CoQ10 and Cardiovascular Health – Everything You Need To Know

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In this article, we examine the relation between CoQ10 and Cardiovascular Health. Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), also known as ubiquinone, is a key antioxidant ingredient found in cell membranes and mitochondria with the main objective of producing energy in the form of ATP, the body’s energy currency. Due to its participation in the synthesis of ATP, CoQ10 affects the function of all cells and is necessary to maintain the health of all tissues and organs.

CoQ10 is also produced endogenously by the amino acid tyrosine, a complex metabolic pathway that requires the involvement of vitamin B6 as a cofactor. Deficiency may occur as a result of reduced endogenous composition, due to nutritional deficiencies (e.g. vitamin B6) or due to an increase in needs arising in times of illness. Several diseases, including some genetic disorders, are linked to low CoQ10 levels (Read more about Coenzyme Q10 deficiencies here).

What is Coenzyme Q10 health benefits?

The functions of CoQ10 in the body are many and in particular, it has been shown to have a positive effect on health in the following cases:

  • in the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular diseases: prevents thrombosis, lowers blood pressure, reduces arrhythmias, fights mitral valve prolapse, and relieves angina (chest) pain.
  • to reduce fatigue and improve athletic performance, especially in people suffering from angina. Also, even people who are not athletes but feel tired and exhausted can benefit from this nutrient as it stimulates energy production.
  • to strengthen the immune system, as it has antioxidant action and directly stimulates the formation of antibodies and white blood cells.
  • better health of teeth and gums. Research has shown that sick gums have lower CoQ10 levels than healthy ones and so using supplements with CoQ10 can improve gum health (1).

READ ALSO: Best Vitamin B Complex and Everything You Need To Know In Between

What Foods Contain coq10

CoQ10 is found in many plant and animal foods, and to some extent is synthesized from our cells. For this reason, the levels of CoQ10 in the body depend both on its intake through nutrition and/or various supplements, as well as on the rate of composition by the body.

Some foods that are good sources of CoQ10

  • meat (beef, pork and chicken)
  • oily fish (sardines, salmon, etc.)
  • nuts (almonds, walnuts, sesame seeds, etc.)
  • oils (olive oil, soybean oil)
  • certain vegetables (broccoli, spinach, cauliflower, cabbage)
  • fruits

How is coenzyme Q10 linked to heart health?

CoQ10 is found in heart cells in twice as much as in other organs. Several studies have examined the effect of supplemental CoQ10 administration on improving cardiovascular function through improved heart contractility and inhibition of LDL cholesterol oxidation (2).

How does it affect chronic heart failure?

Research has shown that serum CoQ10 levels and myocardial tissues of patients with chronic heart failure (CIS) are low. A meta-analysis evaluating the findings of 13 double-blind, placebo-controlled trials with 988 patients showed that supplemental coq10 at doses of 60-200mg daily led to a significant improvement in both clinical and hemodynamic parameters, as well as improved resistance to exercise (3).

In another meta-analysis involving 11 randomized, placebo-controlled studies with 300 patients suffering from CIS, it was found that supplementation with CoQ10 daily over a period of 1-6 months led to an improvement in the ejection fraction (heart’s ability to effectively eject the blood) by 6.7% in patients who were not given angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (aME) (4).

Coenzyme Q10 appears to lower blood pressure levels

Although the mechanism by which CoQ10 reduces blood pressure levels is not fully understood, it appears that the possible anti-hypertasic action of CoQ10 is due to its strong antioxidant properties and its ability to cause vessel dilation.

A recent meta-analysis of 12 clinical trials examining the effect of CoQ10 (100-120mg/day) on 362 hypertensive patients over 8-12 weeks showed that coQ10 supplementation, either individually or in combination with antihypertensive drugs, reduced systolic and diastolic pressure without significant side effects (5).

Is CoQ10 positively associated with other heart conditions?

Other cardiovascular diseases in which CoQ10 appears to have a positive effect are angina, acute myocardial infarction, arrhythmias, and mitre valve prolapse.

How does CoQ10 interact with other substances?

  • Warfarin. CoQ10 competes with the action of warfarin, a substance with strong blood-thinning properties.
  • Pharmacological class statins. The body can synthesize certain amounts of CoQ10 in the liver where cholesterol is produced. Statins inhibit the production of enzymes needed for the synthesis of cholesterol and inhibit the formation of coenzyme Q10. Therefore, patients who take statins for a long time have higher requirements in coenzyme Q10. In addition, the intake of coenzyme Q10 can relieve the myopathy (muscle fatigue) caused by statins.

Insufficiency and toxicity, what’s the matter?

In addition to the reduced intake of CoQ10 through diet, there are two other important factors that lead to coq10 deficiency in the body. Reduced biosynthesis and increased use by the body.

Biosynthesis is a complex process regulated by 12 genes. Any mutations therefore in some of these genes may affect CoQ10 levels in the body. Also, biosynthesis, as previously mentioned, decreases with age.

Finally, there is a chance that certain chronic disease conditions are increasing the demand for CoQ10 in the body, but there is not yet sufficient evidence to support this theory.

With regard to toxicity levels, they have not been clarified and toxicity does not appear to be observed even at high doses of CoQ10. However, safety evidence exists for doses of up to 1200mg per day.

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