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Exercise Stronger

CoQ10 helps the heart pump blood

Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), a nutrient that occurs naturally in every cell in the body, improved blood-vessel function and increased peak exercise capacity in those with heart disease, in two new studies.

In a coronary artery disease (CAD) study, researchers recruited 33 men and five women, average age 55, who had CAD and whose hearts pumped blood normally, to take 300 mg of CoQ10 in three 100 mg does per day or a placebo for one month. Doctors measured the activity of an important antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase or SOD on blood vessel walls, which declines in CAD. Those who had taken CoQ10 had a 29% increase in SOD activity compared to 4% for placebo. Scientists also measured the arteries’ ability to relax (dilate), the heart’s ability to deliver oxygen and the cells’ capacity to absorb oxygen and found that, in all three measures, those who had taken CoQ10 had significantly greater improvement compared to placebo. Participants who began with the lowest SOD activity improved remarkably.

In chronic heart failure (CHF), the heart is damaged and may not fill with or pump enough blood. Researchers recruited 20 men and three women with CHF, average age 59, to participate in four, four-week double-blind phases taking: 1) 300 mg of CoQ10 in three 100 mg doses per day without exercise training, 3) a placebo without exercise, or 4) a placebo with supervised exercise training. Doctors measured the capacity of the cells to absorb oxygen and the ability of the arteries to dilate. Compared to placebo, the CoQ10 group increased by 9% and 38% respectively. Scientists also tracked an index that measures the ability of the left ventricle of the heart to pump blood, which improved by 12%.