Coenzyme Q-10 is more than the energy nutrient. It’s more than the heart-health nutrient. It’s also involved in a crime – the crime of mainstream American doctors not recommending their patients take it with the cholesterol-lowering statin drugs the doctors prescribe like so much candy.
The problem is, high cholesterol won’t kill you, heart attacks will – and an equal number of people have heart attacks with cholesterol over 200 as under 200. Indeed, studies show between 45 percent and 60 percent of patients hospitalized for a heart attack have a “normal level” of cholesterol.1,2
The reason for this disconnect between statin use and heart-attack incidence is because statins deplete the body of co-Q10 because both co-Q10 and cholesterol are created from similar metabolic pathways, so inhibiting cholesterol biosynthesis also inhibits the synthesis of co-Q10.3
Co-Q10 powers every cell and muscle in the body, with the biggest muscle in the body being the heart, which is where co-Q10 particularly accumulates. So at the same time a person’s cholesterol is going down, his heart is getting weaker. Golf clap from the pharmaceutical industry.
When sugars and fatty acids are ferried into the mitochondria – the cell’s power plant – co-Q10 extracts these electrons from the raw materials, which are then processed by enzymes to produce energy-producing ATP. In addition, co-Q10 has antioxidant effects inside the critical mitochondrial membranes where bioenergectics take place. Oxidative damage from free radicals within the mitochondria leads to impaired ATP production, so a person has less energy. Co-Q10 equals energy. Got that? So what started out as a heart-health nutrient has also grown in application to athletes.
A heralded jock study with co-Q10 followed 25 top-level cross-country skiers in Finland who took 90 milligrams per day of co-Q10 and demonstrated significant performance improvements in aerobic and anaerobic capacity. Fully 94 percent of skiers felt that the supplement had improved their performance and recovery time, versus one-third in the placebo group.4
In a recent review of 11 studies in which co-Q10 was tested for an effect on exercise capacity, six showed a modest improvement, while five showed no effect. The review did find, however, significant benefit in heart-failure studies and with hypertension.5
Diabetes patients take note: In one particular six-month, placebo-controlled trial with 74 diabetic patients, 200 milligrams a day of co-Q10 lowered 24-hour blood pressure.6 A similar human trial, this one for 12 weeks, with 74 diabetics found 200 milligrams a day of co-Q10 improved blood pressure and long-term blood-sugar control.7
It’s also important to note at this point that the peak co-Q10 levels in people is reached at about 20 years of age, whereupon it steadily declines, with hearts 77 to 81 years old containing only 43 percent of the content as from hearts in people 19-21 years old.8
The take-home lesson here is to take co-Q10 – 60 milligrams a day might do you for maintenance, with 300 milligrams a day for therapeutic purposes. Mind you, it is not an inexpensive supplement to buy. But the benefits are rich.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this forum is a public service of WellWise.org, and should not in any way substitute for the advice of a qualified healthcare professional and is not intended to constitute personal medical advice.