(NaturalHealth365) Complaints of fatigue, swelling of hands and feet, and difficulties breathing are too-common laments from older adults. Unfortunately, these are signs of congestive heart failure.
But, scientific studies are revealing that the mitochondrial energizer coenzyme Q10 – or CoQ10 for short – can relieve many of the symptoms and physical challenges attributed to congestive heart failure.
Does your doctor know how to naturally improve heart health?
Your heart uses more energy than any other tissue in your body, and it also typically has the highest concentration of CoQ10 to keep it operating most efficiently. As a coenzyme, CoQ10 is a simple molecule that is critical for normal, healthy function of specific enzyme systems operating in your body’s cells.
Discovered in 1957, scientists have continued to learn more about the important role this coenzyme plays in promoting health and safeguarding against disease, as well as the role it plays in optimal heart function and avoiding heart attacks.
In the case of Coenzyme Q10, this simple molecule acts as an important cofactor for three large enzyme systems that are responsible for 90 percent of cellular energy production. With the heart muscle requiring so much energy, it is easy to see the critical role this coenzyme plays in cardiac health. The heart, therefore, is extremely sensitive to CoQ10 deficiency.
Great news for heart patients: Science proves that CoQ10 saves lives
A scientific study, initiated in 2003, involved only the most severe cases of heart failure – classified by the New York Heart Association as class III or IV. Even though they continued to take prescription medication, the patients were split into two groups; one received 100 mg of CoQ10 and the other got a placebo – 3 times per day. The patients were followed for 2 years.
After only 3 months of CoQ10 supplementation, the researchers noticed a trend toward lower levels of proBNP – a marker of heart failure severity that is released from over-worked heart muscle tissue. In just two years, the CoQ10 supplement group improved their heart failure status much better than the placebo group.
And, here’s the most important finding of this study: Only 14% of the heart patients, in the supplemented group, had a major heart event (defined as unplanned hospitalization for worsening heart failure, death from a cardiovascular cause, urgent heart transplantation, or artificial mechanical heart support). Plus, 25% of those in the placebo group had a major cardiac event – which indicates that the untreated group of patients had twice the risk of a major cardiac event!
Note: This study was the first ever to show that CoQ10 supplementation in advanced heart failure improves survival, while slashing hospitalization rates.
A simple way to protect yourself from oxidative stress and disease
Coenzyme Q10 is known to be an important antioxidant in the body’s defense against oxidative stress. It is also the only fat-soluble molecule that can be synthesized by the body and regenerated in its reduced, or antioxidant, form during normal cellular enzyme processes. It is found in the lipid mitochondrial membranes – a site known for significant free radical production.
The heart acts like a pump, moving blood throughout the body. CoQ10 works to lessen problems associated with congestive heart failure by physically improving the heart’s pumping capability.
Those suffering from congestive heart failure typically exhibit lowered levels of CoQ10 – suggesting that supplementing with CoQ10 could be a critical strategy for safeguarding cardiac health. In addition, patients undergoing treatment with CoQ10 find they can dramatically reduce their reliance on synthetic medications, many of which may have negative side effects.
Of course, natural levels of CoQ10 are depleted during the aging process as well as from the use of statin medications – which are often prescribed to reduce cholesterol levels. A study of 126 heart failure patients over the course of six years not only underscored the important of optimal levels of CoQ10, but shed light on the impact of statins on reducing CoQ10 to dangerous levels.
Most heart patients are uneducated about the dangers of CoQ10 deficiency
Despite evidence linking these drugs to congestive heart failure, pharmaceuticals companies have not acted on their capabilities of partnering CoQ10 and statin medications in a single drug.
So what is the optimal level of supplement CoQ10? The answer lies, at least in part, on your health.
Most commercially available CoQ10 supplements today are available in the form of ubiquinone. Recommended daily dosages for this type of CoQ10 supplement can range from 100 to 600 mg. However, more advanced forms of CoQ10 are becoming increasingly available.
Some products contain ubiquinol, a reduced form of CoQ10. This form of the supplement is more easily absorbed into the bloodstream and the recommended dosage for ubiquinol ranges from 100 to 300 mg.
In the case of either form of CoQ10, patients already exhibiting advanced signs of congestive heart failure, as well as those on statin medications, should consume higher levels.
Bottom line: It’s important to maintain adequate levels of CoQ10. With lowered consumption of foods rich in CoQ10, such as organ meats, and the depletion of this coenzyme’s availability with age, supplementation beginning in middle age can be the best route to avoid the symptoms of heart failure later on.