Life cannot exist without coenzyme Q10. The compound is necessary for the energy turnover in all our cells. It also functions as a powerful antioxidant that protects the heart and cardiovascular system against oxidative stress. Humans are able to synthesize Q10 but our endogenous production decreases with age. Heart failure patients also have reduced levels of Q10 which can be fatal, but decades of research have shown that Q10 supplements can improve quality of life and reduce mortality by close to 50 percent, according to a review article in Journal of Clinical Medicine. Here, the authors refer to 90 published articles. It is also important to get enough selenium, which helps Q10 function optimally.
Millions of people worldwide are affected by chronic heart failure, a condition that is the leading cause of death in a number of countries. It is vital to look after your heart and cardiovascular system by adhering to healthy lifestyle habits. A daily Q10 supplement may also be worth considering, especially if you are older or suffer from any type of heart failure. Q10 is essential for the heart and circulatory system for several reasons.
The energy-demanding heart requires a lot of Q10
Coenzyme Q10 is involved in the cellular energy turnover that takes place inside some tiny, bean-shaped powerhouses called mitochondria. Here, nutrients are combusted in a process that involves Q10 and oxygen. This process sends electrons through a chain of enzymes in what is known at the electron transport chain. Q10’s job is to receive and pass on the electrons to help produce a molecule called ATP (adenosine triphosphate), which is energy stored in chemical form for future use. The heart pumps around the clock day and night and uses around 25 percent of its total energy requirement when we rest, which gives a rather clear idea of how much energy it needs. Not surprisingly, heart muscle cells contain far more mitochondria than other cell types, and the heart consumes huge amounts of Q10.
Signs of a weak heart:
Q10 is a powerful antioxidant
Q10 also serves as a highly effective antioxidant that protects cells and tissues against oxidative stress, which is an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants. Free radicals are aggressive molecules with an unpaired electron, which they seek to replace by stealing other electrons, thereby initiating a harmful chain reaction that causes cell damage.
We humans produce free radicals as a natural byproduct of our energy turnover and other metabolic processes. But free radicals need to be kept on a tight leash to prevent them from attacking our cells. Our DNA, mitochondria, and the lipids in our cell membranes are highly vulnerable toward free radical damage. The number of free radicals is increased tremendously by factors such as ageing, inflammation, chronic diseases, and poisoning.
The huge energy turnover in the heart also generates cascades of free radicals. Here, Q10 has been shown to play a vital role as a unique and highly powerful antioxidant that protects the cell membranes, mitochondria, and DNA against oxidative stress. No other antioxidant is able to replace Q10, just for the record.
Lack of Q10 impairs the heart function
Tissue samples taken from the hearts of heart failure patients show that the weaker the heart muscle is, the less Q10 it contains. Moreover, the energy-producing mitochondria also appear to be defect.
Q10 supplementation: Improved heart function and 43 percent lower mortality
Chronic heart failure is life-threatening. According to the statistics, around one third of patients die within a year of being hospitalized with heart failure for the first time. Researchers therefore see a huge potential in using Q10 as an adjuvant for treating heart failure.
In the review article from Journal of Clinical Medicine, the authors refer to a list of studies where heart failure patients have been given Q10 supplements. The now-deceased Danish cardiologist Svend Åge Mortensen headed the groundbreaking Q-Symbio study that documents Q10’s effect on heart failure. The study included 420 heart failure patients, all of whom were given conventional heart therapy. In addition, half the patients got three 100-mg capsules of coenzyme Q10 daily, while the other half got matching placebo.
After 16 weeks, the scientists observed reduced levels of NT-proBNP in the Q10-supplemented group. This is a protein that is excreted by the heart when it is overloaded. Levels of NT-proBNP had gone up in the placebo group. This was a sign that the Q10 supplement helped the heart pump with greater ease.
