Researchers from Denmark found that regular doses of the dietary supplement, CoQ10, cut the death rate in half of patients suffering from advanced heart failure, in a randomized double-blind trial.
Researchers also reported a significant decrease in the number of hospitalizations for heart failure patients being treated with CoQ10. About 14 percent of subjects taking the supplement suffered from a major cardiovascular event that required hospital treatment, compared with 25 percent of subjects receiving placebos.
CoQ10 is an essential enzyme that occurs naturally in the body. It works as an electron carrier in the mitochondria – the energy producing powerhouse of cells – to produce energy. It is also a potent antioxidant.
In heart failure, the heart becomes weak and can no longer pump enough oxygen and nutrient-rich blood throughout the body. Patients often experience fatigue and breathing problems as the heart enlarges and pumps faster in an effort to meet the body’s needs. CoQ10 levels are decreased in the heart muscle of patients with heart failure, with the deficiency becoming more pronounced as the severity of their condition worsens.
In the study, 420 patients with moderate to severe heart failure were tracked during two years. About half received 100 milligrams of CoQ10 three times a day, while the other half received a placebo.
By the end of the study, 18 patients from the CoQ10 group had died versus 36 deaths in the placebo group. Major adverse cardiovascular events requiring hospitalization had taken place in 29 CoQ10 patients, compared with 55 patients in the placebo group.
American cardiologists greeted the reported findings with cautious optimism. “This is a study that is very promising,” said Dr. Gregg Fonarow, a professor of cardiology at the University of California, Los Angeles, and a spokesman for the American Heart Association.