CoQ10 supplementation may help with congestive heart failure issues

Congestive heart failure is a serious, life-threatening illness. It occurs when the heart cannot pump blood efficiently and it backs up in the lungs and other tissues. It affects almost 6 million people each year and carries a 20 percent or more mortality rate.

The severity of congestive heart failure has been associated with a decrease in coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) in the heart cells. CoQ10 is found in all human cells in the mitochondria. The mitochondria are the “power house” of the cell and CoQ10 is critical for the production of energy molecules adenosine triphosphate (ATP).

Over 90 percent of our energy come from the ATP generated using CoQ10. Those organs that have the highest metabolic rate, like the heart, also have the greatest number of mitochondria per cell and CoQ10. Therefore, optimal CoQ10 levels is critical for their function.

It has been discovered that CoQ10 levels are often very low in the cells of heart muscle in people with congestive heart failure. This may, in part, explain why heart muscle in people with congestive heart failure is not strong enough to maintain good cardiac output. Test tube and animal studies have demonstrated that adding CoQ10 to damaged heart muscle improved their strength and function.

There have been numerous reports that supplementation with CoQ10 improved many of the symptoms of congestive heart failure including exercise stamina, shortness of breath and leg swelling. More recent medical studies have supported these early reports of symptom improvement with CoQ10.

A 2013 summary of medical research, Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, showed that the ability of the heart to pump blood improved almost 4 percent (small but clinically significant improvement) with CoQ10 supplementation. A large study (420 participants) presented in the American College of Cardiology Foundation (2014) used 300 mg of CoQ10 daily over a two-year period. The results demonstrated not only improved symptoms, but a reduction in serious heart-related hospitalizations including sudden death, mechanical support for the heart, and even heart transplantation.

CoQ10 is remarkably devoid of serious side effects, but it is contraindicated in those taking the blood thinner warfarin.

Although there are no current traditional medical recommendations for CoQ10 in the treatment of congestive heart failure, there is enough research for me to recommend it to my patients with congestive heart failure.

There is also good research to suggest that CoQ10 is effective as a preventive for migraine headaches suggesting that this type of headache may be related to mitochondrial function and CoQ10 levels in the brain. However, there is no compelling evidence that CoQ10 prevents heart disease, lowers blood pressure or is an effective treatment for cancer.

Interestingly the evidence that CoQ10 prevents muscle pain sometimes associated with the statin cholesterol-lowering medications is also lacking (I still prescribe it for this type of muscle pain).

Meat and fish are the best dietary sources of CoQ10, however they do not provide the amount of CoQ10 needed in most studies. CoQ10 Supplementation is the best way to get larger amounts of CoQ10. Taking CoQ10 with a fatty meal dramatically enhances absorption.

• Patrick B. Massey, MD, PH.D., is medical director for complementary and alternative medicine at Alexian Brothers Hospital Network and president of ALT-MED Medical and Physical Therapy, 1544 Nerge Road, Elk Grove Village. His website is


HeartSavior™ Cholesterol Supplement has 7 Proven Natural Ingredients, CoQ10, Red Yeast Rice, Policosanol, Niacin.


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