Heart Failure and Coenzyme Q10 as Adjuvant Therapy

Heart failure – it sounds scary. It is scary, but the medical term heart failure does not mean that your heart stops beating. No, instead, it means that your heart can’t pump enough blood and oxygen to your body.

Dr. William Judy
In the 30-year study of the management of congestive heart failure patients, Dr. Judy found that CoQ10 therapy in addition to conventional medication is more effective than conventional medication alone; however, the patients’ response to the CoQ10 adjunctive treatment is fairly slow, with peak improvements coming within 8 – 12 months. The conventional medication plus CoQ10 therapy is safe; it improves long-term survival compared to conventional medication alone.

Heart failure may develop because the heart muscle has weakened or has become thicker and stiffer. Your heart muscle can compensate for a period, but, eventually, you will need treatment.

The thing to remember is that the heart tissue is muscle tissue. As such, it needs a constant supply of ATP energy, and Coenzyme Q10 is essential to the process of ATP energy generation [Crane 2001]. Furthermore, the heart muscle tissue needs protection against the oxidative damage caused by harmful free radicals, and Coenzyme Q10 in its reduced form is an important antioxidant [Crane 2001].

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Coenzyme Q10 and Eye Disorders

Coenzyme Q10 is a essential component in the cellular process of energy production, and Coenzyme Q10 plays an important role in the antioxidant protection of the cells [Crane 2001].

Eye glasses
Compared to placebo, a combination of Coenzyme Q10, L-carnitine, and omega-3 fatty acids improved the visual acuity of patients with early age-related macular degeneration [Feher 2005].
With increasing age, our cells decline with respect to energy production and with respect to the threat from increased generation of harmful free radical species [Hargreaves, Heaton, & Mantle 2020].

Most of the Coenzyme Q10 available to the cells comes from endogenous bio-synthesis. Optimal CoQ10 bio-synthesis occurs in our 20’s and then follows a decline with increasing age that varies in different tissues and organs [Kalén 1989]. In heart tissue cells, the bio-synthesis of Coenzyme Q10 at age 80 may be approximately half of what it was at age 25 years.

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Coenzyme Q10 for People Over 65 Years of Age

Sufficient intakes of Coenzyme Q10 are increasingly important as we age. Our bodies synthesize less and less Coenzyme Q10 as we progress from middle age to our senior years. One estimate is that the CoQ10 status of an 80-year-old man’s heart muscle cells will be about half of what is normal in a 20-year-old man [Alehagen 2015].

Guillermo Lopez-Lluch
Prof. Guillermo Lopez-Lluch says that older people who have more symptoms of fragility also have lower concentrations of Coenzyme Q10 their blood plasma. The study data show that this relationship is more common in women than in men.

Sub-optimal levels of Coenzyme Q10 are associated with ageing, energy insufficiency, cardiovascular disease, stroke, and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease [Why Humans 2022].

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Combined Coenzyme Q10 and Selenium Supplementation

There is a special biological interrelationship between Coenzyme Q10 and selenium. From a cardiologist’s perspective, there is a theoretical advantage in using both substances to prevent heart disease if the patients’ intakes are sub-optimal [Alehagen & Aaseth 2015a].

Heart chambers
Four years of daily supplementation of senior citizens with a combination of Coenzyme Q10 and selenium resulted in reduced risk of death from heart disease and in improved heart function.

This advantage has been demonstrated in the outcomes of the KiSel-10 Study, a randomized controlled trial that enrolled elderly community dwelling Swedish citizens, average age 78 years, with known low serum selenium status (mean: 67.1 mcg/L) [Alehagen 2013; Alehagen 2016a; Alehagen 2016b].

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The Instability of Ubiquinol – Misleading Marketing Claims?

On the Web, I see many incorrect and undocumented marketing claims for ubiquinol supplements. As a long-time Coenzyme Q10 researcher, I worry that consumers will be persuaded by these misleading marketing claims. In this article, I want to give some background information about how the Coenzyme Q10 in supplements is absorbed and transferred in the body.

Choice of Two Different Forms of Coenzyme Q10 in Supplements

Dr. William Judy in the lab
In 2021, I have published the results of the SIBR Research lab studies and large dog studies of the instability of the ubiquinol supplement. The studies show that the ubiquinol in supplements will be converted to ubiquinone in the small intestines prior to absorption, will then be absorbed in the ubiquinone form, and will be converted back to ubiquinol in the lymph.

Let me start by saying that CoQ10 molecules are redox molecules that have an oxidized form called ubiquinone and a reduced form called ubiquinol. Regardless of whether the supplement manufacturer chooses to work with ubiquinone or ubiquinol, he or she must deal with the following problems [Judy 2018]:

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