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CoQ10: Natural Way to Improve Arterial Function

Co-enzyme Q10 is an enzyme co-factor found within your body that is necessary for your cells' basic functions.

Unfortunately, as you age your CoQ10 levels decrease. The good news is that those levels can be increased through supplements.

CoQ10 has numerous benefits, such as preventing heart failure, cancer, and Parkinson's disease, lowering your blood pressure, and boosting your overall health. Recently, CoQ10 has been shown to improve arterial function.

Dr. Mike discusses the important benefits of CoQ10 and how it can improve your arterial function.

RadioMD Presents:Healthy Talk | Original Air Date: March 23, 2015
Host: Michael Smith, MD

Healthy Talk with Dr. Michael Smith, M.D. And now here's the country doctor with the city education, Dr. Mike.

DR. MIKE: So, my good friend Bruce was very happy to find out that there was a nutrient that could improve arterial function and, of course, that is CoQ10. My friend Bruce is in his mid-forties and, unfortunately, he suffered a heart attack about a month ago and required, not open heart surgery, but he did have to have some emergency stint placements where they run a catheter in the arteries and use a balloon to blow it up and place a stint in to keep it up. He went three arteries he had to have stints placed. When he was out of the hospital the conversation came around to, not just diet, nutrition--and he knows he needs to improve on those things—but, he had an interesting conversation with his cardiologist about supplements.

He didn't specifically mention my name to his cardiologist but he had said something along the lines that he has a friend that is a doctor. And the first thing the cardiologist said was, "A medical doctor?" Bruce said, "Yes, a medical doctor. He's internal medicine. He's done radiology." He had mentioned to his cardiologist that I've talked about CoQ10 before being very good for arterial health. And the cardiologist responded with that's just voodoo.

That's what he actually said. "Voodoo." (laughing) I'm sorry it makes me laugh. I don't understand that at all and Bruce, being in the hospital at that time, just coming out of emergency stint placement, he was a little vulnerable and he took that to heart. He hears this guy, this cardiologist, who just really saved his life probably and so after he got out of the hospital Bruce called me and started questioning me a little bit about supplements and, "Is CoQ10 really good?" and "/where's the proof of it?" and all that kind of stuff. And that's fine and I encourage people to ask questions searching for the truth. Conventional medicine has its place. Thank God, the cardiologist knows how to put stints in.

That's awesome. That doesn't mean the cardiologist knows everything specifically about CoQ10. I would think they would know more about CoQ10 because, here's the thing. There's ample research supporting the use of CoQ10 in all sorts of patients, even just optimal health. There's ample research showing CoQ10 as a longevity nutrient because of its benefit to cell energy production. There's ample research of CoQ10 in terms of congestive heart failure. There's ample research of CoQ10 for arterial function, which I'm going to cover with you 4 studies today. And it goes on and on. There's even good research showing CoQ10 is helpful in Parkinson's and Alzheimer's, Huntington's Disease, people with mitochondrial disorders. These are genetic disorders. CoQ10 is helpful and all it takes is a little effort go to and put in "CoQ10 and heart failure" abd look at all the results. Lots of research studies showing positive benefits of CoQ10 in heart failure. Do the same thing "CoQ10 in heart attack", "CoQ10 in arterial function", "CoQ10 in Alzheimer's".

I mean, it's there--the research. It's there. Laboratory research, animal research and human clinical research. It's all there and so I don't practice voodoo medicine. I don't. I'm not even sure what that is, but CoQ10 does improve arterial function and I had a nice discussion with my friend Bruce about this. The first thing I explained to Bruce is the importance of arterial function and how we measure that. And we measure that through the production of a chemical called "nitric oxide" abbreviated N as in Nancy O, NO, nitric oxide. It is the compound of the arterial system. This chemical compound is produced by the cells that line the inside of the arteries called "endothelial cells".

A very famous cardiologist, a conventional cardiologist and a natural cardiologist, Dr. Steven Sinatra--I've had him on my show before--and a long time ago, in a paper he wrote he talked about the importance of endothelial health and nitric oxide function to the health of the overall cardiovascular system and, basically, what we now understand, of course, he was right. That if your endothelial cells are healthy, if they're producing this important chemical compound, nitric oxide, at adequate amounts, you're going to have a healthy cardiovascular system. If you damage the endothelial cells by smoking, high blood pressure, all those 17 heart disease risk factors that I've talked about and nitric oxide levels drop, then the artery becomes stiff and then that's when problems happen. So, arterial function is incredibly important and we measure it through the health of the endothelial cell. Nitric oxide is a surrogate marker for the health of the endothelial cell. So here's what it is and it's very simple. CoQ10 supports the endothelium that's what it does. CoQ10 supports nitric oxide production. Let me just show you some of these studies.

The first study here in patients with diabetes. Diabetics, by the way, suffer accelerated arterial dysfunction and heart disease. In a 12-week study using 200 mg a day of CoQ10, significantly increased endothelial function in a major artery, the brachial artery. That's where they measure it. They actually measured an increase in nitric oxide production by giving diabetics CoQ10. That's not voodoo. That's very similar to how you would study a drug, but CoQ10 is not a drug, it's a dietary supplement. Yet it had this same type of quick 12-week effect that a drug would. That's awesome.

Here was one published in the International Journal of Cardiology in 2005. A group of men with known endothelial dysfunction and CoQ10 supplementation improved endothelial function significantly compared with baseline. Again what were they measuring? They were measuring nitric oxide production. So, in a group of men who had low nitric oxide production, they gave them CoQ10. I think it was around 100 mg in this study. Nitric oxide levels went up. That's a sign that the endothelial cell was getting healthier and there's improvement in arterial function. So that was the International Journal of Cardiology.

In the European Heart Journal of 2006, patients with mild to moderate heart failure on 300 mg a day of CoQ10 improved endothelial function 38%, an affect comparable to that of exercise training. That's not voodoo. That's right there in a peer-reviewed journal published in 2006. In that same journal published in 2007, a year later, blood vessel relaxation, a measure of endothelial function and blood flow improved significantly in patients with known coronary artery disease at risk for heart attack who needed optimal cardiac blood flow. Let me just summarize that. CoQ10 helps the blood vessels to relax. That's what nitric oxide does. So if CoQ10 is improving nitric oxide production from the endothelial cell, that artery can relax a little bit more, fill with blood properly, deliver more blood flow and oxygen to the heart, the muscles, the brain and people just do better. European Heart Journal 2007.

I'm just summarizing four studies here on the importance of CoQ10 to endothelial function and I mean that's just four. There are hundreds, if not thousands, more on the benefit of CoQ10, so after sharing this kind of stuff with my friend Bruce he is going to be taking CoQ10 and his primary care doctor is okay with that. And I'm happy for him and I do think with that diet and exercise and CoQ10 and a few other supplemental things like pomegranate, Resveratrol and Arginine. By the way Arginine, is important because it is the pre-cursor to nitric oxide.

I think Bruce's outcome looks fantastic. And why is that? Because there's a blending of practices. Here we had the conventional doctor go in there and place the stints. That was important and now we have the natural side of things with CoQ10, Arginine, etc., that's going to give him a better outcome down the line with those stints. Integrative medicine at its best.

This is Healthy Talk on RadioMD. I'm Dr. Mike. Stay well.