Supplement could help treat congestive heart failure

Sep 30, 2012, 12:00 PM

There is enough evidence to support, I think, the use of CoQ 10 as an adjunctive supplement for treating congestive heart failure.

It may be useful for heart attack recovery, cardiomyopathy, hypertension, diabetes, strengthening the heart prior to heart surgery and decreasing the recurrence of migraine headaches.

There is minimal evidence that CoQ10 may help in the treatment of Parkinson’s Disease in high doses.

CoQ 10 has shown the potential to prevent heart damage and other side effects caused by certain types of cancer chemotherapy and it has also shown some preliminary promise as an aid to the treatment of kidney failure.

Highly preliminary studies suggest CoQ 10 might be helpful for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig’s Disease).

Certain medications may interfere with the body’s production of CoQ 10, or partially block its function. The best evidence regards cholesterol-lowering drugs in the statin family, such as lovastatin (Mevacor), simvastatin (Zocor), Lipitor, Crestor and Pravastatin (Pravachol), along with the supplement red yeast rice (which contains naturally occurring statins).

These medications impair CoQ 10 synthesis as an inevitable side effect of their mechanism of action. Since these drugs are used to protect the heart, and since CoQ 10 deficiency could in theory impair heart function, it has been suggested that this side effect may work against the intended purpose of taking statins. Furthermore, one might naturally guess that some of the side effects of statins could be caused by this induced CoQ 10 deficiency.

For several other categories of drugs, the evidence that drugs interfere with CoQ 10 is suggestive but not proven. These include oral diabetes drugs, beta-blockers, antipsychotic drugs in the phenothiazine family, tricyclic antidepressants, methyldopa, hydrochlorothiazide, clonidine, and hydralazine. Really, I suggest CoQ10 for anyone on chronic medications.

CoQ 10 has also been suggested as a performance enhancer for athletes. However, while one double-blind study of 25 highly trained cross-country skiers found some benefit, most studies evaluating potential sports supplement uses of CoQ 10 have returned negative rather than positive results. You can take it for this purpose, but I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for performance enhancement.

There is also some evidence that CoQ 10 may reduce the risk of pre-eclampsia (high blood pressure during pregnancy) in women who are at risk for this condition.
As for brands? Natrol, Shaklee, Nutrilite, Vitafusion, did not make the grade when tested by ConsumersLab. Most of the well-known brands like Kirkland from Costco, Whole Foods, Twinlabs, NSI (Vitacost), etc. did well.

People with severe illnesses, such as heart disease, cancer, or kidney failure, should not use CoQ 10, or any supplement, except under physician supervision. The problem is finding a doctor who is knowledgeable about this and not prejudiced against the use of nutritional supplements, and yet has a full knowledge of Western medicine as well.

Dr. Benjamin

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Supplement could help treat congestive heart failure