Cardio Corner with Dr. Ignarro- CoQ10: A Powerful Nutrient for Preventing Heart Disease


Cardio Corner with Dr. Ignarro

CoQ10: A Powerful Nutrient for Preventing Heart Disease

By Dr. Lou Ignarro

 The New Heart HealthThe following is largely drawn from my latest book, The New Heart Health, which I coauthored with my colleague, Dr. Andrew Myers. The book is a new approach to cardiovascular wellness, drawn from my Nobel Prize-winning research and Dr. Myer’s expertise in natural medicine.

Omega-3s get most of the attention when it comes to preventing heart disease. But there’s another nutrient you should consider adding to your heart health supplement regimen: CoQ10.

Coenzyme Q10, or CoQ10, is an important component involved in the process of converting food into energy, which supports normal cellular growth and repair. CoQ10 must be present in the mitochondria, a specialized structure in the cells that facilitates energy production, for the food you eat to be converted into energy.

The organ with the largest concentration of mitochondria? The heart. That’s why it’s especially critical that the heart receives plenty of CoQ10.

The coenzyme is also a powerful antioxidant that helps reduce the impact of free radicals on the endothelium. The endothelium is an organ that lines all 100,000 miles of blood vessels throughout your body. Its main function is to produce Nitric Oxide (NO), a signaling molecule responsible for causing blood vessels to expand and relax. Relaxed blood vessels mean that the heart doesn’t have to work as hard and blood can flow more easily to all of the organs, tissues and cells throughout your body.

Here’s what’s exciting: Research conducted by the European Society of Cardiology suggests that supplementing with CoQ10 may help patients with endothelial dysfunction by counteracting NO oxidation.

That’s incredible. Just by adding a supplement to your daily regimen, you can protect your endothelium, blood vessels and heart—and quite possibly extend your life.

Other findings are also encouraging: The coenzyme helps prevent LDL cholesterol oxidation and promotes optimal cell function. It can also improve endothelial function in patients with Type 2 diabetes who are taking statins, according to a study in Diabetes Care.

While the nutrient has several cardio-supportive benefits, it’s best known for its ability to reverse atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries. One study conducted by Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute found that a combination of CoQ10 and aged garlic “reduced the progression of coronary atherosclerosis.”

I’ll add that it doesn’t just stop progression—it reverses it. Because the coenzyme supports the individual endothelial cells and has an antioxidant effect on the endothelium, it also enhances the endothelium’s ability to restore function so the arteries become more flexible.

A meta-analysis of several studies nicely reiterates my point: “Coenzyme Q10 supplementation is associated with significant improvement in endothelial function.” The review also mentions that current research supports CoQ10’s role in treating endothelial dysfunction.

If you’re looking to prevent or reverse heart disease, CoQ10 is an excellent endothelium-supportive nutrient.

How do you keep your heart healthy?

Want to learn more about CoQ10 and the endothelium? Read my latest book, The New Heart Health.

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