Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), also known as chronic fatigue and immune dysfunction syndrome, is a mysterious medical condition that affects approximately 500,000 Americans (CDC 2005a). CFS is defined as a set of symptoms that include prolonged, overwhelming fatigue that begins on awakening and lasts throughout the day. The fatigue may worsen with exercise or physical activity. Other symptoms associated with CFS include mood swings, muscle spasms, pain, headache, sleep disturbances, and loss of appetite (Afari N et al 2003; Balch PA et al 2000).
Several nutrients have been suggested to be deficient in CFS patients, including B vitamins, antioxidants, vitamin C, magnesium, sodium, zinc, L-tryptophan, L-carnitine, CoQ10, and essential fatty acids. Nutritional deficiencies influence the symptoms of the syndrome as well as the recovery process (Bounous G et al 1999; Grimble RF 1994; Vecchiet J et al 2003).
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a potent antioxidant that aids in metabolic reactions, including the process of forming adenosine triphosphate, the molecule the body uses for energy.
In one study of 20 female patients with CFS (who required bed rest following mild exercise), 80 percent were deficient in CoQ10. After three months of CoQ10 supplementation (100 mg/day), the exercise tolerance of the CFS patients more than doubled: 90 percent had reduction or disappearance of clinical symptoms, and 85 percent had decreased post-exercise fatigue (Judy W 1996).
In the University of Iowa study, CoQ10 emerged as the leading therapy for CFS, with 69 percent of patients saying it was helpful.
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