This powerful antioxidant is a champion against the oxidative stress that is a major cause of many ailments, from heart disease CoQ10, aka ubiquinone, is indispensable to health and survival. As the name implies, ubiquinone is ubiquitous—it is in every cell of every human being. CoQ10 is an especially critical electron transporter for mitochondria, our cell’s cigar-shaped powerhouses, billions of which generate fundamental energy for our bodies.
CoQ10 and the Heart
Beating an average 100,000 times a day, the heart demands a constant energy supply and is a leading CoQ10 consumer. It is no secret that CoQ10 deficiency is present in congestive heart failure, angina, mitral valve prolapse and hypertension. Nor should it be surprising that CoQ10 can potentially prevent heart disease.
Of all the heart diseases, congestive heart failure is probably the worst because the heart cannot pump enough blood, which slowly robs victims of breath and energy. Multiple studies have documented CoQ10’s ability to reduce heart failure symptoms, with one study in the American Journal of Therapeutics finding that CoQ10 supplementation increased cardiac output by more than 15.7% and exercise duration by 25.4%.
Because heart failure is such a serious disease, it is vital to continue using the medicines prescribed by your doctor. CoQ10 should be viewed as a powerful addition to heart failure treatment, working in concert with other agents.
Another devastating illness is coronary artery disease (CAD), a leading cause of heart failure and the nation’s No.1 killer. Critical to CAD progression is the deposition of fat directly into the arterial wall, a process known as atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries. CoQ10 plays a critical role in preventing atherosclerosis by limiting the amount of fat deposited in the arterial wall. In fact, several animal studies have shown that CoQ10 can decrease the number of atherosclerotic lesions and make them more stable, thereby less likely to rupture and cause a heart attack.
For people with angina, several studies have documented significant symptom reduction with CoQ10 supplementation. One pioneering study published in the American Journal of Cardiology found that people who took CoQ10 experienced a 50% reduction in anginal events and demonstrated improved exercise tolerance.
CoQ10 can also help those with high blood pressure. One clinical trial demonstrated an approximately 20-point drop in systolic blood pressure and a 10-point drop in diastolic blood pressure after 10 weeks of CoQ10 therapy.
CoQ10 and the Muscles
Since the heart is mostly muscle, it is not surprising that CoQ10 helps people with muscular dystrophy. In two double-blind, controlled trials on muscular dystrophy, researchers found that 100 mg a day of CoQ10 "improved physical performance," increased cardiac function and lessened fatigue.
CoQ10 and the Brain
Parkinson’s disease is one of the most common neurodegenerative conditions, afflicting 15% of people between 65 and 74 years of age and more than half of those over 85. Caused by the destruction of special nerves located deep in the brain called striatal dopaminergic neurons, Parkinson’s results in an inevitable physical and mental decline. While CoQ10’s role in the biology of Parkinson’s remains to be determined, low levels of CoQ10 have been found in people with this devastating disease. In fact, one study discovered that CoQ10 supplementation was actually able to slow the destruction of these special nerves. While there are several effective prescription drugs for Parkinson’s, CoQ10 is the first natural remedy showing promise against this destructive disease.
Another tragic neurological disorder is Huntington’s disease, a rare inherited and ultimately fatal condition that causes victims to lose control over their bodies and suffer profound mental decline. Unfortunately, there still remain no effective treatments for Huntington’s. A randomized, placebo-controlled trial published in Neurology, however, found that patients who took CoQ10 had a 13% reduction in neurological decline. Although not a cure for Huntington’s, CoQ10 is the first agent shown to slow the disease’s progression.
CoQ10 on the Horizon
In addition to investigation of CoQ10’s role in neurological, cardiovascular, musculoskeletal disease and aging, there is exciting new research on CoQ10 and diabetes. Our understanding of just how vital CoQ10 is for life continues to evolve; however, there is no question that CoQ10 is indeed indispensable to survival.
C oQ10 is safe and well tolerated. Being fat-solUBLE, CoQ10 should be taken with food. If you’re taking a prescription medication, especially a diabetic or anti-hypertensive agent, check with your doctor before using CoQ10 to make sure your medications will not interact. As many prescription drugs (especially anti-cholesterol medicines) can deplete CoQ10, ask your physician if supplementation is needed.Take vitamin B6 (25 to 100 mg daily) when supplementing with CoQ10 as B6 boosts CoQ10 production. CoQ10 comes in hard capsules, gel caps and oil suspension. Ask your nutritionist/health provider which type is best for you.
Average Dose: 30 to 300 mg a day
Angina: 150 mg three times a day
Hypertension: 50 mg twice a day
Muscle Problems: 100 to 150 mg a day
Huntington’s: 300 mg twice a day
Parkinson’s: 200 mg two to four times a day