CoQ10: The Other Vitamin

Coenzyme Q10 and its Preventive Value

Numerous studies have shown that pretreatment with Coenzyme Q10 helps heart patients come through open heart surgeries in better health and with shorter recovery times than those who have not been so treated.

This is because CoQ10 possesses the ability to protect the heart during periods of ischemia, or oxygen deprivation. CoQ10 has helped cardiomyopathy patients to live well beyond their usual life expectancies. In a study performed in 1998, CoQ10 was shown to halve the total number of subsequent cardiovascular incidents in patients who had suffered myocardial infarctions (heart attack), as long as the CoQ10 was begun within three days of the infarction.

Perhaps more importantly, supplementation with CoQ10 has a preventative effect-preventative against lack of oxygen, and against certain heart medications. Yes, heart medications.

Strange as it may seem, certain heart medications that are prescribed to reduce cholesterol levels actually block the production of CoQ10!

Additionally, researchers believe that CoQ10 “prevents” the oxidation of low-density lipoproteins (LDL; i.e., the “bad” cholesterol), making it an important supplement for anyone with high cholesterol. It is bound to the LDL by Vitamin E.

CoEnzyme Q10 And Parkinson’s Disease:

Recent studies indicate that Coenzyme Q10 can help reduce the effects of Parkinson’s Disease. Here is the source of that information, and the details of the study:

Funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, conducted at the University of California at San Diego, and published in a recent issue of Archives of Neurology, the study demonstrates that Coenzyme Q10 slows the progress of early-stage Parkinson’s Disease.

Patients diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease for 5 years were divided into four groups and given varying amounts of Coenzyme Q10 and Vitamin E. The four groups were as follows: 300mg of CoQ10, 600mg of CoQ10, 1200mg of CoQ10 or Placebo, all with Vitamin E (i.e., Vitamin E was used in all groups). The patients’ improvement in mental function, motor ability and activities of daily living were dose-dependent; those receiving 1200 mg of CO Q10 each day showed the greatest improvement (44% less decline in the above function categories as compared to the placebo group). Patients receiving smaller amounts of CO Q10 did not fare as well as those in the 1200 mg group, but did better than those not receiving any CO Q10. Why does CoQ10 help patients with Parkinson’s Disease?

Researchers suspect that it has to do with improved mitochondria function. Mitochondria are the organelles in the body that generate energy; mitochondria in patients with Parkinson’s Disease are depleted of Coenzyme Q10. The Coenzyme Q10 may also protect areas of the brain typically affected in people with Parkinson’s Disease.

Coenzyme Q10 Recommended Supplementation Levels For Parkinson’s Disease:

From the studies we have reviewed, the best performing dosage level for measured improvements is 1,200mg of Coenzyme Q10 per day but a small number of additional studies showing a therapeutic level of 2,400mg of Coenzyme Q10 per day have also occurred. We recommend that you try the 1,200mg per day level first and measure results before moving on to, if necessary, 2,400mg per day.

Special Note About Parkinson’s Disease:

Parkinson’s Disease is a complex medical disease that requires the care and guidance of a competent physician. Coenzyme Q10 is NOT intended to treat, cure or prevent Parkinson’s Disease or related diseases or conditions. Rather, it is intended to provide you with nutritional support to help your body combat this disease as part of a total health program. Follow the guidance of your physician as you fight Parkinson’s Disease, or seek to prevent it. Inform your physician if you decide to use Coenzyme Q10 for additional nutritional support.

Coenzyme Q10 And Congestive Heart Disease:

Coenzyme Q10 is an exciting supplement for patients with Congestive Heart Disease. Recent studies have shown that patients with Congestive Heart Disease (also Heart Failure or Heart Failure candidates for transplants) who supplement with Coenzyme Q10: A double-blind placebo study demonstrated improved functional status, clinical status and quality of life for heart failure patients; A meta-analysis shows that several forms of heart disease, including heart failure and congestive heart disease, respond well to Coenzyme Q10 treatment; A double-blind placebo study of patients with low Coenzyme Q10, L-Carnitine, Creatine and Theamine levels who were supplemented with all the properties, including Coenzyme Q10, showed improvement in myocardial and ventricular function; Additional studies also recommend coenzyme Q10 as adjuvant (meaning added to improve treatment effectiveness) therapy for people with congestive heart disease; However, definitive, large scale clinical studies have not yet been done and so we cannot definitively say that coenzyme Q10 provides effective, proved treatment for congestive heart disease. The results are very promising, but not yet categorically conclusive.

