Coenzyme Q10 strengthens the heart, research reveals
(Naturalhealth365) As American baby boomers begin to age into their “golden years,” many are being greeted by a health forecast that is not so bright – especially if they rely on the guidance of Western medicine. If only more people knew about the health protective benefits of coenzyme Q10 plus other valuable nutrients.
For example, heart failure – which currently affects over 5 million adults in the United States – has reached devastating proportions, and the condition carries with it a greatly increased risk of stroke, blood clots and arrhythmias. (In fact, the American Heart Association reports that one half of all heart failure patients die within five years of diagnosis).
Now, for the good news: A vitamin-like nutrient known as coenzyme Q10 is impressing researchers with its ability to work with prescription drugs in order to improve cardiac function. Recent research shows that CoQ10 benefits heart failure patients by strengthening the heart and enhancing its ability to pump blood.
Coenzyme Q10 is essential for proper heart function
Simply put, heart failure occurs when the heart can’t pump enough blood to supply nutrients and oxygen to the rest of the body, causing symptoms of shortness of breath and fatigue (which can occur upon very mild exertion, such as making a bed or washing dishes). Fluid may also accumulate in the lower limbs and abdomen.
Heart failure is an age-related condition, but coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, sleep apnea, obesity, atrial fibrillation and prior heart attacks are all additional risk factors.
CoQ10, a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory found in every cell in the body, is essential for the function of mitochondria – tiny structures in the cells that are responsible for energy production. Among other benefits, CoQ10 combats free radicals and oxidative damage, promotes healing, speeds recovery from strenuous exercise and boosts energy.
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While CoQ10 is abundant in the young, levels decline with normal aging – and can also be decreased by the use of statin drugs. Unfortunately, people with heart failure generally have lower levels of this indispensable nutrient.
Researchers reveal: CoQ10 for heart failure patients reduces risk of heart attack, stroke and death by half
In a two-year placebo-controlled trial published in JACC Heart Failure, researchers studied the effect of CoQ10 on participants with moderate to severe heart failure. One group of patients received standard drug therapy, while the other received 300 mg of CoQ10 daily – in addition to the conventional therapy.
The results were dramatic.
Researchers found that the CoQ10 group experienced a 50 percent reduction in their risk of adverse events such as heart attack, stroke and death. They also had a significantly lower incidence of hospital stays for heart failure, along with markedly improved scores on a scale measuring heart failure severity.
The fact that a natural, non-toxic nutrient caused such robust results is nothing short of remarkable, and raises hopes that CoQ10 – in conjunction with standard treatment – is truly a game-changer.
Are there other studies confirming CoQ10’s extraordinary benefits?
Yes. Additional research has supported CoQ10’s ability to strengthen and support the heart.
In one study, 300 mg a day of CoQ10 for four weeks improved the contractility – or squeezing power – of the heart in patients with mild to moderate heart failure. In fact, researchers found that CoQ10 caused a significant 15 percent increase in the amount of blood pumped out of the heart with every beat.
Additional research showed that – in addition to improving contractility – CoQ10 improved arterial function.
It also appears to reduce the risk of heart arrhythmias, with one study showing that heart failure patients who received CoQ10 experienced only a third as many episodes of atrial fibrillation as a control group.
Yet another study showed that a combination of Coq10 and selenium, an antioxidant mineral, reduced mortality risk in patients with heart disease.
CoQ10 protects the heart in many pleasant ways
Increasingly, forward-thinking integrative physicians are advising CoQ10 supplementation as a strategy for protecting the heart. In addition to its other cardiovascular benefits, CoQ10 improves endothelial function, increases pumping chamber function and gently lowers blood pressure – without causing sudden, dangerous drops
It also reduces the damage caused by ischemia-reperfusion injury (destruction from the sudden return of oxygen-rich blood to heart tissues after a heart attack). Plus, there is also evidence that CoQ10 can help lower high cholesterol levels and help to prevent coronary artery disease.
If you have endothelial dysfunction, high blood pressure, a history of prior heart attack – or any other risk factors for heart failure – supplementation with CoQ10 may be a wise choice. Naturally, we suggest that you talk to an experienced (integrative) healthcare provider to determine if CoQ10 is right for you.
The ubiquinol form of CoQ10 offers clear advantages
CoQ10 is available in both ubiquinone and ubiquinol form. However, ubiquinol – the “reduced” form of CoQ10 – is more easily absorbed. In addition, the fact that it carries an extra electron means that it is more effective at neutralizing dangerous free radicals.
In one study, patients given the ubiquinone form failed to achieve sufficient CoQ10 blood levels. But, when switched to ubiquinol, their CoQ10 plasma blood levels dramatically increased – along with improved pumping capacity and clinical status.
While 100 mg a day of CoQ10 is usually sufficient to boost tissue concentration in healthy individuals, natural health experts tend to advise a higher dosage for heart failure patients.
The research on CoQ10 is in – and it highlights the potential of this non-toxic, natural nutrient to prevent the progression of heart failure and improve the quality of our life.
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Sources for this article include:
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