The relationship between coenzyme q10 and heart health can be summed up in one sentence – Every muscle in the body, particularly the heart, the muscle that has most demand for coenzyme q10, cannot function without this vitamin, which is vital for life itself.
Though it be an important cofactor in the smooth running of cardiovascular function, it is not stressed enough in the opinion of many conscientious doctors, who have seen a coenzyme q10 deficiency in their patients when treating serious heart conditions.
To explain the importance of coenzyme q10 in the control of high blood pressure and the health of the heart, you need to start by knowing what it is and how it works.
The next step is to understand what happens when it is depleted, what factors can cause this, how statins and coq10 depletion are connected, and lastly, how supplementing has been proven to help restore the energy and efficiency of the heart. I will try and explain coenzyme q10 and heart health as simple as possible using the drawing of the cell below. You can refer to it with each section to get a basic understanding of how co q10 works.
What is coenzyme q10?
Coq10 (ubiquinone), is found in the mitochondria, an area in the cell where the production of the molecule adenosine triphosphate (ATP) takes place.
The heart needs this ATP in order to carry energy for heart function. Like a spark plug, coq10 is a catalyst or vehicle for the production and transportation of ATP which is in constant supply to keep your heart beating.
In fact, the heart and the liver have the highest demand for coq10 because of the energy needed to carry out their powerful functions.
Coenzyme q10 uses by other muscles and organ cells that all demand ATP production, call for a constant supply of this vitamin. Functions like reproduction, food consumption and maintenance. Basically, we can’t live without it!
Coenzyme Q10 Deficiency
Blood pressure is connected with coenzyme q10 and heart health. As we reach 50+, our ability to produce coq10 is reduced creating a slight deficiency. Not only can the heart become weaker with less energy, causing palpitations and higher blood pressure, it can also have an effect on LDL cholesterol. Coq10 is an antioxidant that protects LDL from the damaging effects of oxidisation.If a serious deficiency develops through other contributing factors, LDL becomes too oxidised and cannot function properly when needed to help in the renewal of cells at the injury site in an artery. This results in a build up under the artery wall that bulges and blocks the artery. Our blood pressure goes up further and we are at risk of atherosclerosis and heart attack.
What Can Cause a Deficiency?
Apart from age, some of our doctors can become overly concerned about cholesterol levels and prescribe cholesterol lowering drugs, some even prescribing as a presumed, preventative measure when cholesterol levels are normal! These drugs cause coq10 serum levels to drop, reduce the effect of coq10 supplements, and hamper liver production of coq10. Then we have anti-biotics, anti-hypertensive, and anti-depressants all affecting this vital production.
A lack of vitamin B2 (riboflavin) can aggravate coq10 deficiency. My main concern though is statins.
Statins and CoQ10 depletion
This is a subject that merits a whole webpage to discuss it. I am shocked at the reports of what effect statins has on coenzyme q10 and heart health, yet so many of my friends and acquaintances, of whom some are female, are still being prescribed it after being diagnosed with high cholesterol.
A neighbour of mine told me that when he takes his statin at night before he goes to bed, as soon as he hits the pillow the chest pain begins. Sometimes it will ease off, but at other times it will last all night and then he has to spend half of his day catching up on sleep. What strikes me as shocking is that this man who has undergone two bypass ops, an angioplasty op, and a failed stent implantation op, has been prescribed something that according to research, will put his life in more danger.
As I said, this topic merits a whole webpage coming soon, where you too will have the opportunity to voice your own concerns about statins by submitting a page of your own.
Coenzyme Q10 Proper Dosage
In double blind trials, patients who were given 60mg of coq10 twice a day along with their antihypertensive drugs, had a reduction in systolic and diastolic pressure.
Other risk factors that cause cardiovascular disease also showed significant reduction. In their conclusion, the authors of the study said that coenzyme q10 does decrease blood pressure and the bodies response to insulin with patients who are taking conventional high blood pressure drugs.
That being the case, many doctors advise supplementing with coq10 because our bodies don’t produce enough of it. But many of us don’t know exactly how much to take.
With a good supplement, 30-90mg daily for mild problems, and 100-150 for those with heart or other major conditions. It is best to discuss coenzyme q10 and heart health with your doctor first.
Coenzyme q10 side effects
I can report that there are no serious side effects documented to date. Patients have reported rashes, stomach pain, dizziness, headache, fatigue,and heartburn, but these are incidental and not the norm.
A note of caution! – Coenzyme q10 can have an effect on the bodies response to insulin and warfarin.