About one-third of the 700,000 U.S. troops who fought in the first
The UC San Diego study, published in the latest issue of Neural Computation, tested whether the supplement coenzyme Q10 could offer some relief.
The randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, which took place at the University of California’s San Diego School of Medicine, involved 46 U.S. Gulf War veterans, all diagnosed with Gulf War illness. Over the course of three-and-a half months, the participants were administered 100 mg doses of CoQ10. The results showed that 80% of the CoQ10 group experienced improvement in physical function, with the degree of improvement correlating to increase of levels in CoQ10 levels in the blood. The researchers noted that Gulf War illness symptoms like headaches, fatigue with exertion, irritability, recall problems and muscle pain also improved.
Beatrice Golomb, MD, Ph.D and principal investigator on the study, believes that the relationship between CoQ10 and Gulf War illness may stem from mitochondria. As she explains it, Gulf War illness is unlike PTSD or traumatic brain injury in that “evidence instead links Gulf War illness to chemical exposures, such as pesticides or pills given to soldiers to protect them from possible nerve agents. These chemicals can damage mitochondria, which generate the energy our cells need to do their jobs.” CoQ10 is a fat-soluble antioxidant made by the body to support basic cell functions, including directly assisting mitochondrial energy production.