DEAR DR. DONOHUE: I have read different articles on the benefits of coenzyme Q10. Do you have an opinion on it? One article said that statin drugs deplete it from your body. Does the body really have it? I never heard of this before. My doctor tells me it is a waste of money, but I take it anyway.
Do you see any benefit from omega—3 fatty acids for a heart patient? — B.F.
ANSWER:
Coenzyme Q10 is found in all body cells. It’s in the cells’ mitochondria, their energy factories. It participates in the production of cell energy, and it also acts as an antioxidant. Oxidants are byproducts of cellular chemistry; they act like rust for the cell. Antioxidants prevent cellular rusting. So Q10 has a position of respect. It has been touted as an antidote for heart failure, for breast cancer and for Parkinson’s disease. Favorable reports have been written about it for Parkinson’s disease. Less proof exists for heart disease and cancer. It doesn’t appear to have bad side effects. Time will establish its place in medicine. Some theorize that statin drugs might lower Q10 levels. I take a statin drug, but I don’t take Q10.
Omega—3 fatty acids go by the daunting names EPA, eicosapentenoic acid, and DHA, decosahexenoic acid. Fish are a rich source of omega—3s, especially bluefish, halibut, herring, salmon, sardines, trout and mackerel. The American Heart Association and the World Health Organization endorse two fish meals a week as a heart—healthy way of eating. Pregnant women and women who are contemplating pregnancy should stay away from shark, swordfish, tilefish or king mackerel (not the same as plain mackerel) because they have some mercury in them.
Omega—3 fatty acids prevent abnormal heartbeats, lessen the risk of clots, heart attacks and strokes, decrease body inflammation, lower blood pressure and decrease the blood level of triglycerides. I don’t like fish, but I do take omega—3 fatty acids in capsule form.
DEAR DR. DONOHUE: I am a 56—year—old female and have cloudy urine. It started five years ago. I have had my urine tested twice, but both times the urine was clear. My doctor told me there was nothing wrong with it.
I have herpes. I thought the frequency of outbreaks would lessen after menopause, but it has not for me. I choose not to take medicine to avoid side effects.
What is your advice? — S.M.
ANSWER:
Cloudy urine isn’t always a sign of trouble. Phosphates — mineral crystals found in many foods — cloud the urine. Put this issue to rest by having your doctor give you a slip for a urinalysis. Keep it on hand until a day when your urine is cloudy. Then go immediately to the lab for a test.
Herpes outbreaks usually become less frequent with the passage of time. Menopause, however, doesn’t have a pronounced effect on them. If you have outbreak after outbreak, you might want to reconsider the use of medicine, not for a cure but for suppression of frequent attacks. The medicine makes you more comfortable and lessens the risk of transmission. Are you positive that you have herpes? Newer tests are quick and reliable. You could possibly benefit from having an outbreak checked.
The herpes booklet details this disease and genital warts. To obtain a copy, write: Dr. Donohue — No. 1202, Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853—6475. Enclose a check or money order (no cash) for $4.75 U.S./$6 Can. with the recipient’s printed name and address. Please allow four weeks for delivery.
DEAR DR. DONOHUE: I would like to know if some tests are becoming trendy. All I hear these days is colonoscopies galore. Why the mad rush for an expensive test such as this when a person is not displaying any symptoms? — M.S.
ANSWER:
Trends exist in medicine as they do in all aspects of life. However, you picked a bad example to make your point. Colon cancer has no signs and symptoms in its early stages, when it is curable. The best way to detect early colon cancer is through inspection of the colon with a colonoscope. Exams should begin at age 50. If the exam shows no signs of cancer, it doesn’t have to be repeated until 10 years have passed — not exactly a mad rush.
Dr. Donohue regrets that he is unable to answer individual letters, but he will incorporate them in his column whenever possible. Readers may write him or request an order form of available health newsletters at P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853—6475. Readers may also order health newsletters from www.rbmamall.com.


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