You’ve probably heard that heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. While this is technically accurate, the issue is actually more specific than that.
The real leading cause of death is coronary artery disease (CAD), also known as coronary heart disease. It is a hardening of the arteries and is often caused by a buildup of plaque in the arteries leading to the heart.
As more “gunk” lines the walls of your coronary arteries, they become more and more narrow, leaving less and less room for blood to flow through properly. If this continues, it can lead to a blocked artery, heart attack, and eventually death.
So it makes sense that researchers are always on the lookout for causes and treatments of coronary artery disease. And the answer for both may lie in part with coenzyme Q10.
The Heart Nutrient
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is a powerful antioxidant that is found in many fruits, vegetables and meats. Studies have shown a strong connection between CoQ10 and heart health, including one from 2004 that found that people deficient in CoQ10 had increased incidence of coronary artery disease.
There is such a strong connection between CoQ10 and heart health that the Taiwanese Department of Health recommends a daily intake of up to 30 mg of CoQ10 a day. But researchers from Taiwan wondered if this upper limit was too low, especially for people with coronary artery disease. So they set out to see if CoQ10 had any effect on people currently suffering from coronary artery disease, and if so, what was the optimal dosage.
CoQ10 and CAD
Researchers divided 51 patients with coronary artery disease (average age of 75 years) into three groups. The first group received 60 mg a day of CoQ10. The second group received 150 mg a day, and the third group took a placebo. All groups took their capsules every day for three months.
The participants had their age, weight, height, BMI and blood pressure taken prior to the start of the study. And they were asked to complete a 24-hour dietary recall to determine their eating habits.
Participants also had several biomarkers tested at the start of the study and again at four weeks, eight weeks and at the end of the study (12 weeks).
At the end of the three months, eight subjects had dropped out of the study. Of the remaining 43 participants, researchers found that, as expected, the blood levels of CoQ10 in those people taking 150 mg was higher than the placebo group at both week four and week eight. And by week 12, it had increased significantly.
The 150 mg group also showed significantly lower levels of malondialdehyde (MDA) than baseline by week four (28 percent), and by week eight, their levels were significantly lower than the placebo group. This is a good thing as lower MDA levels means less oxidative stress.
On the antioxidant side, the 150 mg group had slightly higher catalase (CAT) levels than the placebo group by week eight, and significantly higher levels by week 12. Similarly, the 150 mg group had significantly higher superoxide dismutase (SOD) levels than the placebo group by week 12. In this case, the higher the level, the greater the indication of antioxidant activity, which of course, is good.
While those in the 60 mg group did note appropriate decreases in MDA and increases in SOD and CAT, they were not as significant as those in the 150 mg group.
Researchers concluded, “It seems clear that coenzyme Q10 has a protective effect against CAD [coronary artery disease], which may be ascribed to its antioxidant function.”
Be Good to Your Heart
Whether you are looking to prevent heart disease or even ease an existing condition, CoQ10 may be helpful.
When choosing a CoQ10 product, look for one that contains ubiquinone (a form of CoQ10). Also, opt for an oil-based product for greater absorbability.
As researchers pointed out, the 150 mg versus the 60 mg dose significantly decreased lipid peroxidation, which is why they recommend that the higher dose be given to people with coronary artery disease. So if you’re worried about your heart, you may want to opt for a higher dose, because when it comes to matters of the heart, more is often better.
If you are interested in adding a high-quality CoQ10 supplement to your daily diet, you can simply click here.
 Yalcin, A et al. Coenzyme Q10 concentrations in coronary disease. Clin Biochem. 2004;37:706-9.
 Lee, BJ et al. Coenzyme Q10 supplementation reduces oxidative stress and increase antioxidant enzyme activity in patients with coronary artery disease. Nutrition. 2011 Oct. 11. [Epub ahead of print.]