Spectacular Study on Heart Failure and the Supplement CoQ10

Heart-failure

Can a safe dietary supplement dramatically prolong life for people with heart failure? Yes, if we can believe the results from a new study.

The study enrolled people with severe heart failure. This is a condition where the heart can barely pump blood around the body any more. This, for example, after previous heart attacks have damaged the heart (a broken heart, literally). People with severe heart failure run a large risk of dying within a few years.

The study tested the dietary supplement coenzyme Q10 in heart failure. CoQ10 is an endogenous cholesterol-like substance involved in energy production in the cells. Particularly the heart contains a lot of Q10, probably because it takes so much energy  to constantly pump blood. Q10 is also found in the food that we eat, particularly in meat and fish.

Cholesterol-lowering drugs, known as statins, are used by almost all people with heart disease. Interestingly enough, statins also reduce the production of the cholesterol-like substance Q10, and deficiency in Q10 has been shown to worsen the prognosis in heart failure. So what happens if you supplement with the substance?

Half of the study’s 420 participants with severe heart failure received supplementation with 300 mg CoQ10 daily for two years. The other half received a placebo. What do you think happened?

The Results

The results were presented at the Heart Failure Conference in Lisbon in May 2013. Participants who received Q10 got:

  • Half the risk of dying during the study (9% as compared to 17%)
  • Almost half the risk of acute heart problems (14% as compared to 25%)
  • More often improvement of symptoms

The differences were by far statistically significant. Read more here:

What Does This Mean?

The results of the study are dramatic, but the study is relatively small and not yet published. Moreover, the study is partly funded by companies marketing Q10 supplements. Thus we can’t take the results as a self-evident truth.

However, interestingly enough a previous small study on children with heart failure also showed an improvement from supplementation with Q10. An improvement was also seen in a meta-analysis of previous studies of Q10 and heart failure published this February.

If these results continue to be repeated in larger future studies probably all people with heart failure will be offered supplementation. As tens of millions of people worldwide suffer from heart failure this could be somewhat revolutionary.

As usual, the development runs the risk of being slowed down because no pharmaceutical company can patent Q10. It is an endogenous substance present in the food we eat, though in smaller amounts than those tested in the this study. Anyone can make and sell the supplement.

By all accounts, supplementation of Q10 is safe and essentially free from side effects (see expert comments here). The only exception is that it, like many other substances, may reduce the effectiveness of the medication Warfarin somewhat (the Warfarin dose may need to be slightly increased in the future when taking Q10).

It You Want to Test Q10

In the study above the dose 100 mg three times daily of Q10 was used (this corresponds to the amount of Q10 in ten kg (22 lbs) of meat daily).

The same supplement may easily be bought without a prescription in health food stores.

Here’s the most popular brand of CoQ10 on Amazon.com*

More Studies on Q10

I read up some more on CoQ10 and pulled out the most recent high quality studies (RCT and meta-analyses of such) from PubMed. Here are the most exciting findings:

More

Previously on heart disease

Previously on supplements

*/ I get no money if you order CoQ10 here.

More about the free updates that people get.

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20 Comments

  1. Ellie
    Nice to see some great preliminary findings on the heart front with a supplement not requiring a prescription! I wonder how long until a pharmaceutical company drops down to try to sell a statin/CoQ10 combo drug, essentially renewing an expired patent.
  2. Tom Welsh
    Why not just eat more meat and fish?
  3. Frances
    Cardiiologist, Dr Stephen Sinatra has been advising his patients for years to use CoQ10 along with Ribosr, L-Carnitine and Magnesium to improve heart function in failing hearts. We are currently following his recommendations for my husband who had advanced heart failure . He is still taking his cardiac meds---NO STATINS!!!!! We hope that is a few months we will see if he has more energy than he currently has.. We also eat a fairly LCHF diet though he has yet to give up wheat. Sinatra has published several books on his approach and I am glad to see this get more attention.
  4. Sandy
    Yes-My 83 year old Mother was diagnosed with Congestive Heart Failure. She refused surgery because of her age and the Doctors gave her 6 months to live. I started researching and came across studies done on CQ10 and immediately put her on 300mg a day of the top quality I could find. She lived another 2 1/2 years
  5. Dan
    Linus Pauling !
  6. gallier2
    Prof.Langsjoen of University of Dallas had made some studies already some years ago and found also a significant better outcome on congestive heart failures with CoQ10.
  7. Allessio77
    This looks great. But tell me, is Ubiquinol and CoQ10 that same? I notice the Ubiquinol is about twice the cost! Would the dosage (100 mg TID) be the same for either?
  8. Eddie Mitchell
    Big Pharma knew the Dangers of statins and coenzyme Q10 levels decades ago. Check around any diabetes or health related forum or blog and the downside of statin drugs is a regular feature. People report many side effects from memory loss to muscle pain. The heart of course is a muscle, and is also at risk from statin damage. This I find extremely worrying and ironic, as the medics ply patients with statins to allegedly lower cholesterol, to err reduce the chance of a heart attack. It is now known statins deplete coenzyme Q10 levels, and this problem should be addressed for statin users. Very few people on the aforementioned forums or blogs, mention their Doctors have addressed maintaining coenzyme Q10 levels. I knew of the situation regarding statins and the coenzyme Q10 some time ago, but the real stunner for me was when I found out Merck Pharmaceuticals knew of the problem in June 1990.

