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Coenzyme Q10 Notes For Medical Professionals
Testimonials in Support of Coenzyme Q10
FAQs about Coenzyme Q10
References (Cardiovascular Disease)

Coenzyme Q10 Notes For Medical Professionals ?

Coenzyme Q10 is involved in energy production at the cellular level, is vital for sustaining life and is found in greatest abundance in the heart. The heart requires more CoQ10 to provide energy needed to pump blood throughout the body. It is also most sensitive to CoQ10 deficiency. Numerous clinical trials have shown that patients with congestive heart failure have low CoQ10 blood levels. Generally, the worse the heart condition, the lower the CoQ10 level. In addition, studies have shown that when administered orally, CoQ10 is an effective therapeutic agent in the prevention and treatment of heart disease.

Clinical studies have also shown that CoQ10 can treat periodontal disease. CoQ10 is also being investigated in treating cancer, diabetes, neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s, Huntington’s and Alzheimer’s and even immune system disorders including AIDS.

While critics claim that there is insufficient evidence in support of CoQ10, proponents point out to the several hundred studies conducted worldwide during the past 35 years. The multi-center study in Italy where 2,664 heart patients clearly showed an improvement in cardiovascular functions is perhaps the most widely known and most definitive study.

A careful analysis of these studies shows that many of them had serious design flaws and shortcomings – namely low daily Q10 dosage, too short a duration, poor bioavailability of CoQ10 used, subjects with long-standing disease, and so on.

Some contend that if CoQ10 is so effective, why isn’t it more popular in medicine. CoQ10 is widely used in Japan, Europe (particularly Germany) and Israel, but it is still not accepted as an effective complementary therapeutic modality in the U.S. In Japan, the site of the world’s first clinical studies on CoQ and heart failure, CoQ10 is an approved and recognized therapeutic agent. While CoQ10 has been accepted by some cardiologists in the U.S., it is not widely used in conventional medical treatments. Some, like Dr. Peter Langsjoen, MD, FACC, speculate that the problem is not medical or scientific, but rather political and economic. Since CoQ10 is a natural product, it cannot be patented. This leaves no economic incentive for pharmaceutical companies to conduct large (expensive) controlled trials necessary to obtain FDA approval.

While it is easier to recommend a specific dose amount (usually 2 mg per 2.2 lbs. of body weight is recommended), the real issue is the bioavailability of CoQ10 or the amount of CoQ10 that enters the bloodstream, and eventually the tissues.

CoQ10 is a fat soluble compound that is poorly absorbed. While some suggest taking it with fats, and some companies have formulated wafers of CoQ10 with essential fatty acids to improve absorption, the most innovative dosage form is available through Tishcon Corp. Tishcon has the exclusive worldwide rights to the BioSolv™ process that dramatically reduces the particle size of CoQ10 and renders it virtually water soluble (“hydrosoluble”). The BioSolv™ process is used in Tishcon’s Q-Gel® Coenzyme Q10, and is available to professionals under the NutriMedika™ label. Human clinical trials published in peer reviewed journals compared the absorption of Q-Gel® with other dosage forms, and the results indicate that Q-Gel® is up to three times more bioavailable than all the other products tested. This breakthrough makes CoQ10 treatment more affordable and more effective. Patients need to take less CoQ10 to obtain optimum blood levels. Compliance is greater as patients experience the benefits in less time.

There have been only a few minor reports of any side effects using CoQ10. These include complaints of having too much energy, diarrhea or nausea. Those experiencing such mild side effects are less than 1% of all those who participated in human clinical trials. Since CoQ10 has been shown to be effective in treating cardiovascular disease as well as other age-related diseases, the popularity of CoQ10 is likely to grow as more baby boomers enter their golden years.

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  Testimonials in Support of Coenzyme Q10  
  “New and revolutionary treatments of disease, particularly where there has been no treatment of intrinsic biochemical significance, have generally been believable to a few persons and unbelievable and even ridiculous to others before proof of efficacy….Revolutionary therapy has always been so and perhaps always shall be, but such is the nature of true discovery. It appears that the bioenergetics of CoQ10 is remarkable and its potential in medicine is no exception to the history of controversial advances in medicine.”
The late Karl Folkers, PhD, Researcher

“It is unthinkable for me to practice good cardiology without the help of Coenzyme Q10. And, for the thousands of people with cardiac conditions so severe that they need a heart transplant, CoQ10 may be a suitable alternative that not only enhances the quality of life, but extends survival as well.”
Stephen Sinatra, MD, FACC, Cardiologist & Author, The Coenzyme Q10 Phenomenon

“Energy is life, and CoQ is a crucial component of the energy cycle and therefore of life itself”
Emile Bliznakov, MD Researcher and Gerald Hunt, co-authors, The Miracle Nutrient: Coenzyme Q10

“It’s (Coenzyme Q10) a heart medicine used around the world, and if your doctor doesn’t know about it, you can easily get it on your own; it could save your life.”
Jean Carper, Author of best-seller Miracle Cures

