There is currently no specific treatment or cure for mitochondrial disease (“mito”).
The prevailing medical view is to treat the symptoms and systems involved for each person on an individual basis. There are certain supplements – including CoQ10 and carnitine – that mitochondrial/metabolic specialists encourage their patients to take on a daily basis. Some of the other supplements that are sometimes prescribed include:
- Coenzyme Q10
- B complex vitamins: thiamine (B 1), riboflavin (B 2), niacin (B 3), B 6, folate, B 12, biotin, pantothenic acid
- Vitamin E, lipoic acid, selenium, and other antioxidants
- L-carnitine (Carnitor ®)
- During illness many suggest adding additional vitamin C and biotin.
(**Specific treatments should always be guided by a metabolic specialist. **)
While not a cure, treatment can help reduce symptoms, or delay or prevent the progression of the disease and many people have seen benefits from consistent ingestion of these supplements, even just in the amount of energy they have to perform tasks of daily living.
In general, treatments for mito are intended to augment energy production as well as reduce the production of free radicals and other toxic metabolites that further limit the generation of cellular energy. On a positive note, sometimes the supplements and symptom treatment stabilizes the disease and helps prevent rapid progression. On the other hand, many patients with mitochondrial disease (especially those severely affected from a young age) have continued progression of the disease despite all interventions.