While depression is common in both Western and non-Western societies, anxiety is reported more in the Western world.1
Statistics for anxiety disorders in the United States show that not only is anxiety the most common mental illness, affecting an estimated 18 percent of the population, but less than half get treatment.2,3
A 1999 article in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry estimated the annual cost of anxiety disorders in the United States at more than $1,500 per person.4 The greatest expenditure was in nonpsychiatric medical treatment, at 54 percent of total cost. In one example, patients with an anxiety disorder and established cardiac disease were twice as likey to have a heart attack when compared to cardiac patients who did not have an anxiety disorder.5
DCs can help patients by offering nutritional supplements to help keep the body healthy and reduce symptoms of anxiety. Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is an excellent example of such a supplement.
What is CoQ10?
CoQ10 is an antioxidant found naturally in the body. It helps convert food into energy, and is most often found in the heart, liver and kidneys, which have the greatest energy requirements.6 Dietary sources of CoQ10 can be found in animal heart and liver organs, fish, parsley, avocado, and soybean oil.6
However, the average daily intake of CoQ10 is only 3–6 milligrams per day, most of which comes from meat that has been cooked, thereby reducing its bioavailability by about 15 to 30 percent.6-8
What does the research say?
A 2013 meta-analysis published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition pooled the results from 13 randomized, controlled trials examining the effects of CoQ10 upon heart failure. Pooling results allows researchers to see commonalities across much smaller studies. In this case, CoQ10 appeared to improve the percentage of blood the heart pumps out with each heartbeat.9
A 2012 study examined the effect of CoQ10 upon oxidative stress on a group of over 40 patients with coronary artery disease.10 Patients received either placebo, 60 mg/day, or 150 mg/day of CoQ10 for 12 weeks. At the end of the study, patients taking CoQ10 showed significantly less oxidative stress compared to placebo.
There is some promising preliminary research, particularly in the area of Alzheimer’s disease, which may include symptoms of anxiety. Two studies using mice specifically bred to develop Alzheimer’s disease found that CoQ10 administration reduced some of the behavioral traits associated with the disease, including fearfulness about exploring new environments. These mice also had an increased survival rate.11,12 While these studies are far from definitive, they also show promise for reducing anxiety by treating symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.
The evidence shows that CoQ10 has the potential to reduce the effects of heart disease and symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, thereby reducing anxiety in both cases. Savvy DCs who understand this secondary connection can help patients reduce their risks for heart disease, symptoms of Alzheimer’s, and anxiety.
1 Asian Scientist.“Depression, anxiety ‘a global problem,’ not just A Western one.” Published August 2012. Accessed October 2015.
2 Anxiety and Depression Society of America.“Facts & statistics.” Published April 2014. Accessed October 2015.
3 National Institute of Mental Health. Any anxiety disorder among adults. Published December 2010. Accessed October 2015.
4 Greenberg PE, Sisitsky T, Kessler RC, et al. The economic burden of anxiety disorders in the 1990s. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry 1999 Jul;60(7):427-435.
5 Harvard Women’s Health Watch.Anxiety and physical illness. Published July 2008. Accessed October 2015.
6 Wikipedia. Coenzyme Q10. Updated October 2015. Accessed October 2015.
7 Pravsta I, Žmitekb K, Žmitekb J. Coenzyme Q10 contents in foods and fortification strategies. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition 2010;50(4):269-280.
8 Weber C, Bysted A, Hłlmer G. The coenzyme Q10 content of the average Danish diet. International Journal for Vitamin and Nutrition Research 1997;67(2):123-129.
9 Fotino AD, Thompson-Paul AM, Bazzano LA. Effect of coenzyme Q10 supplementation on heart failure: a meta-analysis. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2013;97(2):268-275.
10 Lee BJ, Huang YC, Chen SJ, Lin PT. Coenzyme Q10 supplementation reduces oxidative stress and increases antioxidant enzyme activity in patients with coronary artery disease. Nutrition 2012 Mar;28(3):250-255.
11 Sinatra DS, Sinatra ST, Heyser CJ. The effects of coenzyme Q10 on locomotor and behavioral activity in young and aged C57BL/6 mice. Biofactors 2003;18(1-4):283-287.
12 Elipenahli C, Stack C, Jainuddin S, et al. Behavioral improvement after chronic administration of coenzyme Q10 in P301S transgenic mice. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease 2012;28(1):173-182.