About 610,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every year–that’s 1 in every 4 deaths. It remains the single leading cause of death in America today, accounting for over 40% of all healthcare expenditures. (1) While these statistics are sobering, it is important to know that there are steps we can take to promote or restore healthy heart function. Healthy nutrition and moderate exercise can significantly reduce chances of heart-related problems. There are also some key nutrients that work better than others to nourish the heart.
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) or ubiquinone is found in small amounts in a wide variety of foods and is synthesized in all tissues from the amino acid tyrosine. It was first isolated from beef heart mitochondria by Dr. Frederick Crane in 1957(2,3). That same year, Professor Morton of England defined a compound obtained from vitamin A deficient rat liver to be the same as CoQ10(4). In 1958, Professor Karl Folkers and coworkers determined the precise chemical structure of CoQ10, synthesized it, and were the first to produce it by fermentation. CoQ10 is not considered a vitamin because it is manufactured in the body.
CoQ10 is present in every cell’s mitochondria – the power stations of our cells – and is vital for energy production. The electron transport energy system in the mitochondria can make more energy – in the form of ATP – than any other energy-producing system in the body. However, without CoQ10, ATP production is greatly diminished. Without ATP there is no cellular energy. Without cellular energy there is cell death. CoQ10 has, therefore, rightly been referred to as essential for the maintenance of quality of life.
CoQ10 and the Heart
CoQ10 is known to be highly concentrated in heart muscle cells due to the high energy requirements of these cells. For example, congestive heart failure (from a wide variety of causes) has been strongly correlated with significantly low blood and tissue levels of CoQ10 (5). The severity of heart failure correlates with the severity of CoQ10 deficiency(6). The progression of heart failure can be slowed significantly by reversing CoQ10 deficiency.
CoQ10 is responsible for:
Increasing energy production in the heart
Increasing the heart’s ability to contract
Lowering blood pressure
Production of CoQ10 is known to decrease with age and when certain nutrients, such as “good fats”, are omitted from the diet.
Medications such as statin drugs also reduce CoQ10 production. Statins are a class of medicines that are frequently used to lower blood cholesterol levels. These medications are able to block the action of an enzyme called HMG CoA reductase(7,11) that is necessary for making cholesterol in the liver. Due to this action, they also inhibit the body’s ability to make its own CoQ10. Supplementation of CoQ10 is therefore critical in anyone who is taking statins.
CoQ10 Absorption and Uptake: Micellization
CoQ10 is lipophilic (fat loving) rather than hydrophilic (water loving). This means it is not soluble in water and therefore hard to bring into the body. While some recommend taking dry CoQ10 with a fat source (e.g. olive oil or peanut butter) to facilitate uptake, that is likely to produce only minimal improvement in absorption – 5% – 10% at best. Some utilize chemical solvents such as propylene and ethylene glycol to deliver CoQ10 into cells. These are not suitable methods of providing the body a proper amount of CoQ10.
A more effective method of delivering meaningful amounts of CoQ10 is through a process called micellization. This advanced delivery method disperses active CoQ10 into tiny droplets of oil for vastly improved uptake. The choice of oil used makes a difference in uptake as well. Vegetable oils such as soybean oil and peanut oil, as well as hydrogenated fats, actually retard rather than facilitate the CoQ10 uptake. In contrast, oils with high gamma oryzanol content, such as rice bran oil, can deliver a 3 to 6-fold increase in CoQ10 uptake.
Healthy people who want to maintain a high level of health with advancing years might need 60 mg/day. Someone who wants to enhance heart or brain health and function might need 100-1200 mg/day for a period of a month or two until heart or brain function has been restored. CoQ10 intake may then be reduced to a maintenance level of 60 to 300mg/day, depending on individual need.
PERQUE Mito Guard Plus delivers pure CoQ10 micellized in rice bran oil with gamma oryzanol and mixed tocopherols for increased cellular energy and healthier heart function. See PERQUE Mito Guard Plus product sheet for additional information. Call 800.525.7372 to order.
1. CDC, NCHS. Underlying Cause of Death 1999-2013 on CDC WONDER Online Database, released 2015. 2. Langsjoen, Peter H. Introduction to coenzyme Q10 (web)
3. Crane F L, Hatefi Y, Lester R I, Widmer C. Isolation of a quinone from beef heart mitochondria. In: Biochimica et Biophys. Acta, 1957; 25: 220-221.
4. Morton R A, Wilson G M, Lowe J S, Leat W M F Ubiquinone. In: Chemical Industry, 1649, 1957.
5. Folkers K, Vadhanavikit S, Mortensen S A. Biochemical rationale and myocardial tissue data on the effective therapy of cardiomyopathy with coenzyme Q10. In: Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci., U.S.A., 1985: 82(3); 901-904.
6. Mortensen S A, Vadhanavikit S, Folkers K. Deficiency of coenzyme Q10 in myocardial failure. In: Drugs Exptl. Clin. Res. 1984; X(7): 497-502.
7. Langsjoen P H, Langsjoen J O, Langsjoen A M, Lucas L A. Treatment of statin adverse effects with supplemental Coenzyme Q10 and statin drug discontinuation. Biofactors. 2005; 25(1-4):147-152.
8. Elisaf M, Bairaktari E, Katopodis K, Pappas M, Sferopoulos G, Tzallas C, Tsolas O, Siamopoulos KC.Effect of L-carnitine supplementation on lipid parameters in hemodialysis patients.Am J Nephrol. 1998;18(5): 416-4219. Xiang D, Sun Z, Xia J, Dong N, Du X, Chen X. Effect of L-carnitine on cardiomyocyte apoptosis and cardiac function in patients undergoing heart valve replacement operation. J Huazhong Univ Sci Technolog Med Sci. 2005; 25(5):501-504.
10. Ryo K, Ito A, Takatori R, Tai Y, Arikawa K, Seido T, Yamada T, Shinpo K, Tamaki Y, Fujii K, Yamamoto Y, Saito I. Effects of coenzyme Q10 on salivary secretion. Clin Biochem. 2011 Jun;44(8-9):669-74.
11. Richard Deichmann, MD,* Carl Lavie, MD,† and Samuel Andrews, MD‡ Coenzyme Q10 and Statin-Induced Mitochondrial Dysfunction. Ochsner J. 2010 Spring; 10(1): 16–21.