Coenzyme Q10 and people taking statin medications

Yes, cholesterol lowering statin medications have proven to be effective at lowering cholesterol. Yes, statin medications are generally well-tolerated. But … statin medications inhibit the body’s synthesis of Coenzyme Q10. Anyone taking a statin medication needs to be taking a supplement to restore the depleted Coenzyme Q10.

Last week, we looked at the question of Coenzyme Q10 supplementation for chronic heart failure patients.  We know that chronic heart failure patients have abnormally reduced levels of Coenzyme Q10 in both their blood and their heart muscle tissue [Folkers 1985, Kitamura 1984].  We know that supplementation with Coenzyme Q10 can increase blood Coenzyme Q10 levels and can improve outcomes in the treatment of chronic heart failure and in coronary artery bypass surgery [Morisco 1993, Mortensen 2014, Rosenfeldt 2002].

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Coenzyme Q10 and inflammation

Beautiful woman
Being healthy and in good physical condition means having low levels of inflammation in our bodies. A simple blood test of the levels of C-reactive protein in our blood shows the level of inflammation. The CRP levels predict the risk of heart disease and stroke. Daily supplementation with Coenzyme Q10 and the trace element selenium has been shown to reduce CRP and inflammation levels.

Data from gold standard studies – randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies – indicate that daily supplementation with Coenzyme Q10 significantly reduces the levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) in the body.  Our bodies produce CRP as a by-product of the inflammation process.  Consequently, increased levels of CRP in the blood indicate increased levels of inflammation.

Inflammation and increased risk of heart disease
Inflammation of our arteries is positively associated with an increased risk of heart disease and heart attack and stroke. Moreover, increased inflammation can be an indicator of other conditions such as infections and arthritis.

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Is Coenzyme Q10 something of a black swan?

There was a time, before Cook discovered Australia, when we thought that all swans are white. Coenzyme Q10 is something of a black swan. For many people, CoQ10’s existence is unknown, and its massive beneficial health effects for heart disease patients are unknown. Coenzyme Q10 is a bio-nutrient that is used as an adjunct to conventional medicines. The Australian researcher Dr. Franklin Rosenfeldt has published extensively on the impact of Coenzyme Q10 supplementation.

Prof. Franklin L. Rosenfeldt, Baker Heart Research Institute, Alfred Hospital, Monash University, Australia, is known to the readers of the articles on this website.  Dr. Rosenfeldt focuses in on the role of Coenzyme Q10 in cardiovascular health and disease.  He is interesting because his research has shown the efficacy of supplementation with Coenzyme Q10 in the following situations:

  • before and after heart surgery
  • in the adjuvant treatment of chronic heart disease
  • in the adjuvant treatment of hypertension
  • in the protection of the aging heart

In this article, I would like to highlight some of the research results that Professor Rosenfeldt and his team of researchers in Australia have achieved.

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Coenzyme Q10 and energy and fitness

swimmers triathlon
Competing in a triathlon or in long distance races requires lots of energy over extended periods. Coenzyme Q10 is instrumental in the body’s production of ATP, the body’s basic unit for the storage of energy in its chemical form.

What about Coenzyme Q10 and energy and physical fitness, I have been wondering.  I know that Coenzyme Q10 in its ubiquinone form plays a vital role in the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) molecules in the mitochondria in the cells.

The ATP molecules are the basic units of energy in the body.  The ATP molecules are what provide the energy for the contraction and extension of muscles.

Q10 and ATP and muscle aches and fatigue
Even when we are rested up, we do not have enough ATP molecules to allow us to exert ourselves intensely for more than a few minutes.  When we exercise very intensively (run sprints, for example) or exercise strenuously for longer periods, our muscle tissues are forced to go from aerobic energy production, i.e. from burning oxygen, to the anaerobic (non-oxygen-burning fermentation) mode of energy production.

