A nutrient vital for heart function, coenzyme Q10 has for years been a mainstay for cardiovascular disease prevention and recovery among integrative cardiologists. Now, recent evidence from a study headed by Beatrice Golomb, M.D., Ph.D. at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine demonstrates coenzyme Q10’s potential for alleviating symptoms of “Gulf War Syndrome.”
What is Gulf War Syndrome?
Gulf War Syndrome and Gulf War Veterans illnesses (GWVI) are terms commonly used to describe the “medically unexplained, chronic multi-symptom illnesses” affecting approximately one in four Gulf War Veterans (i.e. approximately 200,000 people). Thought to be caused by prolonged exposure to pesticides like DEET and permethrin, ingestion of anti-nerve agent pills (pyridostigmine bromide, or PB) and combat-related emotional stress, GWVI is characterized by symptoms like fatigue, widespread joint pain, headaches, anxiety, depression, dizziness, respiratory disorders, gastrointestinal disorders, insomnia, and memory problems. Such symptoms have become so common among Gulf War Veterans (anyone who has served in Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and other countries in Southwest Asia from 1990 to the present), that they’re presumed to be linked to active duty in the Gulf (making those Gulf War veterans experiencing such symptoms eligible for disability benefits and health care).
In addition to pesticide and PB exposures, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs acknowledges other potential contributors to the laundry list of symptoms popularly known as Gulf War Syndrome. Vaccinations (against anthrax, botulinum toxide, yellow fever, typhoid, hepatitis B, meningitis, cholera, whooping cough, tetanus, and polio), as well as chemical and biological warfare agents, burn pits, oil well fires, and depleted uranium (used in tank armor and bullets) are listed as possible exposures explaining the prevalence of GWVI.
Interestingly enough, electro-hypersensitive people tend to also report symptoms including headaches, dizziness, inability to concentrate, nervousness, pain, fatigue, nausea, problems sleeping, skin disorders, racing heartbeats, and tinnitus (ringing in the ears), when exposed to EMF (electromagnetic field) emissions from technologies such as wireless devices and electrical appliances. As military personnel routinely use radio frequency (RF) equipment like radar and other relatively high-powered radio transmitters in military operations, it’s quite possible that such occupational exposure to EMF emissions may have also contributed to GWVI symptoms.
As is usually the case with systemic issues, it’s often about the “perfect storm” of forces acting at different angles… taken all together, vaccines, pesticides, heavy metals and EMF can have a knockout effect on cells. Thankfully, the body has a remarkable ability to heal, and we are becoming more aware of natural remedies, like coenzyme Q10, for such cellular distress.
The Co Q10 and Gulf War Syndrome Study
Through a double-blind placebo-controlled study, Dr. Golomb’s team worked with 46 veterans with “syndrome defining symptoms” to test the efficacy of coenzyme Q10 against these symptoms. For a period of 3.5 months, each veteran was given daily administrations of coenzyme Q10 as either a high or low dose, or a placebo. During the following two 3.5 month periods, each veteran received the remaining respective doses so that all eventually took coenzyme Q10 during at least two periods of the study. Dr. Golomb relayed that "every single one of [the veterans] … improved," and added that improvement was shown with all twenty GWVI symptoms. "For it to have been chance alone is under one in a million," she said.Dr. Golomb presented her findings at a June 27 2011 Department of Veterans Affairs meeting (although her study is not yet published, we intend to provide more information about it as soon as it is).
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