In 1981, after giving birth to her son, Joan developed postpartum cardiomyopathy, a rare form of heart
failure. Two years later, she was on the waiting list for a heart transplant. But things changed after she saw Stephen Sinatra, MD, a cardiologist who used CoQ10 to treat patients. At the time, says Sinatra, "The strategy was totally experimental." But Joan tried it, and it worked. Experiencing considerable improvement, she declined a new heart and continued on a supplement regimen prescribed by Sinatra. To this day, 30 years later, her own heart serves her well.
Joan is only one of many heart patients who have benefitted from CoQ10. One study, published in Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, documented improvement among 11 people waiting for heart transplants. "After CoQ10, some patients required no conventional drugs and had no limitation in lifestyle," wrote the researchers.
In a University of Texas study that followed more than 400 heart patients, taking CoQ10 (75-600 mg daily) significantly improved heart function, and for some, reduced the need for medications. Other studies have found similar heart healthy results.
But the heart isn't the only part of the body that benefits. Mitochondria, the energy-generating components of every cell, must have CoQ10 to function. Because that energy helps keep us alive, a CoQ10 shortfall has far-reaching consequences, and restoring levels can produce serious benefits. In addition to its effects on heart health, CoQ10 can:
- Reduce inflammation and muscle damage from intense exercise.
- Relieve fibromyalgia symptoms.
- Treat migraine headaches.
- Improve quality of life for people with Parkinson's disease.
- Fight sun damage when used topically in skin care products.
How to Use CoQ10
Our bodies produce CoQ10, but the amounts decrease as we get older. The nutrient is also found in meat and oily fish, but in quantities too small to be therapeutic. So supplements are definitely the way to go. Sinatra recommends the following dosages.
- To maintain a healthy heart: 90-150 mg daily.
- When taking statin drugs, or if you have high blood pressure: 180-360 mg daily.
- To improve quality of life in Parkinson's patients: 600-1200 mg daily.
- For mild to moderate heart failure: 300-360 mg daily.
- For congestive heart failure or dilated cardiomyopathy: 360-600 mg daily.
- To reduce migraines: 100 mg, three times daily, taken for several months.
For more information about CoQ10's benefits, visit heartmdinstitute.com.
Nordic Naturals Nordic CoQ10 Ubiquinol features the "ubiquinol" form of CoQ10, shown to be better absorbed and utilized by the body.
Nuline NutritionalsQSpeed Fast-Melt CoQ10, recently given a Superior Taste Award, supports exercise performance, according to research.
Wakunaga Kyolic CoQ10 Formula 110 is a heart-healthy blend of Aged Garlic Extract (from 100% organic garlic bulbs) and 60 mg per serving of CoQ10.
Better Nutrition contributing editor, Vera Tweed has been writing about nutrition, fitness, and healthy living since 1997. She specializes in covering research and expert knowledge that empowers people to lead better lives.
CoQ10 & Statins
Statin drugs for lowering cholesterol are known to deplete levels of CoQ10, and this is one cause of the drugs' side effects, including muscle weakness, fatigue, memory loss, and peripheral neuropathy-damage to nerves that causes numbness, tingling, or prickly sensations in hands and toes. CoQ10 supplements can help to reverse these symptoms while protecting the heart.
In a study published in the journal BioFactors, doctors at a clinic in Tyler, Texas, gave an average of 240 mg of CoQ10 daily to 50 heart patients who had discontinued statin drugs due to their adverse effects. Researchers tracked these patients for an average of 22 months and saw no heart attacks or strokes in the group, and in most cases, heart function either improved or remained stable. And the percentage of patients suffering from statin-related adverse effects decreased significantly:
Muscle pain (myalgia)
Shortness of breath (dyspnea)
Another study, published in The Physician and Sportsmedicine, found that 200 mg daily of CoQ10, taken for 6 weeks, improved muscle function in a group of athletes who were over age 50 and were taking statins.
On statin labels, the FDA requires warnings that the drugs increase the risk for diabetes, memory loss, and muscle damage.