Scientific News


“Recharging” an energy-starved heart

Coenzyme Q10 can restore quality of life in patients with chronic heart failure.

 

Several published studies show that patients with chronic heart failure (CHF) benefit from taking supplements of the vitamin-like compound coenzyme Q10. The treatment enables their heart muscle to contract with greater force, their exercise tolerance increases, and they can generally enjoy life in a different way because they are less likely to feel the limitations of their condition.

CHF patients are normally categorized according to the New York Heart Association (NYHA) Functional Classification (see below), which places patients in one of four groups based on how limited they are during physical activity (in terms of breathing, shortness of breath, chest pain etc.

There are documented examples of CHF patients who have improved 1-2 NYHA classes as a result of receiving coenzyme Q10 supplementation in the range of 100-300 mg/day.

 

Source.:

 

 

NYHA Class                                      Symptom description

I          No symptoms and no limitations in ordinary physical activity, e.g. shortness of breath when walking, climbing stairs, etc.

II         Mild symptoms (mild shortness of breath and/or angina) and slight limitation during ordinary activity

II         Marked limitation in activity due to symptoms, even during less-than-ordinary activity, e.g. walking short distances (20-100 meters). Comfortable only at rest.

IV       Severe limitations. Experience symptoms even while at rest. Mostly bed-bound patients.

 

(Reference: The Criteria Committee of the New York Heart Association. Nomenclature and Criteria for Diagnosis of Diseases of the Heart and Great Vessels. 9th ed. Boston, Mass: Little, Brown & Co; 1994:253-256.)


New treatment helps heart patients survive

People with chronic heart failure have 43 % lower risk of dying if they take supplements of a natural compound called coenzyme Q10, according to a large international heart study that was published recently.

 

Improved survival, reduced need for heart transplants and hospitalization, and potential savings on healthcare expenditure could be some of the advantages of treating chronic heart failure patients with a natural compound called coenzyme Q10. Q-Symbio is the name of a groundbreaking international heart study that was led by Danish researchers and published online in the October issue of Journal of the American College of Cardiology, HEART FAILURE, one of the world’s most frequently cited cardiology journals. The results showed that daily supplementation with coenzyme Q10 reduces all-cause mortality by 43%.

  “I definitely think that the results we have seen are extremely positive and promising. In fact, I would extend that to saying that with this new therapy form, we are looking at a shift of paradigm in the treatment of chronic heart failure,“ says lead investigator, Chief Physician, MD, Svend Aage Mortensen from the Heart Center at Copenhagen University Hospital.

 

Safe and money-saving

In addition to lower cardiovascular and all-cause mortality, chronic heart failure patients who took coenzyme Q10 had fewer hospitalizations due to heart failure and fewer side effects than patients who were given identical dummy capsules (placebo). Based on the outcome of Q-Symbio, coenzyme Q10 appears to be a safe and seemingly effective therapy with the potential to become a future adjuvant to conventional drug therapy used in heart failure. This could lead to cuts in health care costs.

 

Largest study of Q10

The study, a double-blind, randomized trial of 420 chronic heart failure patients with severe heart failure recruited from nine different countries, is the largest placebo-controlled study of coenzyme Q10 and has already created quite an interest among cardiologists worldwide.

Conventional heart failure therapy focuses on inhibiting various hormonal factors that are predominant in heart failure and which strain the heart. With coenzyme Q10, on the other hand, you support cellular processes that relate to the energy metabolism. This provides extra strength to the failing heart muscle,” Dr. Mortensen explains.  

  “Results with other heart-stimulating drugs used in the treatment of heart failure have been disappointing,” he adds.

 

 

300 mg daily

Initiated in 2003, the Q-Symbio study aimed at investigating how long it took before the participants in the treatment group and the placebo group encountered heart problems defined as unplanned hospitalizations due to heart failure, fatal heart attack, need for cardiac transplantation, or need for a heart-lung machine. All patients were randomly assigned to treatment with either soft gelatin capsules with CoQ10 (one 100 mg capsule three times daily) or identical placebo, which was given in addition to their prescribed regimen of conventional heart failure medicine.

 

Energy for the heart 

What makes CoQ10 therapy so interesting is that it is a compound which the body is able to synthesize itself and depends on for normal cellular energy turnover. Chronic heart failure is characterized by energy starvation of the heart caused by depleted levels of CoQ10 in cardiac tissue.

  “Other heart failure medications block rather than enhance cellular processes and may have side effects,” Dr. Mortensen noted. “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.”

 

Source: Journal of the American College of Cardiology