In part two of my look at the benefits of coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), I hone in on congestive heart failure and high blood pressure. Let’s see what the evidence suggests.
Congestive heart failure (CHF) is when the heart can’t pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs. Common causes include high blood pressure, a previous heart attack, infection of either the heart muscle or heart valves, and atherosclerosis with blocked arteries supplying blood to the heart. Treatment usually includes proper diet, and drugs such as angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, beta-blockers, and vasodilators. This is often quite effective when treating a defective heart valve, as is weight reduction.
Researchers know that the more severe the heart failure, the lower the heart’s CoQ10 levels. Many smaller studies have found that 100 to 200 milligrams (mg) on top of drug treatment improves the situation. From there, the evidence is tricky.
A U.S. study in which 55 heart failure patients received 200 mg of CoQ10 a day found no benefits. Then a study in Israel in which 32 patients with end-stage heart failure received 60 mg a day showed significant improvement in shortness of breath and fatigue. Patients treated with CoQ10 improved their walking performance to 382 meters from 269 meters patients, while on placebo decreased to 177 meters from 254 meters.
In 2005, a group looked at all the literature on the subject over the past 40 years. They concluded that the data were limited, but that they indicated that people with heart failure can get minor benefits by supplementing with CoQ10.
Blood pressure measures the force of blood as it pushes against artery walls. The common causes of high blood pressure include older age, stress, too much alcohol, too much salt intake, inactivity, obesity, and genetics. Hypertension is often called the “silent killer,” as there are no real symptoms; but if left untreated it can lead to blindness, kidney failure, heart attack, heart failure, and stroke. Many drugs are effective, including ACE inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers, diuretics, beta-blockers, and calcium channel blockers.
And many alternative treatments are effective, too, including CoQ10. In one study on 83 patients with high systolic blood pressure, 120 mg a day for 12 weeks lowered levels by 17 mmHg. In another, 74 patients with type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol levels found their blood pressure lowered with 200 mg a day. This preliminary evidence strongly suggests that CoQ10 could lower blood pressure, and more research needs to be done to see if this is a workable long-term solution.
Read Part One of this series by clicking here.