October 17, 2002

By Nicholas Regush

I learned many moons back in graduate school that new medical information takes a long time to get moving and grooving. Back then, medical sociologists politely referred to this lag time as the “process of disseminating information.” They spoke of opinion leaders (the know-it-alls) and the intermediaries (the lesser know-it-alls) and so on. How very civil and quaint. Even in those days, this rather kind and gentle approach to the Medical Establishment gave me gas. The very same process can be called “the protection of vested interests.” Or, it might even be called the “power of corruption.”

One thing is certain: many doctors and scientists are blind to new ideas because: a) they have their pet theories and learn to protect them at any cost; b) new ideas are not where the research grant money is going (because it’s going to the “network” folks who basically wink and deal with their own kind; and c) they are too ignorant to know any better.

The case of Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10)is a terrific example of how modern medicine prevents progress. This is a nutrient that is made by the body – your body and mine. It is a vital nutrient because it helps cells to produce energy. As we age we lose much of our supply of CoQ10 – especially in the heart. Does replenishing it make any sense?

So big deal if patients with congestive heart failure, who are given CoQ10, show signs of improvement. And double big deal if research also shows that CoQ10 helps the heart muscle to pump more efficiently and to better tolerate stress (also, by the way, leading to better recovery after heart surgery). And who gives a hoot if other research shows CoQ10 may be of value in the treatment of High Blood Pressure, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, Alzheimers’s, Cancer, Fibromyalgia Arthritis and other illnesses? Certainly not the Medical Establishment.

Most cardiologists and neurologists remain blind to the potential restorative power of CoQ10.

Let’s leave aside the notion that ignorance is a factor in this blindness. Let’s focus our attention on turf protection and big bucks. Those involved in CoQ10 research are acutely aware that the widespread use of “statins” or cholesterol pills (the ones shamelessly advertised ad nauseum on TV and in medical journals) are causing CoQ10 depletion in patients, particularly those with heart failure. In fact, cardiologist Peter Langsjoen, who has conducted pioneering research on CoQ10, has voiced his concern that this cholesterol obsession has led to an epidemic in congestive heart failure. Well, hey, follow the money, to the drug companies that are making a killing on cholesterol pills, along with their cardiology lackeys.

I?ve changed my mind; let’s also bring up “ignorance” after all. There are more than one dozen clinical trials published that reveal that statins are depleting people of their CoQ10. Can’t cardiologists read? Answer: Not when they are blinded by money.

I guess we?re in for more slow moves in the future. The combination of money and ignorance is too much to overcome quickly.