Special Note About Congestive Heart Disease:

Congestive Heart Disease is a complex medical disease that requires the care and guidance of a competent physician, preferably a cardiologist. Coenzyme Q10 is NOT intended to treat, cure or prevent Congestive Heart Disease or related diseases or conditions. Rather, it is intended to provide you with nutritional support to help your body combat this disease as part of a total health program. Follow the guidance of your physician or cardiologist as you fight Congestive Heart Disease or Heart Failure, or seek to prevent it. Inform your physician if you decide to use Coenzyme Q10 for additional nutritional support and discuss its usage with her/him.

Coenzyme Q10 Recommended Supplementation Levels For Congestive Heart Disease:

As with Parkinson’s Disease, based on the studies we have reviewed, the best performing dosage level for measured improvements is 1,200mg of Coenzyme Q10 per day.

How Does Coenzyme Q10 Work?

CoQ10, also known as ubiquinone, a member of the quinone cyclic compounds such as Vitamins E and K, can supply or remove oxygen from biologically active molecules. Every cell in your body contains many intercellular components called mitochondria, which produce 95% of the total energy of the body. Coenzyme Q10 is an integral part of the membranes of the mitochondria where it is involved in the production of ATP (adenosine triphosphate), the basic energy molecules of the cell.

Supplementing Coenzyme Q10 aids in the body’s cellular respiration and energy production; it’s that simple.

Recommended Coenzyme Q10 Supplementation

With the exception of the serious diseases of Parkinson’s Disease and Congestive Heart Disease, we recommend supplementation for cardiovascular health in the amount of 1mg of Coenzyme Q10 per every pound of body weight.

For example, a 150 pound person should supplement with 150mg per day. The above referenced studies on Coenzyme Q10 and Parkinson’s Disease and Congestive Heart Disease showed the greatest benefit when 1200mg of Coenzyme Q10 was taken daily.

Coenzyme Q10 for Relief of Chronic Migraines

(June 16, 2005)-Supplementing with coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) can reduce the frequency of migraines in chronic sufferers, reports a study in Neurology (2005;64:713-5). The results of this study add to the growing list of nutritional and herbal remedies that have been proven effective for migraine prevention.

Energy production in brain cells is impaired in migraine sufferers, and as CoQ10 can enhance energy production, it has the potential to correct this defect and possibly to prevent migraines. Research has shown two other nutrients that play a role in cellular energy production-riboflavin and magnesium-to be effective for migraine prevention. CoQ10 was also reported in a preliminary trial to reduce the recurrence rate of migraines; however, in that study the possibility of a placebo effect could not be ruled out.

In the new study, 42 migraine sufferers were randomly assigned to receive 100 mg of CoQ10 three times a day or a placebo for three months. Migraine frequency decreased progressively in the CoQ10 group, whereas no change was seen in the placebo group. During the third month, the difference in migraine frequency between people receiving CoQ10 and those receiving placebo was statistically significant. The response rate (defined as the proportion of participants who experienced at least a 50% reduction in attack frequency) was 47.6% in the CoQ10 group and 14.4% in the placebo group. There was no difference between groups in the severity or duration of migraines.

Additional research is needed to determine the most effective amount of CoQ10, and whether combining CoQ10 with magnesium and riboflavin would be more effective than using any one of these alone. Although nutritionists have observed that combinations of nutrients frequently work better than single nutrients, a recent study found that riboflavin by itself (25 mg per day) worked as well as, and possibly better than, the daily combination of riboflavin (400 mg), magnesium (300 mg), and the anti-migraine herb feverfew (100 mg). It is possible that one or more of the substances in that combination product interfered with the effects of the others, or that massive doses of riboflavin are less effective than more moderate doses.

In addition to migraine prevention, CoQ10 has been found in some, though not all, studies to be effective for treating congestive heart failure. It has also been used successfully for high blood pressure and periodontal disease, and to slow the progression of Parkinson’s disease. CoQ10 is generally well tolerated, but it can interfere with the effects of anticoagulant drugs such as warfarin (Coumadin).

Alan R. Gaby, MD, an expert in nutritional therapies, testified to the White House Commission on CAM upon request in December 2001. Dr. Gaby served as a member of the Ad-Hoc Advisory Panel of the National Institutes of Health Office of Alternative Medicine. He is the author of Preventing and Reversing Osteoporosis (Prima, 1994), and co-author of The Natural Pharmacy, 2nd Edition (Healthnotes, Three Rivers Press, 1999), the A-Z Guide to Drug-Herb-Vitamin Interactions (Healthnotes, Three Rivers Press, 1999), Clinical Essentials Volume 1 and 2 (Healthnotes, 2000), and The Patient’s Book of Natural Healing (Prima, 1999). A former professor at Bastyr University of Natural Health Sciences, in Kenmore, WA, where he served as the Endowed Professor of Nutrition, Dr. Gaby is the Chief Medical Editor for Healthnotes, Inc.

Author: Alan R. Gaby, MD