    The pharmaceutical company, Merck, was issued a patent (4,933,165) on a special medication combining a statin medication and Co-Enzyme Q10. The sad news is this special combination medication was never made available to the public. It was basically put on the shelf and forgotten.

    To read the entire patent, download the patent and see what has been hidden from the public for over 20 years.

    Download CoQ10-Statin Patent

    http://www.functionalmedicineuniversity.com/statin-CoQ10.pdf

    Eddie

  9. Razwell
    Great article. I enjoyed it.

    I want to remind the Blogosphere that there is no such thing as "The Scientific Method." There is no single or singular method that all scientists follow. None.

    Scientists use an enormous amount of methods- many, many methods that are all very different.

  10. Dawn Cox
    I can testify to these findings, my mother had two heart attacks. she was introduced to CoQ10 which brought about a miraculous improvement in her health.
  11. Robert Roberts
    Yikes Doc! This sounds really positive... I have had NYHA Stage 3 Heart Failure for 4 years, characterised as Idiopathic CHF, and with Meds and CRT, I've been stable over this period, but my weight has gone up gradually; Not a good thing in the circumstances. I've been introduced to the Nordic diet by Norwegian friends concerned for my health. I've already benefited, in a matter of 6 weeks or so, by losing weight steadily, through better energy levels, and through an inexplicable and very welcome sense of improved well-being. Always looking to educate myself better, I visit this site often and have been given more, and more positive, information then just about anywhere else. For instance, your interview with Mary Vernon stopped me in my tracks! "Patients with Ejection Fractions of 10-15% improved to 50-60%" That's just not supposed to be possible! Where can I find out more on this topic? And now CoQ10! It just keeps getting better. Thanks, from the bottom of my broken heart.
  12. Simon
    No shit, Sherlock! You give people a HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor (aka statins), which inhibits the production of CoQ10. CoQ10 is essential for functioning of the Electron Transport Chain which produces the bulk of energy in your cells. Muscle cells need a lot of energy. The heart is a muscle. Then you give people CoQ10 exogenously and they get better. Why don't just take away the HMG-CoA reductase inhibitor that is causing the lack of CoQ10 in the first place?
    Reply: #13
  13. sten bj
    Simon, agree totally, but there are actually better reasons to take CoQ10 I just found out, and the good doc is not recommending statins often as I understand it!
    Statins are (also) known to RAISE blood sugar.
    Elevated blood sugar cause a substance called NFAT that normally resides in blood vessels, to create inflammation. ( This is something I think soon may result in a new "wonder medicine" that replaces statins as the no. one seller...., but that is for another day. Trials are already being made, but how to present the mechanism? It is the damage from blood sugar(!) = high carb diets that is inhibited with the medicine, now being tested on mice in Lund in Sweden.)

    Another unmentioned aspect of CoQ10 is that it is also known to REDUCE(!) blood sugar! which would explain a substantial part of its good effects in the light of the NFAT research results. If yes, it is clearly right to take CoQ10 with statins to achieve status quo in at least this aspect.

    CoQ10 could be something for diabetics, but diabetics are WARNED for the blood sugar lowering effect, despite of no known long term side effects and no explanation of the mechanism. On the other hand we know that insulin also lowers BS, and more insulin increases insulin resistance, which is regarded as one of the main cause of diabetes-2, which usually progresses with heart disease which becomes the cause of early death of the vast majority of diabetic sufferers.

    Instead of taking any of the two, only LCHF was a perfect answer for me.
    The effort angina I suffered from for 7 years disappeared after 6 weeks on strict LCHF, a diet without any daily blood sugar and insulin baths from sugar, cereals, potatoes, pasta, rice and bread...,.
    I took no Statins or CoQ10 during this time, or after.

