Can CoQ10 Treat Gulf War Syndrome?

Maylin Rodriguez Paez RN

A strange illness plagues many Gulf War veterans. Their symptoms consist of insomnia, dizziness, exercise intolerance, rashes, diarrhea, and memory problems. These symptoms are collectively known as Gulf War Syndrome or Gulf War Illness.

Approximately 30% of the 700,000 soldiers deployed to the Persian Gulf during the Gulf War are estimated to have this condition, leaving many disabled.

A new study offers hope. CoQ10, an antioxidant often taken for heart problems, has been shown to improve symptoms of Gulf War Syndrome. The results were published in the November issue of Neural Computation.

CoQ10 Improved Symptoms in 82% of Veterans

A total of 46 Gulf war veterans were recruited for the study. All were diagnosed with Gulf War Syndrome and were randomized to receive 100 mg of CoQ10, 300 mg of CoQ10, or a placebo. The study was conducted over a period of three and a half months.

About 82% of the veterans taking CoQ10 showed improvement in measures of physical function. Symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, and memory problems also improved.1

The veterans who most benefited had higher levels of CoQ10 in their blood.

Is Mitochondrial Dysfunction Behind Gulf War Syndrome?

The exact cause of Gull War Syndrome is unknown. The use of vaccines or exposure to burning oil wells, uranium, pesticides, and even nerve gas have been cited as potential causes.

Some evidence points to pyridostigmine bromide, a chemical given to over 250,000 soldiers during the Gulf War. The purpose of the chemical was to protect soldiers against the deadly effects of nerve gas, but interestingly enough it produces mitochondrial damage.2, 3

Many of the symptoms experienced by the soldiers afflicted with Gulf War Syndrome are similar to the symptoms of mitochondrial dysfunction (fatigue, exercise intolerance, and cognitive problems).

A small study published in March 2014 demonstrated that soldiers who fought in the Gulf War showed evidence of mitochondrial dysfunction in comparison to controls.2

If mitochondrial dysfunction is at the root of Gulf War Syndrome it’s not surprising to see improvements with CoQ10. CoQ10 enhances mitochondrial function, assisting in the body’s energy production process, and it shields the mitochondria from free radical damage.

Further studies should be conducted with other mitochondrial supporting agents.


  1. Neural Comput. 2014 Nov;26(11):2594-651. 
  2. PLoS One. 2014 Mar 27;9(3):e92887. 
  3. Fundam Appl Toxicol. 1985 Dec;5(6 Pt 2):S260-9.

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The Vegetarian Omega-3 Solution

Maylin Rodriguez Paez RN

Vegetarians are onto something. Not only do they have lower rates of heart disease and cancer, but they also tend to be slimmer than their meat-eating counterparts.1

However, there's something very important that may be missing from their diets; the essential fatty acid commonly known as omega-3. In particular, the omega-3 called DHA that's found in fish oil.

Below we’ll explore a convenient, meat-free solution for vegetarians looking to get enough DHA.

Sorting Out the Omega-3 Fats

Omega-3s are found in different foods. You’re probably most familiar with the omega-3s found in fish oil, EPA and DHA. Also, the plant-based omega-3, ALA has risen in popularity.

It’s important to note that there is much less information available regarding the health benefits of plant-based omega-3s. That isn’t to say they aren’t beneficial, but we know far more about the benefits of fish-based EPA and DHA. As such, it’s usually preferable to consume animal sources of omega-3 fatty acids.

This presents a challenge for vegetarians. Fortunately, DHA is available from a non-animal source: algae.

Fish actually derive their omega-3s from algae. The difference is that DHA is more concentrated in fish oil versus algae sources. Knowing this information, vegetarians don’t have to run the risk of living with a DHA deficiency.

DHA Deficiencies Increase the Risk of Health Problems

Vegetarians run the risk of being DHA-deficient. Relying on dairy and eggs alone is insufficient, because they can only supply a small daily amount equal to approximately 20 mg.2

This can put them at risk for different health problems, including depression and Alzheimer’s disease.3,4

In contrast, DHA benefits diseases such as hypertension, arthritis, atherosclerosis, and even some cancers.5

While it is true that your body can convert ALA (plant-based omega-3) into DHA, the conversion rate is not efficient. According to one study involving men, between 0% and 4% of dietary ALA converts to DHA.6

The conversion is slightly better for women, at 9%.7

Take Vegetarian DHA for Omega-3s

An easy solution would be to take algae derived DHA. Just as little as 200 mg per day has been shown to boost blood levels significantly.8

The DHA in algae sources is just as good for you as the DHA found in fish oil. Your body actually can’t tell the difference.