After two years, the mortality rate in the Q10-supplemented group had dropped 43 percent compared with the placebo group. In addition, the number of hospitalizations in the Q10 group had been reduced by 43 percent.
In Hungary, Q10 is approved as a drug for heart failure. Hopefully, the compound will eventually be approved for this purpose in all of Europe because of the extensive documentation. In Italy, Japan, and Canada, doctors also give Q10 to heart failure patients and the results are good.
Q10 also benefits healthy hearts
Because our endogenous production of Q10 decreases with age it is a good idea to take a Q10 supplement to make sure that the heart gets enough of this vital substance.
Q10 and selenium strengthen the heart and halve mortality rates among healthy elderly people
In the groundbreaking Swedish study, KiSel-10, scientists gave supplements of Q10 and selenium to a large group of healthy seniors for several years. This combination of nutrients was chosen because both Q10 and selenium are powerful antioxidants and because the two nutrients support each other.
The European farmland is low in selenium. Also, our Q10 levels decrease as we grow older. Therefore, it made perfect sense to test this combination of nutrients. Half the participants got 200 mg of pharmaceutical-grade Q10 and 200 micrograms of selenium yeast, while the other half got matching placebo. The study lasted five years and showed that the supplemented group had a 54% lower cardiovascular mortality rate and substantially fewer hospitalizations.
Follow-up studies after 10 and 12 years showed that the use of Q10 and selenium had a long-term effect on cardiac health and life expectancy. The effect is most likely even greater if you continue to take the supplements.
|The KiSel-10 study is rather unique because it shows that is possible to maintain good health in old age|
Preparations and bioavailability
The quality of the supplements you take means everything. It is vital for their bioavailability, efficacy, and safety. Q10 as a raw material has a natural tendency to form large, insoluble crystals of aggregated Q10 molecules. These crystals do not dissolve at body temperature and are therefore unable to pass through the intestinal membrane into the bloodstream. This is a problem with the majority of Q10 supplements. The only way to solve the problem is to disperse the Q10 raw material in oils with different melting points and expose the mixtures to a special heat treatment. That alters the composition of the crystals so they are able to dissolve completely before they reach the small intestine, whereby the Q10 molecules can easily pass through the intestinal wall. The scientists behind the above-mentioned studies chose this Q10 formula for their research, and they also chose selenium yeast. Both have documented bioavailability and are absorbed easily.
Anna Di Lorenzo et al. Clinical Evidence for Q10 Coenzyme Supplementation in Heart Failure: From Energetics to Functional Improvement. Journal of Clinical Medicine 2020
Sharma A et al. Coenzyme Q10 and Heart Failure: A-State-of-the-Art-Review. Circ Heart Fail 2016
David Mantle and Lain Hargreaves. Coenzyme Q10 and Degenerative Disorders Affecting Longevity: An Overview. Antioxidants (Basel) Published online 2019 Feb
Mortensen SA et al. The effect of coenzyme Q10 on morbidity and mortality in chronic heart failure: results from Q-Symbio: a randomized double-blind trial. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, heart Failure 2014
Sylvia Oleck, Hector O. Ventura: Coenzyme Q10 and Utility in Heart Failure: Just Another Supplement? Pharmacologic Therapy 2016
Alehagen U, et al. Cardiovascular mortality and N-Terminal-proBNP reduced after combined selenium and coenzyme Q10 supplementation. Int J Cardiol. 2012
Alehagen U et al. reduced Cardiovascular Mortality 10 Years after Supplementation with Selenium and Coenzyme Q10 for four years. Follow-Up Results of a Prospective Randomized Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled trial in Elderly Citizens. PLoS One 2015
Urban Alehagen et al. Still reduced cardiovascular mortality 12 years after supplementation with selenium and coenzyme Q10 for four years. A validation of previous 10-years follow-up results of a prospective randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial in elderly. PLOS ONE 2018
Pernille Lund. Q10 – fra helsekost til epokegørende medicin. Ny Videnskab 2014