By Nurse Mark
This should be all over the news – but it’s not. Why? Because it’s not a drug!
If Big Pharma managed to come up with a drug that could slash the risk of cardiac death by half they would be demanding that it be given to everyone from infancy to death, and even added to the food and water supply.
Does that sound over-the-top? Do you think I’m exaggerating? Well, I’m not, really. Just look at the hysteria of statin drugs – with doctors, urged on by Big Pharma, suggesting that these dangerous cholesterol drugs be given to young children and with some doctors even suggesting adding statins to water supplies!
So, just think – a drug that could slash the risk of cardiac death by half – what a block-buster!
But it’s not a drug – it’s a supplement that you can buy over-the-counter, no prescription needed. It’s not patentable and therefore there really isn’t any profit in it for Big Pharma, so you are really not likely to ever hear about it from them or from your conventional doctor.
So, what is this amazing supplement?
It’s our old friend CoQ10!
According to the Science Daily article that discusses a placebo-controlled study conducted in Europe called Q-SYMBIO:
Coenzyme Q10 decreases all cause mortality by half, according to new results. It is the first drug to improve heart failure mortality in over a decade and should be added to standard treatment, according to experts.
Wow! Does this sound too good to be true? Does this sound like “puffery” on the part of Science Daily?
Maybe – but let’s look at the conclusions of the scientific abstract for the presentation that was made by the researchers to the 2013 conference of the European Society of Cardiology in Lisbon: (edited for readability – full abstract can be found below)
CoQ10 treated patients had significantly lower cardiovascular mortality and lower occurrence of hospitalizations for Heart Failure. All cause mortality was also lower in the CoQ10 group, 18 patients vs. 36 patients in the placebo-group. There were fewer adverse events in the CoQ10 group compared to the placebo group.
The dose of CoQ10 used to achieve this life-saving effect? A mere 100 mg taken three times a day.
What else is CoQ10 good for?
CoQ10 is a potent antioxidant and is vital to the energy functions of all the cells in our bodies. Learn more here.
What about the “New” kind of CoQ10 – ubiquinol – is it really better?
Ubiquinol and ubiquinone are two sides of the same coin – the body converts one to the other and back again. There is no solid proof that the much-hyped “new” form of CoQ10 called ubiquinol is any “better” than ubiquinone which we have been using for many years. Learn more here.
But CoQ10 can be so darned expensive! Are the “bargain” brands any good? I need to watch my pennies!
Yes, good quality CoQ10 is expensive. The best is made using a patented process by a Japanese company using a yeast-based process that yields a very absorbable and pure “trans” (i.e.: bio-identical – the same as your own cells make) form of CoQ10. Many bargain brands use a process that extracts a “cis” or synthetic analog form from tobacco leaves. The patented Japanese process is quite an expensive one but we believe that the “trans” form, that is, identical to that made naturally by our body, is the preferable form and worth the extra expense. The price may come down somewhat on the Japanese process CoQ10 since the Japanese company has built a facility in the US. Learn more here.
Here is perhaps the best way to figure out your costs for CoQ10 so that you can see what might be the most economical way to take it: figure out the price per milligram (mg) for different forms. For example, Dr. Myatt sells a very high quality CoQ10 in 50 and 100 mg softgel capsules. The price works out to around a penny per milligram. She also makes available a high potency form of CoQ10 from Vitaline in 300 mg and 400 mg chewable wafers. This is the brand that was used in the N.I.H. Parkinson’s study and is known to be of the very highest quality. Though the bottles of this high dose CoQ10 might seem shockingly expensive at first glance, the cost per milligram is actually less – at just over a half-penny per mg. Despite the “sticker shock” the Vitaline CoQ10 is actually quite a bargain!
Watching our pennies is certainly important for us all, but we need to be careful not to lose sight of the price versus value equation. And, what good are all those pennies if you don’t have your health?
Science Daily Article:
First drug to significantly improve heart failure mortality in over a decade. May 25, 2013 European Society of Cardiology (ESC)
Summary: Coenzyme Q10 decreases all cause mortality by half, according to new results. It is the first drug to improve heart failure mortality in over a decade and should be added to standard treatment, according to experts. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130525143852.htm
Abstract of the presentation of results from the Q-SYMBIO study:
The effect of coenzyme Q10 on morbidity and mortality in chronic heart failure. Results from the Q-SYMBIO study
Authors: SA Mortensen [et al]
On behalf: The Q-SYMBIO study investigators
Citation: European Journal of Heart Failure ( 2013 ) 15 ( S1 ), S20
Dysfunction of bioenergetics and energy starvation of the myocardium may be a dominant feature of heart failure (HF) and attention is directed towards a support of the myocardial metabolism. The myocardial tissue level of the essential redox component of the respiratory chain Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) has been found inversely related to the severity of HF. We investigated the effects of CoQ10 on patients symptoms, functional capacity and biomarker status (NT-proBNP) and the long-term outcome with morbidity and mortality.
Methods: HF patients in New York Heart Association (NYHA) Class III or IV who were receiving current pharmacologic therapy were randomly assigned in parallel groups to CoQ10 100 mg three times daily versus placebo. The primary long-term endpoint was the time to first MACE (major adverse cardiovascular event) including unplanned hospitalization due to worsening of HF, cardiovascular death, urgent cardiac transplantation and mechanical support, using a time to first event analysis.
Results: A total of 420 patients – CoQ10 (N=202), placebo (N=218) – were enrolled with a follow-up time of 2 years. After 3 months there was a trend with a reduced level of NT-proBNP in the CoQ10 group. After 2 years there was a significant improvement of the NYHA Class in the CoQ10 group (p=0.047). The primary endpoint was reached by 29 patients in the CoQ10 group, as compared with 55 patients in the placebo group (14 percent vs. 25 percent; hazard ratio CoQ10 vs. placebo: 2.0 (95% CI: 1.3-3.2); P=0.003) by intention to treat analysis. CoQ10 treated patients had significantly lower cardiovascular mortality (p=0.02) and lower occurrence of hospitalizations for HF (p=0.05). All cause mortality was also lower in the CoQ10 group, 18 patients vs. 36 patients in the placebo-group (9 percent vs. 17 percent; hazard ratio CoQ10 vs. placebo: 2.1 (95% CI: 1.2-3.8); p=0.01). There were fewer adverse events in the CoQ10 group compared to the placebo group (p=0.073).
Conclusions: Q-SYMBIO is the first double-blind trial in chronic HF addressing whether CoQ10 supplementation might improve survival. The CoQ10 treated patients had reduced hospital admission rates for worsening HF and lower cardiovascular death both of which may reflect a significant improvement in cardiac function. CoQ10 treatment was safe with a reduced all cause mortality rate. CoQ10 should be considered as a part of the maintenance therapy of patients with chronic HF.
Posted in Heart and Circulation | No Comments »