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Increased intakes of Coenzyme Q10 may lower risk of cardiac death

June 10, 2013

A treatment with coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) could halve the risk of death in patients who have suffered from heart failure, suggests a new study from Denmark.

In the randomized controlled trial, 420 patients across Europe, Asia and Australia with severe heart failure were given CoQ10 supplements or a placebo for two years and major cardiovascular events were docu-mented (1). The study showed that patients treated with CoQ10 had significantly lower rates of cardiovas-cular death and fewer hospitalizations due to heart failure: CoQ10 halved the risk of patients suffering a major adverse cardiovascular event, as measured in hospital admittance due to heart failure getting worse, or sudden death. These events happened to 14% of patients in the group taking CoQ10 compared to 25% in the placebo group. CoQ10 also halved the risk of patients dying from all causes, with 9% of the group taking the supplement dying, compared with 17% in the placebo group.

The researchers commented that CoQ10 is the first substance that seems to improve survival rates among chronic heart failure patients since ACE inhibitors and beta-blockers were introduced more than a decade ago and should be added to standard heart failure therapy. CoQ10 occurs naturally in the body and is a powerful antioxidant, but levels of CoQ10 decrease in the heart muscle of patients with heart failure, with the deficiency getting worse as the heart failure also worsens. Drugs called statins are used to treat many patients with heart failure, but because they block the development of cholesterol, they also have a negative impact on CoQ10, further decreasing levels in the body. Increased intakes of CoQ10 correct a deficiency in the body and may block the vicious metabolic cycle in a chronic heart failure condition called the “energy-starved heart”.

However, the scientists cautioned against patients rushing to take a CoQ10 supplement as it could influence the effect of other medications, including anticoagulants, and patients should seek advice from their doctor before taking CoQ10.

References

1. Mortensen S. A. et al. The effect of coenzyme Q10 on morbidity and mortality in chronic heart failure: Results from the Q-SYMBIO study. Presented at Heart Failure Congress, May 2013.