“CoQ10 is an essential element of food that can now be used medically. So if CoQ10 is so good, why don’t more doctors use it?“ The answer to the question is found in the fields of politics and marketing and not in the fields of science and medicine. The controversy surrounding CoQ10 is political and economic, as the previous 30 years of research on CoQ10 have been remarkably consistent and free of major controversy. Although it is not the first time that a fundamental and clinically important discovery has come about without the backing of a pharmaceutical company, it is the first such discovery to so radically alter how physicians must view disease. While the pharmaceutical industry does a good job at physician and patient education on their new products, the distributors of CoQ10 are not as effective at this.”
Peter Langsjoen, MD, Cardiologist

“Studies show that most people with congestive heart failure have a deficiency of CoQ10 in their heart muscle. The lower the levels, the worse the congestive heart failure. But studies also show that patients who were supposed to die 15 years ago from congestive heart failure are still alive today primarily because of taking Coenzyme Q10 daily.”
William Lee Cowden, MD, Cardiologist

“Coenzyme Q10 is an amazing natural substance with far reaching therapeutic potential…it should be used more extensively in the treatment of patients.”
Michael Schachter, MD, FACAM

“Deficiencies of CoQ10 have been documented in patients with heart disease. Administration of CoQ10 ameliorated symptoms, reduced the number of hospitalizations and appeared to decrease the number of anginal attacks in patients with angina pectoris.”
Alan Gaby, MD

“I also recommend it (CoQ10) for patients on cholesterol-lowering medications. The HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors that block production of cholesterol in the liver also block the body’s natural production of CoQ10. Adverse effects include myopathy, muscle weakness and tiredness. When a patient has one of these medications prescribed, we also suggest he supplement his diet with CoQ10.”
John J. Herr, RPh, Pharmacist

“In one case, I went to see a newborn diagnosed with cardiomyopathy. I asked the attending doctor if he tried coenzyme Q10 or carnitine. He said that he had read about their effects but would not use either. With the family’s permission, I treated the baby with these supplements…The baby recovered without the heart transplant surgery that was being recommended by the university medical center.”
Gary Gordon, MD, DO

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  FAQs about Coenzyme Q10  
  What is CoQ10?
Coenzyme Q10 is called ubiquinone because it is ubiquitous, meaning “everywhere present”. CoQ10 is found in every living cell. Without CoQ10 in optimum amounts, we would suffer from various maladies. CoQ10 is a vital co-factor for supporting health—especially within the heart and cardiovascular system. Research indicates that ten times more CoQ10 is found in the heart than in any other part of the body, making the heart especially vulnerable to CoQ10 deficiencies.

Technically, CoQ10 is referred to as “vitamin-like” substance or a “co-factor” because it is produced naturally by the body. However, some experts consider it as a vitamin, an essential nutrient needed by all the cells in the body to sustain life.

Why do we need CoQ10 supplementation?
CoQ10 is produced naturally by the body. Its biosynthesis is a complex process that requires the amino acid tyrosine (derived from proteins) and numerous vitamins and trace minerals. A deficiency in any of these nutrients might impair the body’s ability to produce CoQ10.

While CoQ10 is found in some foods, mostly seafood and organ meats, the average diet provides less than 10 mg per day. Aging, environmental stress, a diet deficient in specific nutrients, certain cholesterol-lowering and psychotropic drugs, chronic high intensity exercise and other lifestyle factors reduce the levels of CoQ10 in the body.

What are the uses of CoQ10?
CoQ10 supplementation has been used as a preventive and therapeutic agent for heart disease, cancer, periodontal disease, neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington’s disease, and in certain rare disorders such as MELAS syndrome, Friedricks Ataxia.

Why isn’t CoQ10 more popular in America?
Although Coenzyme Q10 is widely used in Japan, Europe and Israel, it is virtually ignored by the majority of cardiologists and practitioners of conventional medicine in the U.S. As Peter Langsjoen, MD and cardiologist said, “So, if CoQ10 is so good, why don’t more doctors use it? The answer to this question lies in the fields of politics and marketing, and not in the fields of science or medicine.”

The negative bias that exists in some circles against Coenzyme Q10 is attributed to several factors. The inherent bias of some cardiologists against natural medicine causes their distrust in the validity of any natural product, including CoQ10. Since CoQ10 cannot be patented and is regulated as a dietary supplement, there is little economic incentive for pharmaceutical companies to develop it as a drug and carry out large controlled studies. Additionally the poor bio availability of CoQ10 when administered orally has often discouraged clinicians. The development of the newer hydro soluble version of CoQ10 has opened up a whole new opportunity for research.

Without the support of pharmaceutical companies, cardiologists and other physicians, it is very difficult to educate the public on the benefits of CoQ10.

Fortunately, a new trend is emerging propelled by consumer demand towards integrative medicine. In integrative medicine, the innovations of conventional medicine along with alternative therapies are researched and applied to help ensure positive patient outcomes. In addition to the ongoing positive clinical trials validating CoQ10 and other nutritional breakthroughs, more than 40% of all Americans have used alternative therapies and more than one-half of all Americans take dietary supplements daily—facts that bode well for the future of Coenzyme Q10. A recent market research study (unpublished) points out a 1000 % increase in the demand for CoQ10 products from 1993 to 1999 in the U.S..

