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Could Coenzyme Q10 boost breast cancer risk?

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A new study published online July 28 in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention showed that women with highest concentrations of plasma coenzyme Q10 were more than twice as likely as those who had lowest amounts to be diagnosed with breast cancer.

Coenzyme Q10 or coQ10 is a component of the mitochondrial electron transport chain and acts as an important cellular antioxidant.  Decreased levels of coQ10 have been found in women with breast cancer, according to the background information in the study report.

The current case-control study led by Weiwen Chai at University of Hawaii in Honolulu and colleagues was meant to examine the association between plasma CoQ10 levels and postmenopausal breast cancer risk.

Chai et al. compared 160 postmenopausal women with breast cancer and 289 controls who were matched on age, sex, ethnicity, study location, hormone replacement therapy use, date, and time of specimen collection, and hours of fasting.

The researchers found serum CoQ10 levels were positively associated with breast cancer risk. When women diagnosed within one year of blood draw were excluded, those with the highest levels were 126 percent more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer.

They concluded that "Higher CoQ10 levels in postmenopausal women may be associated with increased breast cancer risk."

It should be noted that having higher levels of plasma CoQ10 may not necessarily the cause of the higher risk of breast cancer.  It is possible that women diagnosed with breast cancer may take some vitamin supplements, which would boost the serum level of this nutrient.

In any case, this study does not have the final say about the safety of CoQ10.  According to the Linus Pauling Institute, up to 1200 mg per day of coenzyme Q10 is considered safe.

CoQ10 has been found to benefit a range of health conditions including Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, vascular endothelial function, angina pectoris, myocardial infarction and cardiac surgery, and congestive heart failure.

Breast cancer is expected to be diagnosed in one in eight women in the United States in their lifetime.  The disease will be diagnosed in more than 175,000 women in 2010 and kill about 50,000, according to the National Cancer Institute.

More reports will be published here on foodconsumer.org in the national Breast Cancer Institute  to help readers better understand breast cancer and how to prevent the disease.


Jimmy Downs

(Send your news to [email protected], Foodconsumer.org is part of the Infoplus.com ™ news and information network)

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