Coenzyme Q10 (Co Q10) is produced by the human body and is necessary for basic cell function. Co Q10 functions as an antioxidant. Co Q10 is naturally present in small amounts in a variety of foods, but is particularly high in organ meats such as heart, liver and kidney, as well as beef, soy oil, sardines, mackerel, and peanuts. Co Q10 is synthesized in all tissues and a healthy individuals normal levels are maintained both by Co Q10 intake and by Co Q10 synthesis. It has no known toxicity or side effects.
Co Q10 levels decrease with age and are generally low in patients with certain chronic diseases including heart conditions, muscular dystrophies, Parkinson’s disease, cancer, diabetes, and HIV/AIDS. Some prescription drugs can also lower Co Q10 levels. Levels of Co Q10 in the body can be increased by taking Co Q10 supplements.
Coenzyme Q10 and Heart Disease
Co Q10 is highly concentrated in heart muscle cells due to the high energy requirements of this cell type. Recent Co Q10 studies focus on heart disease, specifically, congestive heart failure which has been strongly correlated with significantly low blood and tissue levels of Co Q10. The severity of heart failure correlates with the severity of Co Q10 deficiency. This Co Q10 deficiency may cause heart muscle dysfunction.
What are CoQ10 Supplements
CoQ10 supplements are made from enzymes, amino acids, trace elements, and vitamins that encourage the body to create (biosynthesise) Coenzyme Q10. Every cell in the body has the ability to make Coenzyme Q10, but not all cells make the same amount. The muscles, heart, kidneys, liver, and pancreas are responsible for the bulk of your body’s Coenzyme Q10 synthesis. The CoQ10 supplement in Heart Savior encourages this synthesis. Coenzyme Q10 biosynthesis is a long and complex series of biochemical reactions requiring a broad spectrum of vitamins, N-Acetyl Cysteine, other amino acids, and various trace elements. The benzoquinone portion of Coenzyme Q10 is synthesized from the amino acid tyrosine, while the isoprene side chain is synthesized from acetyl-CoA through the mevalonate pathway.
CoQ10 Research and Trials
Pioneering trials of Co Q10 in heart failure consisted primarily of patients with dilated weak heart muscle with unknown causes. Co Q10 was added to standard treatments for heart failure such as fluid pills, digitalis preparations, and ACE inhibitors. Several trials involved the comparison between supplemental Co Q10 and placebo on heart function as measured by echocardiography. Co Q10 was given orally in divided doses as a dry tablet chewed with a fat containing food or an oil based gel cap taken at mealtime. Heart function, as indicated by the fraction of blood pumped out of the heart with each beat, showed a gradual and sustained improvement in tempo with a gradual and sustained improvement in symptoms of fatigue, dyspnea, chest pain, and palpitations. The degree of improvement was occasionally dramatic with some patients developing a normal heart size and function on Co Q10 alone. Most of these dramatic cases were patients who began Co Q10 shortly after the onset of congestive heart failure. Patients with more established disease frequently showed clear improvement, but not a return to normal heart size and function.
There have been at least nine placebo controlled studies on the treatment of heart disease with Co Q10: two in Japan, two in the United States, two in Italy, two in Germany, and one in Sweden. All nine of these studies confirm the effectiveness of Co Q10 as well as its remarkable safety. There have now been eight international symposia on the biomedical and clinical aspects of Co Q10 (from 1976 through 1993). These eight symposia included over 300 papers presented by approximately 200 different physicians and scientists from 18 different countries. The majority of these scientific papers were Japanese (34%), with American (26%), Italian (20%) and the remaining 20% from Sweden, Denmark, Germany, United Kingdom, Belgium, Australia, Austria, France, India, Korea, Netherlands, Poland, Switzerland, USSR, and Finland. The majority of the clinical studies concerned the treatment of heart disease and were remarkably consistent in their conclusions that treatment with Co Q10 significantly improved heart muscle function while producing no adverse side effects or negative drug interactions.
The efficacy and safety of Co Q10 in the treatment of congestive heart failure, whether related to primary cardiomyopathies or secondary forms of heart failure, appears to be well established. The largest study to date is the Italian multicenter trial, by Baggio et al., involving 2664 patients with heart failure.
Recent work in heart failure examines the effect of Co Q10 on diastolic dysfunction, one of the earliest identifiable signs of myocardial failure that is often found in mitral valve prolapse, hypertensive heart disease and certain fatigue syndromes. Diastolic dysfunction might be considered the common denominator and a basic cause of symptoms in these three diagnostic groups of disease. Diastole is the filling phase of the cardiac cycle. Diastolic function has a larger cellular energy requirement than the systolic contraction and, therefore, the process of diastolic relaxation is more highly energy dependent and more highly dependent on Co Q10. This means it takes more energy to fill the heart than to empty it. Diastolic dysfunction is a stiffening of the heart muscle that interferes with the heart’s ability to function as an effective pump. It is seen early with many common cardiac disorders and is detectable by echocardiography. The stiffening can return towards normal with supplemental Co Q10.