How does CoQ10 work?
Each and every cell in our body needs energy to survive and function. The primary function of CoQ10 is cellular energy production. This process takes place within specialized components of the cell called mitochondria. These are the power plants of cells where the vital biological energy (called ATP, short for adenosine triphosphate) is produced by an enzyme system called the electron transport chain. The electron transport chain is also known as the respiratory chain because this is where practically all the oxygen we breathe in is consumed to produce energy. Food is the fuel. The products of the metabolism of proteins, fats and carbohydrates are eventually oxidized (“burned”) via the electron transport chain using oxygen to produce the biological energy ATP.

The role of CoQ10, as the name suggests, is as coenzyme for the enzymes in the electron transport chain. Enzymes are proteins that catalyze the numerous chemical reactions in the body. Many require a coenzyme or cofactor for them to function and CoQ10 plays such a role. It has a critical function in shuttling electrons back and forth between enzymes in the electron transport chain and it is in this process that the biological energy ATP is generated. CoQ10 provides the spark to run the mitochondrial energy production that is necessary for vital body functions. If the supply of CoQ10 is limiting, so will the production of energy. There is a direct connection between the two.

The heart is an organ with high energy needs and depends on a constant supply of energy for efficient operation. It seems only logical that the heart has one of the highest concentrations of CoQ10. When the supply of CoQ10 is impaired, heart function will be compromised.

In addition to its important role in energy production, CoQ10 is also an excellent antioxidant. An antioxidant by definition stops the damaging effects of an oxidant by neutralizing it. Because of its wide distribution in all cellular membranes, blood as well as serum lipoproteins, CoQ10 can efficiently protect all these components from lipid peroxidation and also from free radical-induced oxidative damage.

How much CoQ10 is needed?
Since myocardial tissue levels of CoQ10 can be restored with oral supplementation, advocates recommend the use of CoQ10 as the first line of defense against congestive heart failure.

Some recommend a dosage of 50 to 150 mg per day and up to 360 mg for patients who are experiencing serious heart conditions. Others say the recommended amount varies according to the weight of the individual and suggest that 2 mg for each kilo (2.2 lbs.) of body weight.

Others, like Drs. Langsjoen and Sinatra, consider CoQ10 blood levels as the critical determinant. They contend that the optimum dose of CoQ10 must be custom-tailored for every patient.

While the optimum dose level of CoQ10 for each pathology is not known, researchers tend to agree that CoQ10 levels of 2.5 ug/ml of plasma and higher are needed to positively impact a severely diseased heart. The therapeutic dose for these conditions must also be the maintenance doses or symptoms are likely to recur, cardiologists contend.

CoQ10 is a fat soluble nutrient and is rather poorly absorbed. Supplying the body with enough CoQ10 could be costly and difficult. To assist with the absorption of CoQ10, some have recommended taking dry CoQ10 with some fat to enhance absorption—like taking it with a little bit of peanut butter or olive oil. While most brands provide poor to mediocre absorption, innovative formulation technologies have been developed to enhance the bioavailability of CoQ10 by increasing its water solubility.

Is CoQ10 Non-Toxic?
Dr. Sinatra, who has been prescribing CoQ10 for over a decade, has never seen any significant adverse reactions in his patients. On occasions, he had his patients discontinue use due to their experiencing too much energy. Some patients claimed it interfered with their sleep cycles. A few other patients experienced other unpleasant reactions including mild nausea, diarrhea or appetite loss.

In analyzing the results of the numerous clinical studies conducted with CoQ10, side effects were very rare and minor in nature. Less than 1% of the 2,664 patients who participated in the Italian multi-center trial reported mild side effects. This statistic holds up when analyzing the data of more than 5,000 patients who participated in the numerous clinical studies to date. Dr. Karl Folkers reported no toxicity in animal and human studies even at high doses. A recently published chronic toxicity study of CoQ10 confirms its margin of safety.

Although there is no literature indicating any contraindications, some physicians do not recommend the routine use of CoQ10 for healthy pregnant women, nursing mothers, newborn or very young children.

Are there any drug interactions?

CoQ10 has been successfully used with a number of cholesterol lowering drugs like statins that reduce the level of CoQ10 in the body. Since beta-blockers also inhibit CoQ10-dependent enzymes, CoQ10 supplementation is recommended. In addition, since certain psychotropic drugs like phenothiazine and tricyclic antidepressant also inhibit CoQ10-dependent enzymes, CoQ10 supplementation is also recommended.

Patients on Coumadin therapy need to have their proteins checked at regular intervals, and should take CoQ10 only under a physician’s supervision.

Since cardiovascular disease is a very serious health condition, it is highly recommended that patients consult with their physician. CoQ10 has been shown to be effective with conventional drugs and, with the consent of the physician, may even allow for a reduction of the dosage of conventional medicine, but it is not a substitute. Patients with serious health condition should consult their physicians prior to taking CoQ10.

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  References (Cardiovascular Disease)  

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