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Talking with Dr. Judy about Coenzyme Q10 absorption

Bill Judy Picture
Dr. William Judy holds a Ph.D. in physiology and bio-physics, he taught physiology for many years in the Indiana University College of Medicine, and he has been doing research on the absorption and effects of Coenzyme Q10 for 30 years now. He is currently the chairman of SIBR Research.

How do we get optimal amounts of Coenzyme Q10 to produce the energy that we need?  That is the question that I asked of Dr. Judy.  I wanted Dr. Judy to tell me what conclusions he has arrived at based on his own CoQ10 research studies and on his reading of other CoQ10 research studies.  In what follows, I have summarized many of the important points that Dr. Judy makes.

Subject: the body’s own synthesis of CoQ10
The liver, because of its rather large mass, produces relatively more Coenzyme Q10 than other organs do. In fact, Dr. Karl Folkers thought that the endogenously produced CoQ10 in the blood comes primarily from the liver.  But, Dr. Judy tells me, other organs – the heart, the kidneys, the brain – certainly do also produce Coenzyme Q10.  And, actually, some Coenzyme Q10 is being synthesized in practically all of the cells in the body that have healthy mitochondria.  After all, every cell in the body needs energy to carry out its functions, and the energy production process requires the presence of ubiquinone Q10.

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Why I am taking ubiquinone Q10 capsules

Q10 molecule
Coenzyme Q10, known as ubiquinone in its oxidized form and as ubiquinol in its reduced form, is a large fat-soluble essential bio-nutrient. The ubiquinone form is a vital component of the energy production process in the cells, and the ubiquinol form provides antioxidant protection throughout the body.

I am a long-time taker of ubiquinone Q10 supplements. 100 mg a day. I take the same ubiquinone Q10 capsules that were used in the Q-SYMBIO and KiSel-10 studies. As a consequence, I think, I have no problems with heart disease, diabetes, and hypertension. May it continue so.

Happy with my ubiquinone Q10 capsules
When, in 2007 – 2008, ubiquinol QH2 products became available commercially for the first time, I didn’t pay any attention, really. My supplement pattern – Q10, selenium, zinc, B-vitamins, vitamin C, fish oil – was not broken. Why fix it?

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Coenzyme Q10 and New Year’s resolutions

2016 is the time to make taking a Coenzyme Q10 supplement one of your New Year’s resolutions. If you are already taking a Coenzyme Q10 supplement, then 2016 may be the time to check to see if you are getting a supplement with well-documented heart health effects.

Every January 1st, we get to start over.  Whatever the mistakes are that we made in 2015, we do not have to repeat them in 2016.  We ask ourselves, what can we do better in the New Year?

Typical New Year’s resolutions
Many people will be starting 2016 with a list of resolutions that look something like this:

  • Exercise more
  • Eat healthier
  • Lose weight
  • Get blood pressure under control

Q10 can help with the resolutions
Those are do-able New Year’s resolutions.  They are resolutions that most of us can keep.  I would add one more resolution to the list:

Q10 and exercise
Coenzyme Q10 in its ubiquinone form is an essential bio-nutrient that plays a vital role in the production of energy in the cells.  As we get older, we feel a decline in the amount of energy that we have.  That decline in energy could well be related to the lesser availability of Coenzyme Q10 in our cells and tissues.

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Coenzyme Q10 for diabetics

DiabetesDocumented facts about Coenzyme Q10 supplementation:

  • Adjuvant treatment with ubiquinone Q10 improves significantly the symptoms and survival of heart failure patients.
  • Supplementation with ubiquinone Q10 and selenium decreases significantly the risk of cardiovascular disease in elderly individuals still capable of living at home.
  • Supplementation with ubiquinone Q10 improves significantly many of the symptoms of Gulf War Illness.
  • Adjuvant treatment with ubiquinone Q10 has the potential to lower both systolic and diastolic blood pressure without causing any significant side effects.

