If ever a nutrient was considered to be at the heart of good health, CoQ10 would likely be it.
A powerful antioxidant that is found within the mitochondria (otherwise known as the engine of every cell within the body), CoQ10 is vital for producing cellular energy and protecting against free radical damage.
It is also widely regarded for the role it plays in heart health, popping up regularly in web searches for the best vitamins for heart health and circulation.
In this blog post, we take a closer look at CoQ10 and how it can help to improve heart health.
The role of CoQ10 in the body
The European Society of Cardiology describes CoQ10 as a fat-soluble, vitamin like nutrient.
It was first discovered by Dr Frederick Crane, at the time a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Wisconsin, in 1957, where he isolated CoQ10 from mitochondria within heart muscle.
Almost 20 years later, Japanese scientists had fine tuned technology to produce CoQ10 in readiness for clinical trials.
However, it was Nobel Prize in Chemistry winner Dr Peter Mitchell who was responsible for discovering how CoQ10 works within the mitochondria to cellular energy.
Today, CoQ10 is well known for the role it plays in energy generation, where it is needed to produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP) which helps energy transfer within our cells.
When the body’s store of CoQ10 is depleted, the production of ATP decreases. Cells are also more prone to the destructive effects of free radicals and oxidative stress.
CoQ10 production declines as we get older
While CoQ10 is found naturally in the body, production decreases as we age.
Levels peak around the age of 20 but by 40 years of age, production can be as low as 68%, and less than 43% by the time we reach 80.
CoQ10 can be obtained through certain foods such as beef, chicken and pork, through fatty fish such as herring, mackerel and sardines, and through fruits and vegetables including spinach, cauliflower and broccoli and oranges and strawberries.
CoQ10 can also be obtained through supplementation. People over 40 are often recommended to supplement with CoQ10 for its vital benefits including energy production, heart health, and protection against the damage caused by free radicals.
How does CoQ10 contribute to heart health?
As one of the most important organs in the body, the heart also has one of the largest energy requirements.
Mitochondria and CoQ10 are found in high levels in the heart muscle and provide the heart with the majority of the energy it needs to function.
The impact of STATINS on CoQ10 levels
Peer-reviewed scientific evidence and the FDA both support the use of STATINS for reducing LDL cholesterol in patients with heart disease.
However, it is widely recognised that STATINS can also block the production of CoQ10 in the body.
 Mortensen SA, Rosenfeldt F, Kumar A, Dolliner P, Filipiak KJ, Pella D, Alehagen U, Steurer G, Littarru GP; Q-SYMBIO Study Investigators. The effect of coenzyme Q10 on morbidity and mortality in chronic heart failure: results from Q-SYMBIO: a randomized double-blind trial. JACC Heart Fail. 2014 Dec;2(6):641-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jchf.2014.06.008. Epub 2014 Oct 1. PMID: 25282031. Acced online at https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25282031/