Coenzyme Q10 Cuts Heart Failure Deaths in Half
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is an important natural antioxidant produced by the body. It works in the mitochondria—cells’ “power plants”—to produce the energy cells need to function. CoQ10 levels are severely depleted in the heart muscle of patients with heart failure. Previous controlled studies have shown that giving patients supplemental CoQ10 improves symptoms of the disease, while improving quality of life.
Now a large new study has shown that CoQ10 supplementation cuts heart failure deaths in half. More than nine countries participated in the randomized, placebo-controlled study, which was designed specifically to examine the effects of CoQ10 on not just heart function, but survival.
CoQ10, but not placebo, slashed the risk of death from all causes by half. It also reduced by about half the risk that a patient would have a first “major adverse cardiovascular event”. It’s been available as an oral supplement in the U.S. for more than three decades, and it safety and tolerability are well documented. Although it’s presently viewed largely as a form of alternative and complementary medicine, experts now believe it should become part of front-line therapy.
According to lead author, Professor Svend Aage Mortensen, “CoQ10 is the first new medication to improve survival in chronic heart failure and it should be added to standard therapy.” The researchers noted that common cholesterol-lowering statin drugs deplete CoQ10 levels, making CoQ10 even more important in this population. “Other heart failure medications block rather than enhance cellular processes,” said Mortensen, “and may have side effects. Supplementation with CoQ10, which is a natural and safe substance, corrects a deficiency in the body and blocks the vicious metabolic cycle in chronic heart failure called the energy starved heart.”
SA Mortensen, A Kumar, P Dolliner, 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 2013 Final Programme Number 440.
The full title of the Q-SYMBIO study is: “Coenzyme Q10 as adjunctive treatment of chronic heart failure: a randomised double blind multicentre trial with focus on changes in symptoms, biomarker status with BNP and long term outcome”