Coenzyme Q10 and diabetes
When we look at the documentation for the heart health effects of ubiquinone Q10 supplementation, a logical follow-up question is: what about ubiquinone Q10 supplementation for patients who have diabetes? If you have diabetes or know someone who has diabetes, then you may want to think about this conjunction of known facts:

  • The rate of energy metabolism is reduced in diabetes patients.
  • The level of oxidative stress is higher in diabetes patients.
  • The concentration of Coenzyme Q10 in the plasma of diabetes patients is lower.
  • Diabetes is a known risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

Warning from the FDA about statins and diabetes
Moreover, the Food and Drug Administration has warned consumers that patients who are being treated with statin medications may have an increased risk of developing type-2 diabetes and may run the run risk of elevated blood sugar levels.

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Our daily Coenzyme Q10

Healthy food
I am not going to say that supplements are a substitute for a healthy and varied diet. They are not. But, in the case of Coenzyme Q10 intakes, the best imaginable diet needs to be supplemented once we reach our 40’s and beyond.

Coenzyme Q10 supplements are important for the heart health benefits that they confer.  No doubt about it.  We have documented evidence from gold standard clinical trials comparing the outcomes in a ubiquinone Q10 treatment group with the outcomes in a placebo group.

What do we know about Coenzyme Q10?

  • We know that Coenzyme Q10 is a redox molecule that is a vital co-factor in the process of cellular energy production and is a powerful antioxidant.
  • We know that once we get past our mid-20s, our bodies synthesize less and less Coenzyme Q10 with increasing age. (3)
  • We know that the body’s synthesis of Coenzyme Q10 is a complicated 17-step process that can easily go wrong and malfunction.  To be successful, the bio-synthesis of Coenzyme Q10 requires the availability of a large number of vitamins, amino acids, and trace elements.
  • We know that some medications, statin medications in particular, inhibit the bio-synthesis of Coenzyme Q10 (2).
  • We know that Coenzyme Q10 is relatively scarce in foodstuffs (4).  For vegetarians and vegans, whose diet does not include animal proteins, the content of Q10 in their diets is even less.

What don’t we know about Coenzyme Q10?
The thing is this: we do not know that an individual can get enough Coenzyme Q10 from his or her normal diet to meet his or her daily Q10 requirements.

Bill Judy Picture
For Dr. Judy, it is a matter of simple arithmetic. We produce less Q10 as we age, and we do not get enough Q10 in our food to make up the difference. We need a Coenzyme Q10 supplement. Every day. Some of us will need a Q10 supplement twice a day.

What is the typical daily requirement for Coenzyme Q10?
According to Dr. William Judy of the SIBR Research Institute, an adult person requires approximately 3.5 mg of Coenzyme Q10 daily to maintain normal healthy body function.  Is it possible to get 3.5 mg of Coenzyme Q10 from our food every day?

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Coenzyme Q10 by the numbers

Woman on the beach
As we get older, we no longer run as fast or jump as high. Millions of us have chronic heart failure and feel tired and out of breath. Millions more take statin medication. Even more millions have high blood pressure. A well-documented ubiquinone Q10 supplement can help to restore the energy production process in the heart muscle cells.

Coenzyme Q10 is an important substance that, if taken in the form of a well-absorbed lipid-based crystal-free ubiquinone Q10 supplement, has documented health benefits.  Coenzyme Q10 is an essential bio-nutrient.  Coenzyme Q10 in its ubiquinone form plays an essential role in mitochondrial energy production; in its ubiquinol form, it acts as an important antioxidant, quenching harmful free radicals.

Coenzyme Q10 supplementation in the ubiquinone form has been shown to improve chronic heart failure symptoms and survival significantly.  Ubiquinone Q10 has been shown to reduce significantly the number of heart disease deaths in elderly people living at home.  Ubiquinone Q10 has also been shown to provide improvement in a range of symptoms affecting veterans suffering from Gulf War Illness.

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