 70 percent lower than normal. The patients were then given daily supplements of CoQ10, ranging from 300 mg to 3,000 mg.

“All of the patients improved with the CoQ10,” DiMauro said. “They got stronger, their ataxia improved and their seizures either stopped or happened less often.

One year after they started taking CoQ10, the patients’ scores improved by an average of 25 percent on an ataxia scale measuring their balance, speech and movement. Five of the patients were unable to walk before receiving CoQ10; after treatment all were able to walk with some assistance, such as a rolling walker.

There are many forms of hereditary ataxia, also called hereditary spinocerebellar ataxia, or SCA. These patients did not have the autosomal dominant forms of SCA (SCA1 to SCA5) or Friedreich’s ataxia.

“Our findings suggest that CoQ10 deficiency is a potentially important cause of some forms of familial ataxia and it should be considered when diagnosing this condition,” DiMauro said. “Where low levels are found, treatment to replace the missing CoQ10 should be aggressive and begin early.”

A neurologist is a medical doctor with specialized training in diagnosing, treating and managing disorders of the brain and nervous system.


The American Academy of Neurology, an association of more than 17,000 neurologists and neuroscience professionals, is dedicated to improving patient care through education and research.


6 Food Sources of CoQ10

Coenzyme Q10 is a non-protein natural molecule that is created within your body’s cells and may also be ingested from your diet. It assists your body in metabolizing carbohydrates into energy. It also aids in depleting blood pressure. It is an antioxidant. CoQ10 may possibly aid in avoiding migraine headaches and improve system performance in individuals suffering from AIDs. Assortment food resources include CoQ10 organically.

Food Source #1: Fish

CoQ10 is established distinctively in fatty fish like tuna, salmon, mackerel, halibut, sardines and herring. Canned tuna gives 15.9 mg/g of CoQ10; rainbow trout contains 5.8 mg/g; frozen Pollock has 14.4 mg/g and Baltic herring has 15.9 mg/g. These kinds of fish are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which control swelling and may possibly aid in decreasing the danger of heart ailment. CoQ10 is also incorporated to several fish oil supplements can be supplemented to your diet by means of obtaining the said supplements.

Food Source#2: Meats

A natural source of CoQ10 is red meat, especially the organs. The liver, heart and kidney are all supplies of CoQ10. Consuming steak once weekly counts up additional CoQ10 to your diet, but the preparation procedure contains unconstructive outcome of depleting the quantity of CoQ10 within the meat.

Food Source #3: Whole Grains

Whole grains like rye, wheat and soy contain little quantity of CoQ19 as well. However, you would have to consume huge amount of these grains to obtain approximately 30 mg dosage of CoQ10. The typical dose for CoQ10 ranges from 10 to 30 mg every day, as stated by the Health Supplement Nutritional Guide. No suggested daily allowance amount for CoQ10 has been established as of June 2011.

Food Source #4: Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are healthy supplies of CoQ10. Normally, fruits and vegetables contain few quantities of CoQ10. Berries have 3.4 mg/g; oranges have 1.4 mg/g; apples contain 1.3 mg/g and black currants have about 0.9 mg/g.

Little quantities of CoQ10, below than .5 for every portion, are obtained from fruits and vegetables. The most excellent sources of CoQ10 involve spinach, cauliflower and broccoli along with strawberries, which is on a remote fourth place when it comes to the quantity of CoQ10. Strawberries provide only around l mg/g in a ½ cup portion. Even though frying vegetables lessens CoQ10 by roughly 14 to 32 percent, the CoQ10 content of vegetables will not alter once boiled. Incorporating pistachios or peanuts to vegetable dishes intensifies the CoQ10.

Food Source #5: Dairy

Dairy products have little quantities of CoQ10. Yogurt has 1.2 mg/g, Edam cheese contains 1.2 mg/g and milk has 1.5 mg/g and milk fat has 0.1 mg/g CoQ10. Consuming nourishing and well-balanced diet will intensify your every day quantity needs of CoQ10.

Food Source #6: Oils

Two types of cooking oils such as canola and soybean supply CoQ10.Soybean oils has polyunsaturated fatty acids and one tablespoon of this oil gives 1.3 mg of CoQ10. To make sure a wholesome way of life, keep away from hydrogenated soybean oils; choose as a substitute the new, low-saturated soybean types. Nutritionists and health care providers involving those from suggest canola oil for its low saturated fat and elevated quantity of monounsaturated fat. One tablespoon of canola oil supplies 1 mg of CoQ10.

There are a lot of food sources where you can acquire CoQ10.  Therefore, you don’t necessarily need to take supplements if you just include these foods in your daily meals.