A new study from Taiwan reports that a supplementation with coenzyme Q10 significantly enhances antioxidant enzyme activities and lowers inflammation in patients who have coronary artery disease (CAD) and are being treated with statins.
In the randomized controlled trial, antioxidant enzyme activities and concentrations of inflammatory markers were measured in blood samples of 42 patients with coronary artery disease who received either coenzyme Q10 (300 mg) or a placebo every day for 12 weeks during statin therapy (1). The study results showed that the supplemented participants had significantly higher antioxidant enzyme (superoxide dismutase, catalase and glutathione peroxidase) activities and vitamin E (antioxidant marker) levels as well as significantly lower concentrations of inflammatory markers (C-reactive protein, tumor necrosis factor-alpha and interleukin-6) than participants of the placebo group.
The researchers commented that, since higher levels of oxidative stress and inflammation play a role in the development of coronary artery disease, the intracellular antioxidant coenzyme Q10 can protect membrane phospholipids, mitochondrial membrane protein, and LDL-cholesterol from free radical-induced oxidative damage. The new findings confirm earlier study results which demonstrate that coenzyme Q10 seems to have a cardio-protective effect in CAD patients, and that a higher level of plasma coenzyme Q10 (above 0.52 µmol/L) may significantly reduce the risk of developing CAD (2).
CAD is the most common type of heart disease and cause of heart attacks. The disease is caused by plaque building up along the inner walls of the arteries of the heart, which narrows the arteries and reduces blood flow to the heart. Hyperlipidemia is a major risk factor for CAD and higher levels of LDL-cholesterol have shown to increase the incidence. The 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase (HMG-Co A red- uctase) inhibitors (statins) are popular drugs for reducing the level of LDL-cholesterol, and they are an established strategy for decreasing the frequency of CAD events. Statins not only lower blood cholesterol but also lower the level of coenzyme Q10 (3).