The CoQ10 Connection
By David Blyweiss, M.D.
Coenzyme Q-10 is a nutrient that ’s gained enormous notoriety in recent years—and with good reason. Think of it as the Energizer Bunny of the cellular world. This novel enzyme is so important to cellular energy and good health that it’s found in virtually every cell in your body. Without CoQ10, your body’s cells couldn’t produce the energy they need to function. In fact, it’s so important that your cells couldn’t survive without it.
“The Miracle Nutrient”
Often described as a “miracle nutrient,” CoQ10 is one of the most powerful and protective antioxidants against free radical damage. Without adequate levels of CoQ10 no vital organ or system can perform optimally. Perhaps CoQ10’s most critical role, however, is to protect and create energy within the cells of the heart and skeletal muscles. Since the tissues in the heart demand an enormous amount of energy to function properly, you’ll find a greater concentration of CoQ10 in the heart than anywhere else in the body. It’s so critically important to our cardiovascular system that low levels are implicated in virtually every form of heart disease, including atherosclerosis, congestive heart failure, angina and even high blood pressure.
Your liver creates most of your body’s supply of Coenzyme Q-10, also known as ubiquinone, with the help of a special enzyme. By coincidence, your liver uses the very same enzyme—known in medical circles as HMG-CoA Reductase—to produce another, more familiar substance—cholesterol. Since CoQ10 and cholesterol are both triggered by HMG-Co Reductase, using one of the popular statin drugs to lower cholesterol also lowers your CoQ10 levels.
Statins, which are the most frequently prescribed class of drugs in America, come with a long list of side effects, including fatigue, muscle weakness, liver damage and rhabdomyolysis, a potentially fatal breakdown of muscle tissue. Although these side effects won’t affect everyone who uses a statin drug, everyone using these medications not only lowers their cholesterol, they are also inadvertently depleting their stores of CoQ10, which increases the risk of developing the side effects I’ve mentioned. But even if you don’t take a statin drug, your body produces less CoQ10 as you age—and that can have a major impact on your health, especially your heart health.
CoQ10 Helps Various Heart Conditions
Many clinical studies demonstrate all the ways CoQ10 can help treat various heart conditions, from helping to regulate heart-muscle contraction to improving cardiac exercise tolerance. This novel nutrient even helps to control blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Plus it helps to ward off atherosclerosis by protecting LDL cholesterol from oxidative damage. This heart-friendly nutrient is also a powerful antioxidant that regenerates Vitamin E and enhances E’s anti-inflammatory action.
Studies show that CoQ10 may boost vitality in folks over forty, when the body’s natural production of this vital nutrient starts to slow down. Researchers are also discovering that CoQ10 can be beneficial in the treatment of a wide variety of ailments, including diabetes, breast cancer, kidney disease, Parkinson’s disease, muscular dystrophy and male infertility.
CoQ10- The Multi-Talented Nutrient
Even common, everyday maladies can benefit from this multi-talented nutrient. In two clinical trials, CoQ10 reduced migraine frequency and severity. Dentists have begun using topical CoQ10 to treat gum disease since this nutrient significantly reduces plaque, pocket depth and bleeding. Wrinkles are also getting the CoQ10 treatment. Preliminary evidence suggests that creams containing this potent antioxidant reduce wrinkle depth and help to prevent sun-induced skin damage.
Since our natural supply of this critical nutrient decreases as we get older, taking supplemental CoQ10 can help keep us energized and vibrant on a cellular level. Think of it as the spark that generates overall good health. It’s so effective that I tell my patients—especially those over the age of 50—to take at least 30 mg. daily with a meal containing a small amount of fat to aid absorption. Those with established heart disease or patients who must be on a statin drug should take a minimum of 100 mg. of CoQ10 each day. But be aware that not all CoQ10 supplements are equal. According to recent testing by Consumer Lab, not all of the CoQ10 supplements they tested contained the amount stated on the label. Instead of just hoping for the best when you buy a CoQ10 supplement, I recommend Heart-CoQ10. This premium supplement contains optimal amounts of pharmaceutical-grade CoQ10 so there’s no guesswork and you can be confident that you are getting all the benefits this amazing nutrient has to offer.
Joy TR, et al. Narrative review: statin-related myopathy. Annals of Internal Medicine. 2009 Jun 16;150(12):858-68.
Okello E, et al. Combined statin/coenzyme Q10 as adjunctive treatment of chronic heart failure. Medical Hypotheses. 2009;73:306-308.
Sándor PS, et al. Efficacy of coenzyme Q10 in migraine prophylaxis: a randomized controlled trial. Neurology. 2005;64:713-715.
Wang XL, et al. Cosupplementation with vitamin E and coenzyme Q10 reduces circulating markers of inflammation in baboons. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2004;80:649-655.