Could Antioxidant Supplement Cut Heart Failure Risk?
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is an essential enzyme in the body; however, patients with heart failure have lower levels than healthy persons. A new study suggests that supplements of CoQ10 should be included in standard medical treatment.
Coenzyme Q10 is produced by the body and is necessary for the basic functioning of cells. CoQ10 acts as an electron carrier in the mitochondria to produce energy. It is also an antioxidant, protecting the body from free radical damage.
Aging is one factor that seems to affect the level of CoQ10 in the body. Levels appear to decrease with age. People with certain chronic diseases are also at risk for deficiency. In addition to heart conditions (including high blood pressure), muscular dystrophies, Parkinson’s disease, cancer, diabetes, and HIV/AIDS may contribute to low CoQ10 levels.
Some prescription medicines may also lower levels. Statins, for example, may block CoQ10 synthesis.
In this most recent study, presented at the annual meeting of the Heart Failure Association of the European Society of Cardiology, researchers from Denmark, including Professor Svend Aage Mortensen, found that Coenzyme Q10 cuts mortality in half in patients with heart failure. The study, known as Q-SYMBIO, followed 420 patients with severe heart failure who were given either CoQ10 or a placebo. They were monitored for 24 months for a “major adverse cardiovascular event” or MACE, which included an unplanned hospital admission due to worsening heart failure symptoms, cardiovascular death, and urgent cardiac transplantation.
The team found that CoQ10 improves symptoms and functional capacity of patients with heart failure. There was also the benefit of few side effects.
Prof. Mortensen wrote, "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. 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."