Tokyo: Coenzyme Q10, a nutrient produced by the body, is now regularly being prescribed by doctors in Japan to combat heart disease.
Also known as CoQ10, it is an essential component of the mitochondira, the energy producing unit of the cells.CoQ10, is involved in the production of ATP, the fuel that runs all body processes. The role of CoQ10 is similar to that of the sparkplug in a car engine.
Cardiologist and researcher Dr. Peter Langsjoen ranks the discovery of the nutrient known as coenzyme Q10 as one of the biggest advances of this century. Langsjoen
an expert in congestive heart failure and disease of the heart muscle carried out research on 424 patients with six different types of cardiac disease whch he treted with CoQ10 over more than a decade. All were shown to have improved heart function, enhanced quality of life and decreased medication requirements.
Langsjoen believes his research refutes the common assertion that a stiffening of the heart muscle is irreversible.
But the father of coenzyme Q10 research and the world’s leading researcher on coenzyme Q10 is without a shadow of a doubt, Dr. Karl Folkers, now in his nineties.
In 1958, Folkers was the first to elucidate the structure of coenzyme Q10 and worked tirelessly to prove its benefit in heart disease as well as many other conditions. Folkers biopsied heart tissue from patients with various heart diseases and showed CoQ10 deficiency in 50 to 75% of cases. He also proved the effectiveness of CoQ10 in treating seriously ill congestive heart failure patients who were unresponsive to any other treatment.
Dr. Steven Sinatra, author of A Cardiologist’s Prescription for Optimum Wellness, (Lincoln Bradley, 1996) says that as a traditionally trained cardiologist he was not the least bit open to nutritional therapies, but after reviewing the research, he started to use it in his practice. He has now treated over 1,000 patients with coenzyme Q10, with excellent results.
Sinatra points to over 50 major research articles published in reputable journals on the use of CoQ10 in cardiac-related diseases, especially congestive heart failure and cardiomyopathy (a disease affecting the heart muscle). Researchers estimate that if doctors gave coenzyme Q10 to 1,000 patients with congestive heart failure for one year, it could reduce hospitalization for the condition by 20%.
Although some cardiologists are using it, Sinatra adds, the vast majority either know nothing about it or have a bias against it because it is not a drug. Dr. Langsjoen and Sinatra have formed a national coalition of cardiologists to disseminate information on CoQ10.
CoQ10 is bright yellow, almost orange, in color and is available in capsules or tablets at health food stores. It is best absorbed in soft gelatin capsules that contain an oil base. Otherwise it is wise to take it with olive oil or flaxseed oil. The dosage ranges from 30mg to 300mg with the usual dosage being 30mg three times a day. Although its safety during pregnancy and lactation has not been proven, it has an excellent safety profile, with no serious side effects with long-term use.
Research has also shown CoQ10 is a useful adjunct in the treatment of gum disease, muscular dystrophy and diabetes. It is also an immune stimulator and antioxidant. It can reduce the heart toxicity of cancer drugs like Adriamycin. It has caused a partial remission in a small number of breast cancer patients. It is also very useful in the treatment of chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia.