Coenzyme Q10, commonly known as CoQ10 or ubiquinol, has gained popularity as a dietary supplement, especially for enhancing cardiovascular health. But what exactly is CoQ10, and how can it support our well-being? In this article, we’ll delve into the science behind CoQ10 and examine whether it deserves a place in your heart-healthy routine.

What is CoQ10?

CoQ10 is a naturally occurring substance found in all cells of the body, with the highest concentrations in vital organs like the heart, liver, kidneys, and pancreas (2). It plays a pivotal role in energy production, acting as a spark plug for our cellular engines. Additionally, CoQ10 possesses potent antioxidant properties, combating harmful free radicals that may contribute to cell damage and disease.

CoQ10 and Heart Health

Several studies suggest that CoQ10 may offer various benefits to the cardiovascular system:

1. Heart Failure: Research indicates that CoQ10 supplementation can enhance exercise capacity and improve the quality of life for individuals diagnosed with heart failure, attributed to improved energy production and antioxidant activity found in CoQ10 (2).

2. High Blood Pressure/Hypertension: Studies propose that CoQ10 may provide a modest reduction in systolic blood pressure, particularly for those with uncontrolled hypertension (3).

3. Statin Side Effects: CoQ10 may help alleviate muscle aches and fatigue, common side effects of statin drugs used to lower cholesterol.

4. Recovery after Heart Surgery: Preliminary evidence suggests that CoQ10 supplementation before and after heart surgery may improve heart function and reduce the risk of complications.

If you’re considering incorporating CoQ10 into your routine, consult your naturopathic provider at Peninsula Integrative Medicine. Dosage, form, and quality are important considerations, with recommended doses ranging between 100-300mg per day with food. Natural sources of CoQ10 include organ meats and cold-water fish like salmon, mackerel, anchovies, sardines, and herring (SMASH).

Lastly, we want to emphasize that good nutrition, regular exercise, and stress management create an important foundation in supporting overall cardiovascular wellness. The providers at Peninsula Integrative Medicine are ready to guide you in developing customized treatment plans and also help you determine if CoQ10 should be part of your daily regime!

Sources:
1. Greenberg S, Frishman WH. Co-enzyme Q10: a new drug for cardiovascular disease. J Clin Pharmacol 1990;30:596-608
2. Molyneux, S. L., et al. Coenzyme Q10: an independent predictor of mortality in chronic heart failure. J Am Coll.Cardiol. 10-28-2008;52(18):1435-1441
3. Zhao D, Liang Y, Dai S, et al. Dose-response effect of coenzyme Q10 supplementation on blood pressure among patients with cardiometabolic disorders: A GRADE-assessed systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Adv Nutr 2022

So you’ve been told that you’re total cholesterol is elevated, ‘bad’ cholesterol is borderline or high and your ‘good’ cholesterol is either low or normal. What exactly does that mean?

Your doctor may refer to ‘bad’ cholesterol as LDL and ‘good’ cholesterol as HDL. In reality, there are good and bad components of each. The size of the LDL & HDL particles is what matters most in determining heart disease. The smaller the particles, the higher your risk of a cardiac event.

Consider detailed cardiovascular testing to profile your cholesterol. One of my favorites is Boston Heart Diagnostics. Their lab assesses cardiovascular risk from the top down. To assess your TRUE risk we look at how hormones influence your cholesterol numbers or how thyroid function affects markers for diabetes. Are you getting enough Omega 3s vs Omega 6s? Boston Heart will check that too! Inflammation & genetic markers are also included! One of my favorite markers is a graph that shows if cholesterol is being overproduced in your liver or over-absorbed from your diet.

When should you get tested?

  • You have a family history of heart disease, diabetes, or stroke.
  • You have elevated cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, or congestive heart failure.
  • You have experienced a heart attack or stroke and interested in preventive care.
  • You are curious to know what your true cardiovascular risk is.

Cardiovascular risk is more than just checking basic lipid panel. This test will help you unearth cardiovascular risk long before it turns into symptoms empowering you to maintain a healthy heart.