Why CoQ10 can literally save your life
| By Dr. Stephen Sinatra
This article originally appeared on Dr. Sinatra’s website.
Without a doubt, one of the greatest discoveries I’ve made in all of my years of practicing medicine is coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10).This powerful nutrient fuels energy in every cell in your body, including your heart—making a dramatic difference in cardiac health. As part of my year-long 20th anniversary celebration, I want to share how I first learned about CoQ10 and why it can be lifesaving!
CoQ10 was literally “placed in my path” over 30 years ago, when I read an article by researchers in Japan explaining how CoQ10 helped people to come off the heart-lung bypass machine used during cardiac surgeries. Around that same time, a young pastor in my care needed mitral valve replacement surgery. He was in his fifties, in good health, with a loving young family—and this was supposed to be an easy, routine surgery. But the surgeons struggled to wean him off the machine that was meant to temporarily manage his circulation during the operation. Several hours went by, and his vital signs crashed with every attempt to “wean off” slowly. Unfortunately, he never woke up.
As I grappled with my grief, I glanced again at that article about CoQ10—lying right there on my nightstand—and wondered if there really could be a simple nutrient that made a difference in “pump time” during cardiac surgery. More specifically, could CoQ10 have saved this pastor?
Intrigued by the potential of this nutrient, I began putting patients anticipating elective surgeries on Co10—and all had good recoveries. Plus, I scoured every research study about CoQ10 I could put my hands on. One of my first reads was Emile Blizakov’s book (pictured with me, at left), The Miracle Nutrient—Coenzyme Q10 in 1986. Our shared enthusiasm for CoQ10 was the foundation for a wonderful friendship that lasted until he passed. Dr. Blizakov even reviewed and edited my book, The Coenzyme Q10 Phenomenon.
From that point on, CoQ10 became my top go-to nutrient for treating heart patients.
CoQ10 Helps Everything from Heart Failure to Arrhythmia
What exactly is CoQ10? It’s a fat-soluble compound that that sparks energy in every cell of your body, including your heart. Plus, it’s a powerful antioxidant that protects your arteries and cell membranes from inflammatory damage and oxidative stress.
Many heart failure patients who take CoQ10 experience an improvement in their heart’s myocardial contractility (ejection fraction), which translates into reduced symptoms and a better quality of life. In clinical studies, a full 87% of congestive heart failure patients improved after taking CoQ10 for six months! Plus, three recent double blind trials performed in New Zealand and Western Europe have all demonstrated that heart failure patients with higher blood levels of CoQ10 live longer.
But CoQ10’s benefits don’t end there. CoQ10 can help to lower high blood pressure, reduce angina episodes, decrease the symptoms of mitral valve prolapse, and assuage cardiac arrhythmias. It can also make a real difference in your energy level and brain function, and has been useful as an adjunct therapy to treat everything from fibromyalgia to diabetes.
After Years of Witnessing the Miracles of CoQ10, I Met the Scientists Who Discovered It
After years of using CoQ10 with my patients, you can imagine how excited and honored I was to meet Frederick Crane (pictured with me, at left) who serendipitously discovered CoQ10 after it emerged as a strange orange-colored “foam” in his laboratory.
I also consider myself quite blessed to eventually meet Dr. Karl Folkers (pictured with me at right, below). He is often called “the father of CoQ10” because he was the one who determined its precise chemical structure back in 1958. I even had the honor of introducing Dr. Folkers at the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine (A4M) conference in 1996, and presented him with the prestigious Infinity Award from the Academy.
At This Point, I Can’t Imagine Practicing Medicine without CoQ10
Over the last three decades of my clinical practice, I employed CoQ10 for almost every single patient, treating every cardiac condition from high blood pressure, to congestive heart failure, arrhythmia, and angina.
I’ve also done my own research on CoQ10, including human studies to assess the bioavailability of the different forms, and rodent models to assess its effects on memory and musculoskeletal function. Most recently, I reported on a preliminary CoQ10 research in the equine model, describing how horses are often low on CoQ10 and vitamin E—and my research is continuing.
While I could tell you countless stories of patients helped by CoQ10, one that stands out is Joan, the mom of one of my son Drew’s high football teammates. She had heart failure after the birth of her second child and was facing a poor quality of life—and eventually, a heart transplant—when I started her on CoQ10 those many decades ago. Not only was she able to cancel that transplant because of CoQ10, she’s now 71 years of age and still thriving!
How much CoQ10 should you take? Here are my recommendations.
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