Are nutrition health supplements like CoQ10 a missling link in combating septic shock?

Results of a recent study conducted by Harvard researchers and published in the journal Critical Care suggest that Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) may play a role in preventing septic shock, a life-threatening inflammatory condition resulting from the spread of infectious agents in the bloodstream. Sepsis and septic shock are a major cause of illness and mortality in the US, with over 215,000 deaths occurring each year.

CoQ10 is a vitamin-like substance found in many of the body’s cells, mainly in the mitochondria—the part of the cell that supplies energy. The authors of the study acknowledge that mitochondria dysfunction is associated with higher mortality in patients with septic shock, but wanted to see if depleted CoQ10 levels also plays a role in increasing mortality in such cases.

For the study, researchers used data from 14 patients with septic shock who participated in a placebo-controlled trial of statin drugs (cholesterol-reducing drugs). Blood samples drawn from the septic patients prior to treatment and from 16 healthy controls were analyzed for CoQ10, low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, and vascular endothelial and inflammatory markers.

Because statin drugs lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, the patients with septic shock had reduced LDL levels prior to treatment for the septic shock. Because LDL is the primary molecule responsible for transporting CoQ10, significant decreases in LDL could lead to a reduction in CoQ10 levels. The authors of the study also point out that deficiencies in B vitamins and other nutrients that occur in septic shock can limit the body's production of the coenzyme.

Michael W. Donnino and coauthors write. "Our finding that CoQ10 is low in sepsis opens the possibility for potential therapeutic intervention as CoQ10 can be administered exogenously.”

While more research is needed in this area, this study suggests that the role of CoQ10 in preventing septic shock is worthy of further investigation. "To our knowledge, this is the first report on the levels of CoQ10 in human subjects with septic shock," the researchers say. "Larger prospective observational trials measuring CoQ10 in this patient population are required."


Do you know anyone who has suffered from septic shock or Sepsis?