CoQ10 cuts death rates by all causes in half
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a substance that’ s found naturally in the body and helps convert food into energy. Energy is needed for the cells to do their work, and each cell of the body can make CoQ10 on its own. There are several forms of coenzyme Q but Q10 is the main form found in humans and animals. CoQ10 is also present in several foods such as walnuts, chicken, tuna and soybean oil. CoQ10 is used in alternative medicine to help in the treatment of several health conditions including heart failure. People with congestive heart failure (heart cannot pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs) have low levels of CoQ10.
Statin medications are the first-line treatment for patients diagnosed with coronary heart disease because they block the synthesis of cholesterol, but these drugs also block the synthesis of CoQ10, which further decreases levels in the body. Double blind controlled trials have shown that CoQ10 improves symptoms, functional capacity and quality of life in patients with heart failure with no side effects. But until now, no trials have been statistically powered to address effects on survival.
The encouraging results with CoQ10 in heart failure constitute the background for the Q-SYMBIO studymultinational, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial with 420 patients with severe heart failure in NYHA (New York Heart Association) classes III – IV who received standard therapy for chronic heart failure received treatment with CoQ10 300mg daily or a placebo and followed for two years in order to to test the hypothesis that CoQ10 may reduce cardiovascular morbidity and mortality in patients with severe chronic heart failure. The primary endpoint was time to first major adverse cardiovascular event (MACE) which included unplanned hospitalization due to worsening of heart failure, cardiovascular death, urgent cardiac transplantation and mechanical circulatory support. Centers which had participated were located in Denmark, Sweden, Austria, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary, India, Malaysia and Australia.
The results showed CoQ10 decreased the risk of major adverse cardiovascular event (MACE) by 50% with 29 patients in the CoQ10 group reaching the primary endpoint compared to 55 patients in the placebo group. CoQ10 was also found to cut the risk of dying from all causes in half, which occurred in 18 patients in the CoQ10 group in comparison to 36 patients in the placebo group.
CoQ10 treated patients had significantly lower cardiovascular mortality and lower occurrence of hospitalizations for heart failure. There were also fewer adverse events in the CoQ10 group in comparison to the placebo group.
Professor Svend Aage Mortensen, Fellow of the European Society of Cardiology, researcher n the Heart Centre at the University Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark and lead author stated “CoQ10 is the first medication to improve survival in chronic heart failure since ACE inhibitors and beta blockers more than a decade ago and should be added to standard heart failure therapy.”
Professor Mortensen adds “Other heart failure medications block rather than enhance cellular processes and may have side effects. Supplementation with CoQ10, which is a natural and safe substance, corrects a deficiency in the body and blocks the vicious metabolic cycle in chronic heart failure called the energy starved heart.”
Even though CoQ10 is present in food the levels are insufficient to have an impact on heart failure. CoQ10 is sold as a food supplement however, Professor Mortensen says “Food supplements can influence the effect of other medications including anticoagulants and patients should seek advice from their doctor before taking them.”
Patients with ischaemic heart disease who use statins could also benefit from CoQ10 supplementation.
“We have no controlled trials demonstrating that statin therapy plus CoQ10 improves mortality more than statins alone. But statins reduce CoQ10, and circulating CoQ10 prevents the oxidation of LDL effectively, so I think ischaemic patients should supplement statin therapy with CoQ10,” concludes Professor Mortensen.
These results were presented yesterday at European Society of Cardiology, Heart Failure Congress 2013 in Lisbon, Final Programme Number 440, “Coenzyme Q10 as adjunctive treatment of chronic heart failure: a randomised double blind multicentre trial with focus on changes in symptoms, biomarker status with BNP and long term outcome.”
More information on CoQ10 can be viewed online at Dr.Weil.com.