Recent technology has made algae derived DHA more accessible. On top of that, it’s an environmentally friendly alternative to fish oil. Everyone wins!


  1. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009 May;89(5):1607S-1612S. 
  2. Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids.2009 Aug-Sep;81(2-3):137-41. 
  3. J Nutr. Apr 2010; 140(4): 864–868. 
  4. Alzheimer’s: Drug News Perspect. 2009 May;22(4):205-13. 
  5. Pharmacol Res. 1999 Sep;40(3):211-25. 
  6. Br J Nutr. 2002 Oct;88(4):355-63. 
  7. Br J Nutr. 2002 Oct;88(4):411-20. 
  8. Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 2009 Aug-Sep;81(2-3):137-41.

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4 Health Symptoms to Never Ignore

Maylin Rodriguez Paez RN

Headache, abdominal pain, fever or brittle nails. How do we know when something is serious and when it’s not?

Throughout your life, the average person is plagued with many health symptoms that are often confusing. Some deserve attention while others do not.

Doctors are there to help, but it’s important that we act as our own health advocates too.

With that in mind, here are 4 health symptoms that should never be ignored.

Health  Symptom #1 - Chronic Insomnia

All of us have a bad night’s rest from time to time, but when the problem is ongoing, don’t ignore it.

Insomnia can have many causes. Psychiatric disorders, hormone imbalances, sleep apnea (a treatable condition), and even Alzheimer’s disease may be the root.

A lack of sleep has been linked to weight gain, diabetes, and even premature death. When you think about it, insomnia is a very serious issue. So what should you do?

Try natural sleep aids at first, a sleep study if nothing helps, and prescription drugs as a last resort.

Health  Symptom #2 - A Dry Throat

A dry throat likely stems from an infection or allergies. But if it’s chronic, that’s something worth investigating.

A chronically dry throat may indicate gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). The irritation experienced when stomach acid burns throat tissue may cause dryness and even pain.

It’s important to treat reflux disease. It can lead to a more serious condition called Barrett’s esophagitis, a precursor to cancer.

What can you do? Investigate your diet. Are you eating foods known to cause heartburn or eating too late at night? Over the counter remedies can help. If they don’t, see a doctor.

Health  Symptom #3 - Constant Thirst

It’s normal to be thirsty occasionally but to suffer unquenchable thirst after drinking water is not considered normal. This may be a symptom of diabetes.

Other symptoms of the disease include frequent urination, increased hunger, and blurry vision. If you are unsure, visit your doctor.

Fasting blood sugar and hemoglobin A1C blood tests can help rule out blood sugar issues.

Health  Symptom #4 - A Chronic Cough

A cough lasting longer than eight weeks isn’t just annoying, it could signal a problem. Asthma, allergies, and even reflux disease are potential causes.

Less common causes are COPD and lung cancer. Regardless, a chronic cough shouldn't be ignored and should be evaluated by your health care practitioner.

For relief, consider honey and even thyme. They can really help!

The Bottom Line

Any unusual symptoms should be investigated by your doctor. Your body gives off warning signals years before the development of disease. Please pay attention to them!

Are you and your body listening? We certainly hope so.

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How to Personalize Your Supplement Regimen

By Michael A. Smith, MD

One size definitely doesn’t fit all when it comes to your health. In fact, everyone’s health challenges are different. You may even be experiencing some of them right now.

Perhaps you have diabetes, for example, or your doctor may have warned you that your blood sugar indicates you are pre-diabetic.

Or there could be other health challenges—such as cancer or heart disease— that haven’t touched you yet, but have struck members of your family, signaling that you may face a greater risk.

So what should you do? Take any and all supplements thrown your way? Of course not. What about doing nothing and just hoping for the best? No, that’s hardly ideal either.

What you probably need is some expert guidance in choosing the right supplements. Here's how to get it for free, right now.

Start by Completing a Health Inventory

Taking a personal and family health inventory is the first step in personalizing a supplement regimen. It’s similar to a medical history that your doctor completes when you have an appointment for new symptoms – like back pain or sleeplessness or memory problems.

