(NaturalHealth365) Evidence is accumulating that inflammation appears to be at the root of many chronic degenerative diseases, including cardiovascular disease – the number one killer, worldwide. Yet, basically ignored by conventional cardiology, we know that low levels of coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) can increase your risk of inflammation, heart attacks and a stroke.
So, why are we (as a society) ignoring this heart-healthy truth: Proper levels of CoQ10 can have lifesaving effects on people with heart disease.
Cleveland Clinic likes coenzyme Q10 for the heart
Experts, including physicians at the prestigious Cleveland Clinic, maintain that CoQ10 supplementation can cut risk of having a repeat heart attack, lower blood pressure and even help reduce the side effects of statin drugs used to lower cholesterol.
As the good news about CoQ10 spreads – and study after study confirms its beneficial effects – people are getting onboard. CoQ10 is currently one of the best-selling supplements in the world, with global sales expected to reach $849 million by the year 2020.
Now, just-published research has put another feather in CoQ10’s cap of therapeutic effects.
New study reveals the dangers of low CoQ10 levels
In a study published in Heart and Vessels, researchers measured the coQ10 levels of coronary care unit patients, who had been diagnosed with a variety of conditions including ischemic cardiomyopathy, acute coronary syndrome arrhythmia, venous thromboembolism, and aortic disease.
They found that patients with lower coQ10 levels had a greater risk of both inflammation and malnutrition – and were also more likely to die while hospitalized. In general, the lower the CoQ10 levels, the higher the levels of C-reactive protein, or CRP – a biological marker of inflammation associated with heart disease.
While most healthy adults have been found to have average CoQ10 levels of 0.71 mg/L, the CCU patients only averaged 0.54 mgs per liter.
In less than six weeks, a total of 14 patients in the study group died. With average levels of 0.43 mg/L, those who died had significantly lower CoQ10 levels than survivors in the coronary care unit – who averaged 0.55 mg/L.
Noting that CoQ10 improves cardiac function and endothelial function, the authors credited it with antioxidant and vasodilatory effects.
CoQ10 supplementation slashes risk of death from heart disease
In a five-year placebo-controlled Swedish study of 443 healthy adults between the ages of 70 and 88, a combination of 200 mcg of the mineral selenium and 200 mg of CoQ10 improved heart function and quality of life, while reducing number of days in the hospital.
But that wasn’t the most eye-opening result of the study, which was published in International Journal of Cardiology in 2013. Researchers reported that the CoQ10/selenium combination cut the risk of death from cardiovascular disease – in half.
While 12.6 percent of the placebo group died, the death rate in the supplement group was only 5.9 percent, a very significant – and lifesaving – result.
Bonus: the benefits of supplementation went well beyond the cessation of the study, persisting for a full ten years.
Imagine: a decade after the study, the risk of dying from stroke, heart attack or congestive heart failure remained 49 percent lower in the group that had received supplementation. Not a bad payoff to receive for a simple supplementation regimen undertaken ten years in the past!
CoQ10 reduces inflammation in yet another study
A double-blind study involving 60 participants, published last June in International Journal of Vitamin and Nutrition Research, showed a reduction in markers of inflammation in patients with mild hypertension who had received CoQ10 for twelve weeks.
Participants received either 100 mg a day of CoQ10, or placebo. At study’s end, the CoQ10 group had significantly lower levels of CRP, as well as lower levels of the inflammatory cytokine interleukin-6. They also had increased levels of adiponectin, a beneficial anti-inflammatory protein which tends to be lower in patients suffering from high blood pressure and heart disease.
While adiponectin rose in the CoQ10 group, the placebo group experienced no such benefit. In fact, their adiponectin levels actually declined over the length of the study.
How does CoQ10 work in the body?
Supplementation with CoQ10 helps mitochondrial energy-releasing processes to function more efficiently, boosting cellular energy levels. A powerful antioxidant, CoQ10 also reduces oxidative stress, thereby minimizing mitochondrial damage.
In addition, CoQ10 lowers levels of pro-inflammatory substances such as cytokines, and reduces high blood pressure – a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
Interestingly, CoQ10 seems to have the ability to decrease the muscle aches and weakness that can accompany use of statin drugs – troublesome symptoms that cause a significant amount of patients to stop statin treatment.
So important is CoQ10 to health that researchers have reported that people with low CoQ10 levels tend to suffer greater tissue damage to the heart during a heart attack – and more damage to the brain during a stroke.
How can I put CoQ10 to work for me?
Although CoQ10 is produced naturally in the body, levels begin to decline as early as age 20. In fact, by 80, your CoQ10 stores could be only half of what they were early in life – making supplementation a wise choice for aging adults.
Because CoQ10 levels mirror levels of healthy HDL cholesterol and adiponectin, a shortage in these areas is often a tipoff to low CoQ10. If you suspect you are low in CoQ10, a simple blood test can confirm this.
Sardines and other fatty cold-water fish are rich in CoQ10, as are organ meats such as liver. Vegans can obtain CoQ10 through cauliflower, broccoli and asparagus. (to name a few food choices)
If you opt for supplementation, natural health experts advise choosing the ubiquinol form rather than the ubiquinone version – especially if you are older – and taking it with a meal for maximum absorption. A knowledgeable, integrative healthcare professional can advise you on the dosage that’s right for you.
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Sources for this article include:
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