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Coq10 for reversing kidney disease - Does It Work?

Coq10 for reversing kidney disease - Background on Kidney Function

The function of the kidneys is to:

  • to filter blood
  • to excrete metabolic wastes
  • to reabsorb those substances that are needed by the body to maintain the normal structure of body fluids. Electrolytes like sodium and potassium ions are an example. These substances are reabsorbed to a varying degree as determined by the body to maintain balance in the blood. In this way the kidneys regulate the volume and composition of body fluids (Porth).

Coq10 for reversing kidney disease - Information on Chronic Renal Failure

Chronic renal failure can come about as a result of various illnesses and conditions that damage kidney cells permanently. These include:

  • hypertension that is unable to be controlled
  • urinary tract infections and obstructions
  • hereditary kidney problems
  • diseases affecting the whole body like diabetes mellitus (Porth)

The ability of the kidneys to function usually decreases over time, and because the remaining healthy kidney tissue compensates in activity for the destroyed kidney cells, symptoms associated with renal failure often don't appear until the disease is quite progressed.

Symptoms associated with chronic renal failure include metabolic acidosis, sodium retention, anemia, edema, a tendency to bleed, pulmonary edema, congestive heart failure, nausea, vomiting, eating less, gastrointestinal bleeding, headaches, memory loss, lethargy, muscle twitching, seizures, delirium, paralysis, muscle weakness, osteoporosis, bone pain, fractures, dry skin and mucous membranes, a pale and sallow complexion, smell of urine on skin and breath, impotence, and amenorrhea (Porth).

Chronic renal failure is managed with diet as well as dialysis or when possible, donor transplant. Protein is generally restricted as the nitrogenous wastes of protein metabolism could be too toxic otherwise. High quality proteins are recommended, and these are proteins that contain a high amount of essential amino acids, like whole eggs. This reduces the metabolic waste products of protein digestion.

Its important for those with chronic renal failure to get the amount of calories their bodies need for energy and survival, without taking in too much excess carbohydrates and fats. Other recommendations are usually made based on what stage of renal failure a person has, and what treatments are being undertaken.

Coq10 for reversing kidney disease - The Studies

One study looked at 15 patients who were "uremic' - meaning they at the end stage of renal failure where at least two thirds of the kidney cells (nephrons) have been destroyed. And compared their coq10 levels with the control group of 10, as well as the coq10 levels of 48 patients on chronic hempdialysis, and found the coq10 levels were significantly lower in the group on hemodialysis and the uremic patients compared to the control group. This study did not involve any supplementation, merely looked at the body's coq10 levels.

One study which did measure the effect of supplementation with coq10 in patients with chronic renal failure found that those in this study who were receiving the coq10 and were on dialysis, had improved kidney function. At the end of the study, the number of people needing dialysis that had been using coq10 was reduced - from 21 to 12, which is a huge improvement. Especially considering there was no reduction in the number needing dialysis in the group who received the placebo. So with regards coq10 for reversing kidney disease, the question is still out, after all we don't know from this one study what mechanisms of action the coq10 helped. Kidney disease is a result of the death of kidney cells, and there was no mention of coq10 regenerating those cells. But it is certainly very promising in managing and improving the health of those with kidney disease.

References: C Porth, Pathophysiology: Concepts of Altered Health States 4th Ed. (J.BLippincott Company, 1994)

 

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