Using the table below as a guide, place a check mark next to each body part or system where you or a family member has a problem or diagnosis.

You don’t need to be specific. For example, let’s say your sister suffers from tremors of her hands, but her doctors don’t know what it is. That’s okay. You would place a check mark next to brain and nerves.

Symptom, Condition or Disease √ Those That Apply
Heart & Circulation Problems
Pre-cancers and Cancers of all Types
Diabetes & Metabolic Disorders
Brain & Nerve Disorders
Memory Problems
Blood Pressure & Blood Vessel Problems
Hormone Imbalances
Inflammatory Conditions or Diseases
Bone Problems
Respiratory Problems
Eye Problems
Joint Problems
Kidney & Urinary Tract Problems
Chronic Infections & Immune Problems
Chronic Fatigue & Low Energy
Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain

And just like that, you’re off to a good start toward personalizing your supplement regimen. Now, let’s get more specific and hone in on your specific needs.

Complete a Series of Medical Quizzes

In my new book, The Supplement Pyramid, I include 16 medical quizzes that will calculate your overall risk for disease and offer supplement suggestions targeting your disease risk.

The quizzes were developed from are real clinical assessments that your own doctor would ask you. You simply answer “Yes” or “No” to the questions and, when completed, a score is tallied.

The higher you score for a given quiz, the greater your risk for developing problems or diseases for that category. The 16 quizzes cover all of the common age-related issues we all face: Heart disease, cancer, memory and much more.

The categories you selected in your health inventory are the quizzes you should take first. That being said, I suggest taking all of the quizzes for the most comprehensive results.

Stop Guessing and Start Knowing!

Start building your personalized supplement regimen online right now at Your health inventory, quiz scores, and suggestions can even be stored online for future reference. It's 100% free and extremely useful. Give it a shot!

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Relax with Theanine

While hundreds of studies have revealed the multiple benefits of green tea, the positive effects attributable to theanine, one of its major components, are now gaining recognition.

Theanine is an amino acid that occurs almost exclusively in tea leaves (Camellia sinensis). 

While the caffeine contained in tea is a stimulant, theanine is known for its soothing, relaxing properties.

Theanine Increases Alpha Wave Activity

Theanine is able to exert its neurologic benefits by crossing the blood brain barrier—a membrane that prevents the entry of compounds that could potentially harm the brain.

Brain waves known as alpha waves, associated with a state of relaxation, have been shown to increase following the ingestion of theanine without causing drowsiness or impaired thinking.

Theanine Balances Your Brain Chemistry

Theanine's "feel good" effect has been attributed to its ability to modulate neurotransmitters.1 In particular, it increases levels of serotonin and dopamine which have antidepressant effects.

Another neurotransmitter upregulated in the brain by theanine is the inhibitory amino acid gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA).2 It is associated with sleep and relaxation.

Theanine's structural similarity to glutamic acid enables it to block the receptor used by glutamate to enter cells. Because glutamate (a form of glutamic acid) is an excitatory amino acid neurotransmitter, blocking its access reduces its stimulating effect.

Theanine Alleviates Test Anxiety

In Japan, where the preparation of green tea is an art, the ingestion of L-theanine was demonstrated to reduce "math anxiety" in comparison with a placebo.3

The researchers reported a reduction in heart rate, an effect likely caused by a decrease in sympathetic nerve activity. The sympathetic nervous system mediates the stress response in the human body.

Theanine Enhances Memory and Cognition

While simultaneously reducing learning-related anxiety,4 research shows theanine may help improve memory and cognition.5

Preliminary evidence suggests it could be worth investigating as a preventive agent and treatment for Alzheimer's disease.6

How to Get More Theanine

The exact amount of theanine in a cup of green tea varies. Of course, therapeutic doses can be readily achieved through supplementation.

Many health care practitioners suggest 200 mg taken twice daily for optimal health benefits. Look for products that contain L-theanine (and not D-theanine)! L-theanine is the biologically active form.


  1. Neurochem Res. 1998 May;23(5):667-73. 
  2. J Herb Pharmacother. 2006;6(2):21-30. 
  3. Biol Psychol. 2007 Jan;74(1):39-45. 
  4. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2013 Oct;111:128-35. 
  5. Nutr Neurosci. 2014 Feb 7. 6. Mol Neurobiol. 2014 Apr 8.

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