Thursday, January 10, 2013

New Research Supports The Heart Health Benefits of CoQ10

by Michael A. Smith, MD - reprinted from the Life Extension Blog:

It’s always nice to see traditional medical research catch up to what we’ve been saying for years: CoQ10 is good for the heart. Ubiquinol CoQ10 always has and always will be something we strongly recommend, especially for people fighting heart disease.

According to a recent clinical study conducted in Taiwan, CoQ10 boosts your heart’s natural antioxidant defenses. Again, this isn’t surprising to us, but it’s always nice to see fresh clinical evidence that supports a potentially lifesaving claim.

CoQ10 Reduces Oxidative Stress in Patients with Atherosclerosis

Following a placebo-controlled trial, researchers from Taiwan concluded that a daily CoQ10 dose of 150 mg is associated with a 29% drop in a dangerous marker of oxidative stress called malondialdehyde (MDA). MDA has been implicated in cardiovascular disease, specifically in the progression of atherosclerosis.

In the study, the researchers recruited 51 people with known coronary heart disease and randomized them into two groups: a group receiving either 60 mg or 150 mg/day of CoQ10 and a placebo group. The participants were followed for 12 weeks.

At eight weeks, MDA levels decreased significantly in this group when compared to the placebo group. After 12 weeks, the group receiving the higher dose increased CoQ10 blood levels by 189%. The researchers also observed increases in superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase, two powerful human antioxidants.

The authors from Chung Shan Medical University concluded, “We believe a higher dose of CoQ10 supplements (greater than 150 mg/day) might provide rapid and sustainable antioxidant [protection] in patients with coronary heart disease.”1

Is CoQ10 a Vitamin?

The answer is actually yes and no. Yes, it’s a vitamin if you consider its function. CoQ10 functions as an enzyme cofactor for energy-creating reactions inside your mitochondria, your cell’s “powerhouse.” It’s not an enzyme itself, but it assists enzymes in catalyzing the reactions that produce ATP — your cell energy currency. This role as an “assistant” is the functional definition of a vitamin.

However, CoQ10 is not classified as a vitamin because your own body makes it. A true vitamin, like vitamin C, only comes from your diet. A nutrient that you have to get from your diet is called “essential.” CoQ10 is NOT an essential nutrient; hence, technically speaking, it’s not a vitamin.

Regardless of how you want to classify it, CoQ10 certainly is a foundational supplement — and this latest study further confirms that. We’ve been promoting CoQ10 at higher doses for a longtime now, and it’s nice to have our position supported by solid clinical science.

How to Build a Healthy Heart Regimen

The three nutritional goals for a healthy heart should be this: to optimize energy production, support heart muscle strength, and protect arteries. So, let’s look at our suggestions for meeting these three goals.

1. Optimize Energy Production – this is where CoQ10 comes into play. As mentioned above, CoQ10 is an enzyme cofactor for cell energy production. We suggest supplementing with 200 mg/day of the more absorbable ubiquinol form. Additionally, you might consider adding shilajit extract to your CoQ10 supplement, as this amazing adaptogen helps to deliver more CoQ10 to the mitochondria.

2. Support Heart Muscle Strength – to accomplish this goal we suggest nutrients like L-carnitine, magnesium and D-ribose.

3. Protect Your Arteries – specifically we want to protect the inside lining of arteries called the endothelium. Our favorite suggestions for this goal include pomegranate, resveratrol, and SOD.

Have you battled against (and overcome) heart disease with nutrients? Please share your story in the comments below!

  1. Nutrition. “Coenzyme Q10 supplementation reduces oxidative stress and increase antioxidant enzyme activity in patients with coronary artery disease.” Authors B-J. Lee, Y-C Huang, S-J Chem, P-T. Lin. Doi: 10.1016/j.nut.2011.06.004