Coenzyme Q10 an Important Nutrient for a Healthy Heart
by Michael T. Murray, N.D.
Each day the human heart beats about 100,000 times and pumps up to 5,000 gallons of fluid. In an average lifetime, the heart will beat 2.5 billion times and pump 146 million gallons of blood. That’s a lot of work! And, in order for your heart to do this work it needs sufficient levels of coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10).CoQ10’s role in the heart is similar to the role of a spark plug in a car engine. Just as the car cannot function without that initial spark, the heart cannot function without CoQ10. Over 20 double-blind studies have shown CoQ10 supplementation improves heart function by increasing energy production in the heart muscle and by acting as an antioxidant.
The Importance of CoQ10 SupplementationAlthough the body makes some of its own CoQ10, considerable research shows significant benefits with supplementation. Also, people with any sort of heart disease including high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure or those taking cholesterol-lowering drugs (e.g., statins like Lipitor and Crestor) are known to have low CoQ10 levels. In fact, biopsy results from heart tissue in patients with various cardiovascular diseases showed a CoQ10 deficiency in 50-75% of cases. Correction of a CoQ10 deficiency can often produce dramatic clinical results in patients with any kind of heart disease.
CoQ10 in High Blood PressureCoQ10 supplementation is particularly indicated in high blood pressure. In several studies CoQ10 has been shown to lower blood pressure in patients with hypertension. The effect of CoQ10 on blood pressure is usually not seen until after 4-12 weeks of therapy and the typical reductions in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure with CoQ10 therapy in patients with high blood pressure are modest, i.e. in the 10% range. But, often this reduction brings blood pressure into the normal range or results in the need for lower dosages of blood pressure lowering drugs.
CoQ10 Forms and DosagesMost commercially CoQ10 is produced via a yeast fermentation process. CoQ10 exists in two interchangeable chemical forms – ubiquinone and ubiquinol. About 95% of the CoQ10 in the body is in the ubiquinol form. However, ingestion of the ubiquinone results in the easy conversion to ubiquinol. Until recently CoQ10 as a dietary supplement has only been available in the ubiquinone form, but now ubiquinol is also available.
- Ubiquinone is a crystalline powder that is insoluble in water and is difficult to absorb when given on an empty stomach. However, when ubiquinone is given with food (especially with oils) it is absorbed at least two-fold greater than on an empty stomach.
- Ubiquinol has greater solubility and as a result greater bioavailability that ubiquinone, but exactly how much better absorbed it is than ubiquinone remains to be answered.
Michael T. Murray, N.D., is widely regarded as one of the foremost experts on natural medicine. A graduate of Bastyr University, Dr. Murray is the author of over 30 books and is the Director of Product Development and Education for Natural Factors.