Updated 25 March 2013

CoQ10 essential for heart health

The antioxidant CoQ10 is the spark plug required for energy production in each and every cell in our body and has been proven to play a crucial role in improving heart health.


Coenzyme Q10, or CoQ10 as it is normally referred to, is a relatively unfamiliar nutrient that is found in every cell of the body which has been proven to play a crucial role  in improving heart, cholesterol & circulatory health, and sustaining energy.

"CoQ10 is the spark plug required for energy production in each and every cell in our body,” says Dr Jozef Kriek, Cape Town clinical nutrition specialist and general practitioner. “The future may see it as a one of our most important supplements for maintaining the health of the heart and in the prevention and treatment of serious diseases."

He points out that CoQ10 is one of the most important factors for maintaining normal cell function. "As one of the most potent antioxidants in the body, CoQ10 plays the most vital role in our bodies due to its direct involvement in the burning of oxygen into cellular energy," he says.

"CoQ10 is a vitamin-like substance that is obtained through certain foods and produced naturally by the body. It is found in all cells, but is especially abundant where the metabolic requirements are exceptionally high, such as the heart."

Chronic diseases

CoQ10 levels decline with age and are low in people with some chronic diseases. If CoQ10 body levels start dropping, so does our general health. A deficiency in Co-enzyme Q10 may result in many disease states, including high blood pressure, heart attack, angina, immune depression, periodontal disease, lack of energy and weight gain.

As the science behind the understanding of CoQ10 expands so does the list of potential health conditions and diseases that could benefit from supplements.

Studies have found CoQ10 useful for cholesterol management, congestive heart failure, chest pain, breathlessness, palpitations, high blood pressure and energy support. It should be used if you are on statin drugs for cholesterol-lowering as the amount you make in the body will be reduced by the action of the statin. It has been used before heart surgery to reduce free radical damage and improves recovery.

"While statins effectively lower cholesterol, they also deplete CoQ10 levels that could lead to muscle aches and weakness," explains Dr Kriek. "Taking CoQ10 supplements can also reduce muscle pain and weakness associated with statin treatment without affecting statin medications positive effects on cholesterol levels."

Adverse heart complaints

The heart requires a vast and constant supply of energy to carry out its task of pumping blood throughout the human body. It is also one of the most concentrated areas of the body for CoQ10. A deficiency of this vital energy nutrient may lead to adverse heart complaints such as angina, hypertension or congestive heart failure.

Heart health is important. In its Heart Disease in South Africa report, The Heart & Stroke Foundation states that premature deaths caused by heart and blood vessel diseases (CVD) in people of working age (35-64 years) are expected to increase by 41% between 2000 and 2030.

Not only do we require energy for physical activities, we also need it for bodily functions such as digestion, absorption, utilisation of nutrients and for gland function. Even the constant pumping of blood through the heart requires energy. All of our energy production begins in the individual cell. CoQ10 is also involved with energy release in body cells and acts as an energy spark plug.

(References: Molyneux SL, Young JM, Florkowski CM, et al. CoenzymeQ10: Is There a Clinical Role and a Case for Measurement? Clin Biochem Rev. Vol 29 May 2008, CoQ10 factsSA Heart and Stroke Foundation)

- (Health24/Sanofi-Aventis, June 2010)

Read more:

Coenzyme Q10 promotes cardiovascular health
CoQ10 means the world to your heart


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