NCCAM Report: 2007 Statistics on CAM [CoQ10] Use in the US

In 2007, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) completed a National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), an in-person survey of Americans regarding their health- and illness-related experiences.

In December 2008, the US National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) and the National Center for Health Statistics (part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) released the National Health Statistics Reports Number 12 December 10, 2008 titled “Complementary and Alternative Medicine Use Among Adults and Children: United States, 2007”

The report explains “complementary interventions are used together with conventional treatments, whereas alternative interventions are used instead of conventional medicine.” (p1)

Some interesting findings from the report:

almost 4 out of 10 adults had used Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) therapy in the 12 months prior to the interview (p4); the CAM therapy most commonly used by U.S. adults in the previous 12 months were nonvitamin, nonmineral, natural products (17.7%)(p3); persons who choose CAM approaches: are seeking ways to improve their health and well-being; to relieve symptoms associated with chronic, even terminal, illnesses or the side effects of conventional treatments for them; have a holistic health philosophy; have had a transformational experience that changes their world view or want greater control over their own health (p1); the overwhelming majority of patients using CAM approaches do so to complement conventional care rather than as an alternative to conventional care (p1); many types of CAM practitioners try to treat not only the physical and biochemical manifestations of illness, but also the nutritional, emotional, social, and spiritual context in which the illness arises (p1); CAM use was more prevalent among women, among adults who had higher educational attainment or who engaged in leisure-time physical activity, as well as among adults who had one or more existing health conditions or who made frequent medical visits in the prior year (p2); more people are using naturopathy than they were in 2002 (p4).

Another interesting finding is that Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) has made it into the top 10 of the Most Common Natural Products Used Among Adults for 2007. Q10, also known as ubiquinone, is one of a family of naturally occurring fat-soluble substances known as quinones, which are essential for energy production in oxygen breathing species. It is normally produced by our bodies. Low levels of CoQ10 have been reported in patients with Parkinson’s disease, congestive heart failure, and those taking statin drugs to reduce cholesterol.

Cari Nierenberg, writing on the release of these findings for the ABC News Medical Unit (Dec. 16, 2008), quotes Dr. Mimi Guarneri, Medical Director for the Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine in La Jolla, California, talking about CoQ10.

‘[Dr Guarneri:] “it’s a necessary agent in protecting against statin-induced myopathy, a type of muscle ache and weakness that can be a side effect of taking the drug in some people.” She [Dr Guarneri] also thinks 1,200 milligrams of CoQ10 a day can be beneficial in people who have symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, and it could be helpful for people who have muscle weakness.

Dr Guarneri pointed out “There’s strong research that CoQ10 is an independent predictor of mortality in chronic heart failure.” ‘ CoQ10 works on the mitochondria in cells, where energy is produced. There’s good evidence that if levels are deficient, supplementation can be effective.’

‘”It’s an excellent cofactor for supporting the energy of the cell,” advised Guarneri, who recommends it to all of her patients on statin drug therapy and those who have congestive heart failure.’

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