    But maybe CoQ10 can if taken before bed at night has a stalling effect on liver glucogenesis ?
    That is one of the few long term problems with low carb, often showing up through stalling weight loss after a year or so. The liver then overproduces glucose during nights resulting in high morning BS readings, sometimes 5.5 -7 even for non diabetics, which results in elevated insulin, fat storing and compensatory food intake. Jimmy Moore got out of it through lowering protein intake and strength exercises, guided by daily BS and ketone metering.

    My diabetic-2 friend told me that 30 minutes hard exercise will now keep his blood sugar perfect for 2 days while on low carbs. A glass of wine at night does the same thing, but for the next day only.
    The exercise works to keep BS down due to that replenishment time of glycogen depots increase substantially with little or no dietary carbs, while the latter is due to that the liver is forced to clear alcohol instead of producing glucose from proteins during the night. But why is the liver raising the blood sugar "when it isn't really needed" ?
    If it is due to remaining or "physiological" insulin resistance or/and due to hunger signals from insulin resistant cells reaching the liver, another solution could be close!

    A quick search gave that CoQ10 is actually also believed to IMPROVE INSULIN SENSITIVITY.
    If it stands scrutiny it could hardly be better because:
    Fasting insulin is the strongest known independent marker for heart disease which is directly correlated to insulin resistance, level proportional. That is the result from very large studies, including a huge UK study checking all known markers for correlation with subsequent CVD.
    Here link to another prospective study of originally healthy normal weight men showing unreal correlation between insulin resistance then and subsequent events of cancer, diabetes and CVD, on average 6 years later.
    here:http://jcem.endojournals.org/content/86/8/3574.long
    The good doc may have something new and important also for us long term low carbers this time. I will yet continue with increased walks and the wine, especially when extra (grass fed) proteins are consumed, which I believe is in agreement with his recommendations,in moderation.

  14. dan
    "linus pauling therapy" - read about it
  15. Jorge
    Hello guys,

    Everytime I've tried to start ketogenic diet I felt terrible. generaly I feel headaches, dizziness and sweat A LOT, which is very embarassing. The sweating thing is probably related to my insuline resistence. the most I could handle on this situation was 2 weeks, and I couldn't get more than that. Do you believe that if I stick a little more on the diet all these symptoms will go away?? this is very bad wake up during the night sweating a lot (Even with 14 degrees we are having right now) with head ache and feeling like I was hit by a bus!

    this kind of problems generally makes me give up the diet and back to the starches, where I feel better. :-(

    The logic says LCHF is the solution, but when I try I don't feel fine.

    Reply: #17
  16. Sam
    You probably just need more salt
  17. Zepp
    Almoste everyone have those transitation problems.. more or less!

    And one have to make it 3-4 weeks for moste of us!

    There are som cures, that make it easyer, drink broth, a lot of water and take some extra salt and magnesium!

    First you get glucose shortage, then you feel tired and can get some headache.

    And then one lose a lot of water, and one pee a lot, and lose sodium and other minerals!

    Try the salt trick.. take a small spone of salt and put it in a glass of water, drink it.. if you feel better after a time, it was salt defiency.

    If you realy is insulin resistante, then its diet or pills.. wich do you prefer.. anf did you know, one can do it with a smother transitation, to reduce the side effects!

    Cut out the worste carbs first, like sugar and flour, keep some tubers for a time!

  18. oolichan
    This article reminded me of one written by Dr. William Davis where he stresses the importance of taking CoQ10 in an oil-based gelcap form rather than capsules that contain powder.

    http://blog.trackyourplaque.com/2007/09/statin-drugs-and-coenzyme-q10...

    He states: “The preparation also must–MUST–be an oil-based gelcap to work (just like vitamin D). The capsules that contain powder are so poorly absorbed that they usually fail to yield the needed effects.”

  19. Ann Shirley
    This is a very interesting study. I understand that CoQ10 is a very valuable supplement to take. I have been taking it to lower my cholesterol for years. I know that this ultimately has helped to improve my overall heart health, but I never knew it could be so beneficial for people who have experienced heart failure. It sounds like coq10 is a very important statin to include in your daily diet.
  20. vkool
    Thank you for sharing this with us. I have gained some more information on heart failure after reading this writing from you. The heart is the best friend of ours. We have to respect it by choosing suitable food to eat and rest when we are tired.
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