Written by Dr. Laura Jones
Heart disease, specifically heart failure, is a growing concern among Americans. There are several potential causes of heart failure, all have a commonality of weakening the heart. These include damage to the heart due to heart attack, hypertension (high blood pressure), coronary artery disease, and diabetes and obesity. Lifestyle habits such as smoking and a sedentary lifestyle also contribute to the risk of developing heart failure.
Historically, treatments for heart failure have focused on symptom management, including medications for fluid retention, irregular heartbeat, and kidney damage. New research, however, reveals that there are tools that may allow the heart to regain some function by improving the energy production inside of cardiomyocytes, the cells responsible for generating contractive force in the heart.
One star nutrient among the research for heart failure is coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10). The body creates coenzyme Q10 inside the mitochondria, the power houses of our cells. Randomized controlled trials investigating the effectiveness of CoQ10 have found that patients with heart failure who supplemented with this nutrient had a lower mortality rate, as well as improved capacity for physical movement (Lei L, 2017). Many patients suffering with heart failure have a commonality, a decrease in production of ATP (energy) within the cells of the heart muscle, the cardiomyocytes. CoQ10 is a key-component of the electron transport chain, part of the powerhouse inside mitochondria. As a result, CoQ10 is necessary for ATP production in the heart. This is one main reason it is so promising as a treatment for improving heart health.
A literature review published in 2018, suggests that there is a benefit to employing CoQ10 as an adjunct therapy in many cardiac and metabolic diseases, such as high cholesterol, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and hypertension (Zozina, 2018). The authors go on to report that CoQ10 may improve quality of life and decrease morbidity and mortality for patients living with these conditions. Trials referenced in this review were using doses between 100mg and 300mg of CoQ10 daily.
More research on upregulating mitochondrial function in patients with cardiometabolic disorders will be of significant value in providing a deeper toolbox for our addressing their needs. Early detection and treatment are critical to prevent progression of disease.
- Lei L, Liu Y. Efficacy of coenzyme Q10 in patients with cardiac failure: a meta-analysis of clinical trials. BMC Cardiovasc Disord. 2017;17(1):196. doi:1186/s12872-017-0628-9
- Zozina VI, Covantev S, Goroshko OA, Krasnykh LM, Kukes VG. Coenzyme Q10 in cardiovascular and metabolic diseases: current state of the problem. Curr Cardio Rev. 2018;14(3):164-174. doi:2174/1573403X14666180416115428