Could This Be the Answer to AFib, NAFLD, and Other Diseases?
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is the third-most consumed supplement,1 yet many people don’t realize how clinically effective it really is.
Although it’s not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as a treatment or preventative drug, several new studies show that taking CoQ10 supplements may help address several chronic health conditions, including atrial fibrillation (a-fib), nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), insulin resistance, heart failure, cancer and migraines, to name a few.
Ubiquinol — the reduced, electron-rich form of CoQ10 that your body produces naturally — plays an important role in the electron transport chain of your mitochondria, where it facilitates the conversion of energy substrates and oxygen into the biological energy (adenosine triphosphate or ATP) needed by your cells for life, repair and regeneration.
It’s a fat-soluble antioxidant, meaning it works in the fat portions of your body, such as your cell membranes, where it mops up potentially harmful byproducts of metabolism known as reactive oxygen species (ROS). As such, ubiquinol and CoQ10 supplements help protect your mitochondrial membranes from oxidative damage, and this in turn has been shown to be helpful for a number of health conditions and chronic diseases.
Why CoQ10 Is so Important
Many conditions, including heart disease and migraines — for which CoQ10 has been found beneficial — appear to be rooted in mitochondrial dysfunction.2 CoQ10 is used by every cell in your body, but especially your heart cells.
Cardiac muscle cells have about 5,000 mitochondria per cell, while liver cells have 1,000 to 2,000 mitochondria each.3 As another reference, mitochondria make up about 35% of the volume of cardiac tissue and only 3% to 8% of the volume of skeletal muscle tissue.4
About 90% or more of the ROS in your body are made by your mitochondria.5 Using the analogy of the mitochondria as an engine, the combustion (metabolism) that takes place in there creates exhaust fumes — damaging byproducts when produced in excessive amounts.
One of the functions of CoQ10, or ubiquinol, is to neutralize those byproducts.6 When ubiquinol is lacking, the byproducts remain and begin to damage the cell. Ubiquinol is particularly beneficial for your heart health. C-reactive protein (CRP) is a marker for inflammation, and when your CRP is elevated, it suggests you have a heightened risk for heart disease.7
Two other markers for inflammation are gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT),8 which is an early marker of heart failure, and N-terminal pro b-type natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP).9
There’s an association between the levels of these two markers and ubiquinol as well. When ubiquinol is supplemented, both these markers go down and genes associated with them are downregulated.
Low CoQ10 levels have also been detected in people with certain types of cancer,10 including lung, breast and pancreatic cancer, as well as melanoma metastasis, further strengthening the metabolic theory of cancer. The word “coenzyme” also provides a clue to its importance; it works synergistically with other enzymes to digest food, for example.
It also has the ability to increase your body’s absorption of important nutrients. More specifically, it helps recycle vitamins C and E,11,12 thereby maximizing their beneficial effects.
CoQ10 Can Help Improve Atrial Fibrillation (AFib)
AFib is an abnormal, often rapid, heart rhythm that occurs when the atria, your heart’s upper chambers, beat out of sync with the ventricles, the heart’s lower chambers. It’s a common symptom in those with heart failure or heart disease but can also occur on its own.
Oxidative stress and increased ROS can play a role in the development of AFib. Conversely, scavenging of ROS and a reduction in oxidative stress have been shown to be an essential part of keeping the heart functioning normally.13
In one study, 102 patients with AFib were divided into two groups. One group was given a CoQ10 supplement while the other group was given a placebo. After 12 months of supplementation, 12 people in the placebo group had AFib episodes compared to only three people in the CoQ10 group.14
CoQ10 Can Stop the Progression of NAFLD
NAFLD is the most common cause of chronic liver disease around the world, with a prevalence of 25%.15 Obesity and insulin resistance increase your risk of NAFLD. Mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative stress, two hallmarks of CoQ10 deficiency, have also been shown to play a role,16 as has choline deficiency, as detailed in “Fatty Liver Disease Is Caused by Choline Deficiency.”
Currently, there are no approved medical treatments for NAFLD. Lifestyle changes, such as elimination of processed vegetable oils and processed carbs, remain the gold standard for managing NAFLD and, hopefully, preventing its progression. Since CoQ10 levels tend to be depleted in those with NAFLD, supplementation has been shown to help reduce oxidative stress and inflammation.17
In one study,18 44 patients were divided into two groups. One group was given 100 mg of CoQ10 each day, while the other was given a placebo. After four weeks of supplementation, the group taking CoQ10 dropped weight and had lower levels of serum AST, a blood ma
Article from LewRockwell