Dry mouth (xerostomia) is a condition in which saliva secretion is reduced, resulting not only in a dry mouth sensation, thirst and difficulty with eating, but also disturbed taste, periodontal disease, cavities and oral pain. Obviously, having chronic dry mouth significantly decreases a person’s quality of life.
Recent studies have identified oxidative stress as a cause of dry mouth and Sjögren’s syndrome, a condition associated with significant dry mouth. Basically, oxidative damage leads to the inability of salivary cells to produce enough chemical energy (ATP) to secrete sufficient amounts of saliva.
Why CoQ10 Therapy Makes Sense for Dry Mouth
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) has antioxidant effects, but its main action in relieving dry mouth may be by increasing ATP production and, thus, saliva. Low levels of CoQ10 have been linked to a wide range of medical conditions primarily associated with the aging process or oxidative damage. Supplemental CoQ10 may be needed if you have any of the following conditions:
- Impaired CoQ10 synthesis due to nutritional deficiencies
- A genetic or acquired defect in CoQ10 biosynthesis or utilization
- Increased tissue needs resulting from a particular illness
- Use of drugs like cholesterol-lowering statins that decrease CoQ10 levels
In a new study, 66 patients, including 31 with dry mouth, were given either 100 mg a day of ubiquinone or ubiquinol (forms of CoQ10) or a placebo for one month. Salivary secretion and salivary CoQ10 content were analyzed before and after treatment. Both ubiquinone and ubiquinol significantly increased salivary secretion and salivary CoQ10 concentration in dry mouth patients compared to the placebo patients.
The average increase in salivary secretion was 71.9 percent among the patients treated with ubiquinone and 81.8 percent among those treated with ubiquinol. These findings suggest that CoQ10 increases ATP production, resulting in an increase in salivary secretion. One interesting finding was that in normal subjects without dry mouth, salivary secretion increased at a statistically significant level after taking ubiquinone, but did not differ significantly after treatment with ubiquinol. The bottom line is that either form of CoQ10 exhibited a marked increase in salivary CoQ10 concentration (ubiquinol greater than ubiquinone in dry mouth, ubiquinone greater than ubiquinol in normal subjects).
Ryo K, Ito A, Takatori R, Tai Y, et al. Effects of coenzyme Q10 on salivary secretion. Clin Biochem. 2011 Mar 22. [Epub ahead of print]