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You are what you eat -- and that goes for baboons too

A study of baboons published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that vitamin E’s anti-inflammatory effects may be increased when a CoQ10 supplement is added.

Researchers at the Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research in Texas used 21 baboons to test levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) – a reliable marker for heart disease risk associated with inflammation. After feeding the baboons a diet designed to increase their CRP (more on that in a moment), researchers found that vitamin E alone reduced CRP by more than 50 percent, but when CoQ10 was added, CRP was reduced by an additional 20 percent.

What makes this result even more remarkable is the fact that the baboons didn’t even have elevated levels of CRP. But it wasn’t for lack of trying.

As many mainstream doctors will tell you, heart disease risk will rise when a diet contains lots of fats and cholesterol. Or that’s the mainstream mantra anyway. So the Texas researchers fed their baboons a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet for three months, followed by a seven-week diet of high-fat and high-cholesterol. This was designed to crank up the CRP level in preparation for the CoQ10/vitamin E test.

But a funny thing happened. According to the study: “The serum C-reactive protein concentrations did not change.”

Huh! Imagine that!

I suppose the researchers were a little perplexed and probably disappointed that the CRP wasn’t elevated. But they went ahead with their study anyway.

Here’s my suggestion for the Texas team: Next time, feed your baboons fruits, vegetables, fish and whole grains for three months, and then switch to a seven-week diet that’s heavy on poor nutrition and simple, refined carbohydrates – processed baked goods, chips, soda pop, fast-food hamburgers, French fries, white bread, etc. – and then hang on to your hats while the CRP levels zoom upward!

Of course, the baboons might be too intelligent to eat food like that.

“Cosupplementation with Vitamin E and Coenzyme Q10 Reduces Circulating Markers of Inflammation in Baboons” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 80, No. 3, September 2004,
“CoQ10 Boosts Vitamin E’s Anti-Inflammatory Action” NutraIngredients, 9/8/04,