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CoQ10 and Heart Disease

Article

by Robin Koon -

Continued from page 1

 CoQ10 and the Heart

Cells that require the most energy contain a higher number of mitochondria. The more work required, the more energy needed. The cells of the brain, the skeletal muscle, the heart and the eye contain the highest number of mitochondria (as many as 10,000 per cell), while the skin cells, which do not require much energy, contain only a few hundred mitochondria. Cardiac cells are muscle cells whose function is to contract repeatedly, pumping blood continuously around the body. This means these cells need a large and continuous supply of energy to in order to function efficiently, so no surprise they have a large number of mitochondria within them. CoQ10 (being at the center of the creation of cellular energy) assumes significant importance in cells with high energy requirements, such as the cardiac cells.

Much of the research in support of CoQ10 supplementation has been focused on CHF. These patients’ hearts have been shown to have increased oxidative stress, as well as decreased concentrations of CoQ10.1,2 We already know heart muscle cells have a remarkably high-energy requirement. Consistent correlation between the level of CoQ10 and the severity of CHF appears to be a well-documented. Low levels of CoQ10 have been linked to decreased heart muscle function (poor myocardial function).3,4 The more severe the heart failure, the more the deficient the CoQ10 level is. Recently, it has been found that CoQ10 levels can be used as a predictor of mortality in CHF.5,6

Supplementation

CoQ10 has a potential role for the prevention and treatment of heart ailments by improving cellular bioenergetics. Supplementation can help correct energy depletion and oxidative stress, which are inherent in these cardiac conditions; this can result in helping to restore the energy and efficiency of the heart. Significant improvement has been observed in exercise tolerance in patients given adjunctive CoQ10.7

Supplementation has been shown to cause sustained clinical improvement in the heart muscle contraction (improved ejection fraction, heart wall motion and heart size), and progress in improving other related symptoms (fatigue, chest pain, shortness of breath, exercise ability and palpitations).8 Some studies have showed significant development with NYHA class improving from a mean of IV to a mean of II.9 CoQ10 supplementation can also protect against ischemia and reperfusion injury.10 The improvement in some patients can be rather significant, with the heart size and heart function returning to near normal.

CoQ10 supplementation should be used as an adjunct therapy, supporting traditional medical treatment and not in place of it.

A Note on Statins

It is well established that when taking statin drugs, CoQ10 levels are impaired, since both endogenously produced cholesterol and CoQ10 share the same biosynthesis pathway.11,12 So, the productions of both compounds are blocked (reduced), when taking statin drugs. This can lead to a statin-induced CoQ10 deficiency, which can negatively affect the heart muscle, skeletal muscle and brain. One can certainly conclude it would be wise to take a CoQ10 supplement while on statin therapy.

Robin Koon, executive vice-president at Best Formulations, has more than 25 years of pharmaceutical experience in clinical pharmacy, was a retail drug chain executive overseeing operations and has experience in managed-care.

References Listed on the next page.

Find out more on heart health and ingredients that support the cardiovascular system in INSIDER's Content Libraray.

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