Coenzyme Q10 on prescription?

Mother and daughter
We know that the body’s production of Coenzyme Q10 begins to decrease with age once we reach our 20’s, and we know that Coenzyme Q10 plays an important role in both cellular bio-energetics and antioxidant protection. It just makes sense to supplement our diets with Coenzyme Q10 in an attempt to avoid heart failure later on in life.

For as long as I have been writing this blog, I have been wondering why cardiologists are not prescribing Coenzyme Q10 for certain classes of heart disease patients.  Two classes of patients come to mind immediately: chronic heart failure patients and patients taking statin medications.  Let’s look at the evidence for heart failure patients. (We can talk about patients on statin medications next week.)

Coenzyme Q10 and chronic heart failure
Chronic heart failure.  Heart failure.  It sounds scary.  It is scary.  The words “heart failure” do not mean that the heart has stopped working.  What heart failure means is some combination of the following conditions:

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Dr. Judy explains Coenzyme Q10 absorption

Bill Judy Picture
Dr. William Judy, founder and director of the SIBR Institute, is arguably the world’s leading expert on Coenzyme Q10 absorption. He has led numerous lab studies and animal studies and clinical trials on the absorption and effects of Coenzyme Q10 preparations.

We know that Coenzyme Q10 is an essential co-factor in at least three important processes in the body: cellular energy production, cellular and lipid antioxidant defense, and regulation of endothelial cell function. We know that our adult bodies produce less Coenzyme Q10 with increasing age, and we know that most of us cannot make up the difference through the food that we eat [6]. From the age of 40 on, we need a good Coenzyme Q10 supplement daily.  I asked Dr. William Judy what is involved in getting a good Coenzyme Q10 supplement.

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Coenzyme Q10 and migraine headaches

Headache -- woman
Studies show that teens and young adults suffering from migraine headaches are likely to have abnormally low blood levels of Coenzyme Q10. Coenzyme Q10 is an essential bio-nutrient that is important in the production of cellular energy and in the antioxidant protection of the cells.

On the website, there is a report of a conference paper presented by Dr. Suzanne Hagler of the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Headache Society in San Diego. Dr. Hagler reported that teens and young adults with migraine headaches are often found to have mild deficiencies of Coenzyme Q10, vitamin D, and the B vitamin riboflavin [1].

Mild Coenzyme Q10 deficiencies in young people
Interesting, I thought. Coenzyme Q10 is produced in all of the body’s cells except the red blood cells. The body’s production of Coenzyme Q10 rises until a person reaches his or her 20s, and, from then on, the bio-synthesis of Coenzyme Q10 declines steadily. By age 65, senior citizens may be producing only half as much Coenzyme Q10 as they did when there were 25 years of age.  Hence the need for a good Coenzyme Q10 supplement.

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Huffpost Healthy Living blog article about Coenzyme Q10

Older lovers
As we age, we produce less Coenzyme Q10, and we cannot make up the difference in the food we eat. For good heart health, we need a good Coenzyme Q10 supplement with documented beneficial health effects. Myoqinon and Bio-Quinone CoQ10 have been tested in gold standard clinical studies.

Last month, Dr. Joel Kahn published an interesting article on the Huffpost Healthy Living website.  The title of his blog article was “Heart Failure: New Hope with Supplement Therapies.”  The emphasis was on supplementation with Coenzyme Q10.  Dr. Kahn focused attention on the research results from the Q-Symbio study of the effect of Coenzyme Q10 supplementation on chronic heart failure patients.

Who is Dr. Joel Kahn?
For those of you who do not know who Dr. Joel Kahn is, let me take you briefly through his résumé:

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Q10: Known quality versus unknown quality?

Best quality picture
Which Q10 product on the American market is the best buy? You don’t know. But you can see which Q10 products have been tested for effect in gold standard studies.

My friends and colleagues ask me sometimes: is the Coq10 product that was used in the Q-Symbio study the best Coenzyme Q10 product?  And they are surprised when I don’t say, immediately, yes, yes, of course.  I am cautious.  I don’t want to claim to know something that I cannot know with certainty.  Could there be a better Q10 product on the market?  Possibly.  I don’t know for sure.    It’s best never to say never, right? But …

Q10 produced according to medicine standards
What I have found out is that the profile of the Q-Symbio Study CoQ10 treatment is unique.  The Danish producer, Pharma Nord, seems to be one of the few food supplement suppliers in the US that is producing a Q10 product according to medicine standards rather than food supplement standards.

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Coenzyme Q10 prior to heart surgery

Australia map
Coenzyme Q10 Research in a land down under. Teams of Coenzyme Q10 researchers at The Alfred teaching hospital in Victoria, Australia, have shown significant results, results that translate into fewer hospitalizations for the patients and into savings for the national health care system.

Professor Franklin Rosenfeldt, MD and Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons (Edinburgh), is an adjunct professor and cardiac surgeon in the Department of Surgery, Monash University,  a university based in Melbourne, Australia.  Dr. Rosenfeldt is also the administrative supervisor of The Integrative Cardiac Wellness Program at The Alfred, a tertiary teaching hospital in Prahran, (a suburb of Melbourne), Victoria, Australia.

Q10 research at The Alfred
The Alfred’s services include heart and lung replacement and transplantation as well as many other specialized services.  For 30 years, Dr. Rosenfeldt has been conducting cardiac surgery research at The Alfred.  His special research interest has been the protection of the heart against damage during heart surgery.  In this context, he has done much research on the role of Coenzyme Q10 and fish oil in the management of heart disease.

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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 energy synthesis and Prader-Willi children

kids playing
Energy in the form of ATP molecules is synthesized in the mitochondria in the cells. With insufficient availability of Coenzyme Q10, we get low energy synthesis. With low energy, we exercise less. With too little Coenzyme Q10 and less exercise, the mitochondria — the organelles that synthesize ATP — tend to atrophy and eventually cease to function properly.

Coenzyme Q10 has important functions in the body: energy synthesis, antioxidant activity, and stabilization of cell membranes.  Energy synthesis takes place in the mitochondria of the cells.  This is important to know.  Energy synthesis takes place in the mitochondria of the cells.  Every cell contains some very small oblong bean-shaped organelles called mitochondria.  The mitochondria have both an inner and an outer membrane.

The mitochondria in the cells and Q10
These mitochondria vary considerably in their size and in their numbers in the individual cells.  Typically, mitochondria are 60 – 75 angstroms thick.  That is, they are 60 – 75 ten-billionths of a meter thick.  The length of the mitochondrion is approximately 1 to 10 micrometers, much too small to see.  By comparison, an average strand of human hair is 60 – 80 micrometers in diameter (= 600,000 – 800,000 angstroms).

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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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