Since CoQ10 was discovered over 55 years ago, its effects have been heavily researched by the scientific and medical communities. Also known as Coenzyme Q10 or ubiquinone, this molecule is often described as a vitamin-like antioxidant that is naturally produced by the body.
CoQ10 is largely responsible for energy production within our cells. Making its home the the mitochondria around a cell, this coenzyme helps feed cells. Because of its energy producing properties, CoQ10 is largely found near the organs that need the most power — the kidneys, liver and heart.
Because of CoQ10’s energy production and antioxidant properties, the heart tends to benefit the most from this coenzyme. But, as we age, our body produces less CoQ10, which can affect a number of our bodily functions, especially heart health. Here are a few ways adding CoQ10 to your diet, either through food or natural supplements, can keep your heart beating strong as you age.
How CoQ10 Helps Your Heart Health
Reduce Oxidative Stress
Clinical studies have well established CoQ10 as a first-line antioxidant in our defense system against oxidative stress. Oxidative stress happens to our cells over time as free radicals roam our cells to steal electrons, deplenishing cell health. Antioxidants, whether naturally produced within our bodies or added to our diets, fight free radicals to maintain cell health.
CoQ10’s location in the lipid mitochondrial membranes is particularly important, as mitochondria are the major site of free radical production and CoQ10 is an excellent free radical scavenger. By defending our cells from free radicals, CoQ10 can help reduce oxidative stress, which can reduce the effects of aging on our skin and aid in overall heart health.
Supports Healthy Cholesterol Levels
Some studies have shown that CoQ10 could help support normal cholesterol levels. High cholesterol is caused by too many low-density lipoproteins (LDL) in the bloodstream, which carry cholesterol through the bloodstream, allowing it to be deposited in artery walls.
Because CoQ10 is such a powerful antioxidant, it has been shown to keep LDL cholesterol from oxidation while re-energizing the mitochondria in the heart cells, which is where energy metabolism occurs.
But, CoQ10 has also been shown to thicken blood, acting similar to Vitamin K, which can cause issues when paired with blood clot medication. You should consult a doctor before taking CoQ10 to help lower your cholesterol.
Recover After a Heart Problems
In a worldwide study conducted with 420 patients with severe heart failure, CoQ10 proved to cut the risk of a major adverse cardiovascular event after heart failure in half and decrease the risk of dying from all causes by half during the 10-year double-blind trial.
After a heart attack, the heart muscle of the patient is often CoQ10 deficient. In addition to the predisposed deficiency, statins, which are often prescribed to heart failure patients to block the synthesis of cholesterol, also block the synthesis of CoQ10, which further decreases the body’s amount of this coenzyme.
In case you were not aware, statins are a group of medicines that can help lower the level of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol in the blood. For example, atorvastatin is the generic for lipitor and can reduce the amount of cholesterol made by the liver. Lowering bad cholesterol and triglycerides while raising good cholesterol decreases the risk of heart disease and helps prevent strokes and heart attacks.
By increasing CoQ10 levels in the body after a heart attack, an individual is supplying their heart with the energy producing molecule while providing an excellent antioxidant defense against free radicals. Although CoQ10 can be ingested in certain foods, such as fish, red meats and soybeans, the levels are rarely enough to make a big impact. Supplements are a great option, but you should talk to your doctor before taking CoQ10 supplements to aid with heart attack recovery.
Support Healthy Heart
As helpful as CoQ10 may be after heart problems, the coenzyme is even more useful to the body before heart failure occurs. Although CoQ10 is a naturally occurring enzyme in our bodies, the supply decreases as we age, making it more difficult to fight free radicals and our heart’s natural defenses against congestive heart failure.
Congestive heart failure is a condition in which there is weakening of heart muscle function so that fluid or congestion backs up and causes swelling or edema in the liver, lungs, the lining of the intestine, and the lower legs and feet. If you are predisposed for congestive heart failure, CoQ10 has been shown to support healthy inflammation in legs and fluid in lungs, while also energizing your heart to keep it beating strong.
Although CoQ10 is not a cure for heart failure, the science is promising. Taking a CoQ10 supplement as you age could help strengthen your heart.
Support Blood Pressure
Because of CoQ10’s energizing properties, it may assist in lowering the oxygen demands of the heart, improving the heart’s energy efficiency and supporting healthy blood pressure. Although there have been no significant study results for lowering blood pressure with the help of CoQ10 alone, the coenzyme has shown little to no side effects and may even combat some side effects when paired with other blood pressure medication.
Even if you aren’t predisposed for heart failure or don’t experience heart-related issues, CoQ10 can be a useful antioxidant supplement. This coenzyme is the only fat-soluble antioxidant synthesized by our body and capable of regeneration back to its reduced or antioxidant form through normal cellular enzyme systems, which means our bodies produce it naturally for much of our lives. But, when those processes become less efficient, our bodies may need help producing this powerful molecule.
When fighting free radicals, especially as we age, our cells can use all the help they can get. Maintaining cell health helps our bodies fight signs of aging, ward off disease, and can improve, or at least maintain, the function of major organs.
If you have a well-balanced diet and are still fairly young, a low milligram supplement can help you maintain ideal levels of CoQ10. But for those looking to supplement depleting amounts in their bodies, Nature’s Sunshine recently released their 100 mg CoQ10 supplements.
Although Coenzyme Q10 is still fairly new to scientists, it is receiving a lot of positive feedback from medical studies and supplement users. Talk to your doctor and find out how CoQ10 could help with your heart health.
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