We’re certainly hearing a lot about the nutritional supplement, coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), as of late, and with good reason. The clinical application of CoQ10 has now been validated in many conditions, including coronary heart disease, heart failure, diabetes, chemotherapy, and periodontal disease. It’s now being explored for therapeutic efficacy in such diverse entities as immune function, migraine prevention, high blood pressure and even sperm motility.
CoQ10 is found in virtually every cell in the body, where it plays a pivotal role in the process whereby the cell is able to convert fuel into energy. Beyond this obviously critical function, CoQ10 also serves as one of the body’s most crucial antioxidants, protecting every cell against the damaging effects of chemicals called free radicals. So it’s no wonder CoQ10 is receiving so much attention.
CoQ10 is manufactured in the body, and levels of this life-supportive chemical are enhanced when CoQ10 is consumed. Lower levels may be associated with the use of various medications including:
- Statin drugs used for lowering cholesterol. These include Lipitor, Pravachol, Zocor, and Mevacor.
- Beta-blocker drugs used for high blood pressure, migraine headaches, and heart rhythm disturbances. These include Inderal, Lopressor, Toprol, Tenormin and Normodyne.
- Tricyclic antidepressants including Elavil, Sinequan and Tofranil.
CoQ10 has shown particular usefulness in the field of cardiology where a research has demonstrated its profound effectiveness in terms of heart health by improving the amount of blood the heart was able to pump as well as in improving blood pressure. Perhaps the most compelling finding in this study of 424 patients with various forms of cardiovascular disease was the fact that after starting CoQ10, a non-prescription nutritional supplement, an incredible 43% of the subjects were able to reduce their prescription medications from three to one. The authors concluded:
CoQ10 is a safe and effective adjunctive treatment for a broad range of cardiovascular diseases, producing gratifying clinical responses while easing the medical and financial burden of multidrug therapy.
As mentioned above, CoQ10 can be reduced in patients taking statin drugs. In my opinion, all patients on these cholesterol lowering drugs should consider taking supplemental CoQ10 as I recently discussed in roundtable interview, entitled: Appropriate Clinical Use of Statins: A Discussion of the Evidence, Scope, Benefits and Risk. Please take a look at this discussion as I’m certain it will help answer some important questions. In addition, some very informative research about coenzyme Q10 can be found in the science section of our website.
Coenzyme Q10 is one of the most fundamentally important nutritional supplements I recommend and use in my clinical practice not just for patients with heart disease, but to support brain health and general health as well. We generally recommend 100mg daily, and 200mg daily for those on statins, beta-blockers, or tricyclic antidepressants.