CoQ 10 Heart to Heart

From the NYBC SUPPLEMENT, May-June 2006:


Coenzyme Q 10, or CoQ10 for short, is widely found in body tissues, where it acts as a key player in the production of energy for cell growth and maintenance. It also works as a powerful antioxidant, that is, it can “mop up” potentially harmful byproducts of normal metabolism and restrain damaging processes like inflammation.

When CoQ10 was first identified and studied in the late 1950s and early 1960s, there was much interest in it because lower than normal levels of this molecule were found to be associated with various cancers. As understanding deepened, CoQ10 was seen as stimulating the immune system and increasing resistance to disease, and theorized as an adjuvant therapy (treatment given after primary treatment) for cancer. Later, it was also shown to have the specific ability to protect the heart from damage caused by a chemotherapy drug (see SUPPLEMENT online for further reading).

In the 1970s, research turned to CoQ10’s potential for addressing cardiovascular conditions. Its effect on hypertension (high blood pressure), myopathy (weakening of the heart muscle), and congestive heart failure was examined, with at least some benefit detected in many (but not all) studies. Today, heart health concerns are probably the leading reason that people take CoQ10. In Japan, it’s been an approved treatment for heart failure since 1974.

Quite recently, a clinical trial found Co Q10 effective in slowing progression of early-stage Parkinson’s disease. This kind of finding suggests that we haven’t heard the last word on CoQ10, and that, furthermore, it could prove interesting even outside the area of cardiovascular concerns. As with many dietary supplements—we wish we knew more!
For people with HIV/AIDS, nutritional supplements expert Lark Lands has recommended use of CoQ10 in the context of broad-spectrum antioxidant therapy that includes carotenoids, selenium, vitamin E, vitamin C, lipoic acid, and NAC. But we should note that Dr. Jon Kaiser, who has conducted studies of vitamin/antioxidant supplementation and people with HIV, concluded a couple years back that CoQ10 gave little added value compared to other antioxidants. So, the stronger recommendation for use of this supplement may be limited to those concerned about cardiovascular issues.

NYBC stocks several other supplements of interest to people dealing with cardiovascular conditions, including pantethine and fatty acids (Evening Primrose and DHA Max). Check out descriptions in the Catalog and Treatment Guide.

CoQ10 Advisories and warnings: CoQ10 is fat soluble, and so is better absorbed if taken with olive oil or the like. Take with vitamin E, since the two work together. It also may affect levels of diabetes drugs, statins, and other prescription meds—another reason to be sure to tell your doctor if you are using this supplement. Recommended dosage varies a great deal, depending on what CoQ 10 is being used for.

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