The strongest and most hard-working muscle in your body, your heart is also associated with vulnerability . . . and for good reason. Powerhouse though it may be, the heart is living tissue that requires proper nourishment.
Along with vitamin E, which we wrote about last week, a nutrient called coenzyme Q10, or CoQ10, is essential for keeping your heart strong and healthy. Yet it’s quite possible your CoQ10 levels are suboptimal, leading to a condition that underlies many heart problems called “energy-starved heart.”
Every cell in your body contains hundreds of little energy factories called mitochondria. CoQ10 facilitates various chemical reactions in the mitochondria’s energy-producing process. Simply put, when you lack CoQ10, you lack energy. Your muscles, including your heart, may be ready, willing and able, but there’s just not enough fuel in the tank. Even minor deficiencies in CoQ10 can impair heart function and eventually damage the heart itself.
CoQ10 plays yet another crucial role in cardiovascular health: keeping the “bad” cholesterol, LDL, from becoming oxidized—the first step in developing atherosclerosis. According to Raymond Francis in his article “Heart Disease,”
“. . . it is only when cholesterol is oxidized that it becomes dangerous. Numerous studies have shown that if you prevent cholesterol from becoming oxidized, heart disease does not happen. . . . Eating a non‐inflammatory diet and taking antioxidant supplements will help to protect cholesterol from oxidation.”
Vitamin E is the central antioxidant that prevents cholesterol oxidation, but it requires CoQ10 to be effective. Optimally you’ll find both CoQ10 and vitamin E in each and every LDL cholesterol particle, protecting it against oxidation.
Now our bodies can make CoQ10, so we should always have enough, right?
Well not always. According to CoQ10 expert Peter Langsjoen, making CoQ10 is a complex, 17-step process requiring at least 7 vitamins and several trace elements. He argues that since suboptimal nutrient intake is almost universal, this process is usually impaired, and “normal” levels of CoQ10 are probably already low.
Then there are additional factors that deplete CoQ10 levels: disease, aging, some medications (especially statin drugs) and other stressors.
We suggest that anyone over the age of 50, or dealing with a chronic disease, supplement with at least 100 mg of CoQ10 daily; 200-300 mg per day or more if you have heart disease, especially if taking statin drugs. (Note that at very high doses, CoQ10 may have anti-coagulant effects.)
There’s been a lot of confusion about CoQ10, with everyone claiming to have the best. Well, the best CoQ10 begins with a very pure CoQ10. It then needs to be mixed with the right oil for maximum absorption, micellized in the right way, and energized with co-factors that help it get absorbed not only into the bloodstream but into the cells and mitochondria.
Although it’s more labor and cost intensive, that’s how we make our CoQ10 at Beyond Health. Making supplements the way they should be made to benefit your health—that’s what we’re all about.
- Francis R. Heart Disease. beyondheatlh.com
- Thomas SR. Cosupplementation with coenzyme Q prevents the pro-oxidant effect of α-tocopherol and increases the resistance of LDL to transition metal–dependent oxidation initiation. Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology. 1996;16:687-696.
- Langsjoen PH. Introduction to coenzyme Q10. Tyler, Texas; 1994.